INDUCTION: Bikers’ Court with Jim Duggan – Hacksaw revs up his Harley for… Big Tobacco? Huh?

19 Submitted by on Thu, 01 November 2018, 20:05

Tomorrow, WWE puts on “Crown Jewel”, their most controversial event ever. All over the mainstream news, we’ve been hearing about how WWE is getting paid big bucks by a repressive regime to carry out an outrageous PR campaign for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

But this is far from the first time that wrestlers have been used in stealth propaganda for causes totally unrelated to sports-entertainment. In fact, Hacksaw Jim Duggan beat WWE to the punch by 18 years.

Around the year 2000, Hacksaw appeared as a guest on Havin’ a Beer with Mike, arguably a comedy program based in Orlando, Florida.

Duggan took part in a sketch called, “Bikers’ Court”, which on paper is a wacky parody of court shows like, “People’s Court”: what if our legal system were run by rough and tumble bikers instead of stuffy old rich guys in suits and robes?

I mean, who needs lawyers when you can just have a fistfight? 

Am I right, fellow commoners?

But it turns out that TV host and cancer enthusiast Mike McDaniel doesn’t have anything against all lawyers, just the kind who threaten our freedom – by which he means, the lawyers who go after those plucky little tobacco companies.

As such, Mike interviews the three plaintiffs in one such frivolous lawsuit:

A little person named Ed Stump (get it!) who is suing Big Tobacco for stunting his growth…

…Bob Turner, a fat slob who carries an actual box of donuts, started smoking six months ago, and is suing Big Tobacco for supposedly ruining his physique…

…and Mary Harper. Gee, the writers really got lazy with the clever last names after “Ed Stump” the midget, huh? Mary is suing Big Tobacco for giving her lung cancer.

Kidding! They never use the C-word in this skit. She’s actually suing because she smokes while cleaning houses topless and the hot ash keeps burning her breasts.

Mike, the show’s producer, was really, really proud of that gag, too.

But the cast of characters is more than just a collection of bizarre strawmen; this is supposed to be “Bikers’ Court”, after all, so there’s also Judge Hacksaw on the bench overseeing the proceedings…

…a six-person jury of bikers…

…and bailiff Bunny Guns, who beat out Mary Harper for the script writer’s sole “boobs” pun.

Hacksaw asks Bunny to swear everybody in, so she tells those sons of bitches to raise their damn hands and tell the truth.

I actually think that joke is a little funny, and fits with the “biker” theme to boot, which is why I just made it up.

In the actual sketch, the joke is that Bunny is too stupid to know which hand is her right hand, so she has everybody raise both hands while being sworn in.

Is it also a joke that the witnesses get sworn in well before they even take the stand, or that the lawyers, jury, and audience members all take that same oath for some reason at the beginning of the trial? Or is that just a weird quirk of the biker legal system?

The Big Tobacco attorney, an upstanding man of integrity, argues that the plaintiffs shouldn’t blame his client for the consequences of their free choices.

“That’s what living in America is about,” says the reasonable attorney as Hacksaw, a lifelong proponent of living in America, nods along.

After all, just like 10% of all smokers, these three plaintiffs all started smoking as adults! Mind you, everyone I’ve ever known who smokes started as a minor, except for my friend Nick, who bought a pack on his 18th birthday as a joke and has been hooked ever since. You’re a dumbass, Nick.

After the defense correctly calls the plaintiffs, “lying, greedy, cheap trailer park trash”, chaos erupts, leading Hacksaw to restore order, banging his 2×4 like a gavel. Hey, that’s a nice touch! I didn’t even make that up myself, that’s in the real sketch!

Hacksaw threatens those in the courtroom with a night of pulling splinters out of their head. Now, if Big Poppa Pump were the judge, he’d have worded it a little differently.

In stark contrast to the honest Big Tobacco attorney, the plaintiffs’ lawyer is a condescending slimeball whose appeals to emotion are transparently phony and rehearsed.

(Not that I’m suggesting any of the actors in this thing actually did rehearse)

Then it’s time for the plaintiffs to talk to Judge Hacksaw one by one.

First, it takes an excruciating minute and a half for Jim to explain for anyone who hadn’t yet gotten the joke that Ed Stump is short because he’s a midget and not because he smokes. 

Next, Mary Harper explains the effects of topless smoking, which include, and I quote, “discoloration, severe swelling, sensitivity, and they’re so big now”. Severe swelling *and* they’re so big now? I’m surprised Judge Hacksaw didn’t stop the trial right there and award Mary damages not just from the tobacco industry, but from whatever dramaturgical whiz wrote these clunky lines for her.

But instead, Mary shows Exhibits Double-D to the jury…

…and to the judge.

Mary is played by Hacksaw’s wife, Debra, so this scene is perfectly wholesome – aside from being pro-tobacco industry propaganda, of course.

Fewer than 15% of all people who have sued tobacco companies have ever worked as a novelty topless maid. (Source: United States Department of Justice)

Last up is Bob, who we learn is not just a big fat slob, but a stupid, rude stoner who litters.

This earns him a signature 2×4 beating from Judge Hacksaw to wrap up “Bikers’ Court”, and not a moment too soon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hey, what do you mean there’s still ten more minutes of this crap?!

Yes, we still have to suffer through closing arguments, jury deliberation, the verdicts, statements from the judge, the awarding of damages, the appeals process…

And let’s not forget the coverage of the crowd outside the courtroom, consisting of real American folk who love their motorcycles, their cigarettes, and the protection of multi-billion dollar conglomerates from liability.

In his closing argument, the down-to-earth, sensible, and witty attorney for Big Tobacco reasons with the biker jury, comparing the case to laws requiring motorcyclists to wear helmets – but, uh, in a bad way.

I suppose the idea is that if we don’t stop the spread of these cancerous lawsuits now, we as a society will get hooked on them, almost like an addiction, until our country becomes deathly ill.

In the end, what matters is freedom – and who is more free than a nicotine addict? And, hey, this tobacco lawyer walks the walk, casually lighting up a cigarette right there in the courtroom because it’s never the wrong time to enjoy the cool, rich, but mild taste of his client’s product.

As the jury leaves to deliberate, the crowd of people outside smoke in solidarity with Big Tobacco. This crowd somehow includes members of the jury, who are locked away inside.

In the newsroom, the network legal analyst doesn’t like the plaintiffs’ chances in their lawsuit against the perfectly legal product of the tobacco industry. The legal expert’s name is Sturgis, as in the site of the annual biker rally, meaning we have now pinpointed another kind-of joke in this sketch.

Sturgis is played by emphysema aficionado Mike  McBath, owner of the Orlando Predators Arena Football team…

…and financer of this very skit.

After the commercial break – although where, when, or how this show ever aired on television, I’ll never know – Bailiff Bunny hands Judge Hacksaw the verdict and walks away sexily…

…prompting Jim to leer at her robotically.

The jury finds in favor – surprise of surprises – of the tobacco industry.

And the courtroom rejoices!

Hacksaw then brings the anti-tobacco attorney to the bench and gets him to admit that he stood to make a fortune off the lawsuit. Disgusted, Hacksaw rails against lawyers out to make a buck, then has the sleazy lawyer disbarred and arrested for extortion.

The tobacco industry’s principled lawyers don’t get any reprimand from Duggan, as I assume they all worked pro bono.

Next, Duggan sentences the midget to 30 days of laundry duty for the Harlem Globetrotters. He is taken away by Globetrotter Curly Neal, who emerges from the jury room to the most nightmarish rendition of “Sweet Georgia Brown” you’ll ever hear. “I’d prefer to be handcuffed by Bunny”, mutters Mr. Stump – twice, actually, in case viewers didn’t catch it the first time.

Hacksaw sentences fat Bob to a beating…

…and sentences topless maid Mary to three days of service at the bikers’ club house, much to her delight.

To close the skit, Hacksaw gets serious for a moment, inveighing against smoking in the strongest terms allowed by the sketch’s producers.

“I think it stinks, and personally, I believe it can lead to an early grave.”

Hear that? In Hacksaw Jim Duggan’s personal, non-medical opinion, smoking might be harmful.

But he loves America way more than he hates smoking, which is why he opposes “BS lawsuits” against tobacco companies.

And so, after 22 excruciating minutes, we’re done with this damn thing.

Besides it being a tobacco PR department’s fantasy committed to videotape, set in a world where cancer and addiction don’t exist and where every opponent of the smoking industry is a money-grubbing fraud, the biggest issue with this skit is its waste of a potentially amusing concept.

The “biker” gimmick barely even comes into play; the judge and jury could have been sailors or zookeepers or from any other walk of life, as long as it provided cover for a sketch about how tobacco companies shouldn’t have to pay a dime when their product kills people.

What I’m saying is, this sketch doesn’t play out like a parody so much as an unintentional parody-of-a-parody. And when I view this sketch through the lens of metaparody, dare I say it’s actually quite entertaining?

No, I dare not, because it’s still 22 minutes long and unfunny and terrible in every way.

Written by

A wrestling fan ever since the days of Wrestlemania IX, Art graduated from college in the same building where Art Donovan called King of the Ring 1994. He also runs the "How Much Does This Guy Weigh?" blog, where he reviews New Generation-Era Monday Night Raws. Follow him on Twitter @Art0Donnell. Email at: art@wrestlecrap.com
19 Responses to "INDUCTION: Bikers’ Court with Jim Duggan – Hacksaw revs up his Harley for… Big Tobacco? Huh?"
  1. C Boz says:

    As my daughter would say “OMG”. This is not crap, it is indefensible propaganda of a terrible sort. I feel dirty just reading this induction. People die from the tobacco industry’s reeling them in as kids and getting them addicted purposely to smoking. I know this skit was at the turn of the millennium, but all of this was known back then. I will never ever look at Duggan the same again. Or think of Curly Neal as a sort of hero either. Shame all around.

    And with that said, great induction.

  2. The Doctor of Style says:

    Jim Duggan as judge of a biker’s court…I guess Crush, the DOA and Bikertaker weren’t available?

  3. Captain Obvious says:

    Guess ol’ Hacksaw was right when he said during his HOF 2011 speech that he can “proudly say that he never cheated on his wife Debra while on the road” Hooooooooo!

  4. Christopher Haydu says:

    Personally, I agree with the videotape. Should McDonald’s and Burger King be hit with millions of lawsuits from fat people? Why should cigarette companies have to pay when there’s a surgeon general’s warning right on the pack?

    As for the wrestling aspect of the skit, I consider this to be an extension of the Hacksaw Jim Duggan character. He’s a patriot and he’s standing up for freedom. It wasn’t out of character for Duggan to appear in something like this. So, I’d say it’s funny because of how surreal it is, but it’s definitely not WrestleCrap.

    • Art0Donnell says:

      I don’t know. Are McDonald’s and Burger King so poisonous as to kill 1/3 of its customers and as addictive as heroin (which is essential to their business model), and did they lie about it for decades? I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree on whether it’s okay to knowingly sell dependency-inducing poison over the counter for human consumption and then get to keep no less than 100% of the profits.

      (Note that courts are not accepting new tobacco cases after a large master settlement, to be paid in installments in perpetuity, was reached in 1998 to account for that very long period of industry denial and cover-up of tobacco’s health effects)

      But regardless of anyone’s politics, this skit was atrocious.

  5. Jimbolian says:

    Damn, was this written by the crack team of writers at WCW (considering this was 2000, I’m looking at you Russo)?

    I hate to say it, but this makes that dreadful DX Little People’s Court sketch seem like courtroom dramas like 12 Angry Men or A Few Good Men.

    • Art0Donnell says:

      As someone who believes that the Little People’s Court/Christmas 2009 episode of Raw was the worst ever, I must still reluctantly agree with you.

    • Philip Hunn says:

      I dunno, I thought the Little People’s Court skit was crazy/stupid enough to be considered at least a little bit fun. This skit just seems painful and unnecessary.

  6. Christopher Haydu says:

    Well, I definitely don’t agree with that 1998 court ruling.
    As for Duggan, I wonder if WCW knew about this venture. It would’ve been great if somehow Jim went from being a janitor to being a judge and he’d settle cases backstage and it would prompt new feuds. So much potential wasted.

    • C Boz says:

      Christopher,

      Millions upon millions of people were purposely hooked on an addictive and frequently lethal product, with the tobacco industry deliberately falsifying and then denying data. Simply stated, they killer people. Sure no one forces anyone to have her or his first cigarette. But – and I do not know hold old you are – remember Joe Camel, a character specifically created to attract minors to smoking. Smoking is the leading cause of lung cancer, and big tobacco perpetrated a fraud on people worldwide. Even after they were regulated in the USA, they simply diverted attention and the same tactics to third world countries that do not have the same justice systems as we have in the USA.

      Sorry – we can disagree on this but your side of the argument isn’t even being defended a song of ant number of (sometimes ex) tobacco executives. I personally know the ex CEO of Phillip Morris. He was my advisor in business school (masters). And he stepped away from the industry because he was disgusted by its actions. I will defer to him, any day.

      I know this would be off topic for a fun wrestling site, but when wrestling and Wrestlecrap bring this into focus, it really calls for context and facts.

  7. El Atomico says:

    That Bailiff is hot!

    and I’m assuming Crown Jewel is next week? 😉

  8. Adam says:

    Judge Hacksaw, presiding. I can hear Bobby Heenan’s uncontrollable laughter on the wind.

  9. Mitch Colburn says:

    I honestly have no sympathy for people who start to smoke, KNOWING IT’S UNHEALTHY, then sue the companies. I don’t smoke, and I think it’s disgusting to smoke, but don’t blame others for your own stupid mistakes.

    • Walter Kovacs says:

      The people that sued are WHY people know that smoking is unhealthy. It was advertised as healthy through much of the 50’s. The warnings and stuff only started around the 80’s/90’s.

      The stuff that oil companies do know about denying global warming? That is what the cigarette companies were doing with cancer caused by smoking for a long time.

      It is carcinogenic, and addictive (not just habit forming, like alcohol or weed, but nicotine creates chemical dependency). It knowingly targeted minors to hook them early and thus create lifetime consumers, and they knowingly lied and covered up the most deadly results.

      It’s easy to argue that NOW anyone that starts smoking knows what they are getting into (if you think that teenagers really know what they are doing), but people that started in the 50’s or 60’s? Not so much.

  10. Thomas R Mossman says:

    Is there a better name for an indy ripoff wrestler than “Bizarre Strawman”?

  11. Christopher Haydu says:

    I might be replying too late, but if C Boz and Art want to continue the discussion, feel free. All the arguments about Joe Camel are irrelevant in my opinion. Just because tobacco executives knowingly lied in such ads, they did not put a gun to people’s heads and force them to smoke. That settles the issue right there. Big tobacco did not force people to smoke. Now, when it comes to Executives within the industry who knowingly made false claims about their product, I believe that those people deserve to be punished for doing so. And of course every single smoking-related case should be hurting Court, so I would say any judges or politicians who are showing an intentional bias toward big tobacco, they deserve to be punished as well. Still, though, none of these things make a person start to smoke.

    Here’s a modern example. A lot of times, when you buy junk food like a bag of potato chips, it might say on the packaging that there’s no preservatives, or no trans fat. They advertise the product in a way that sounds healthy, even though most people know that potato chips are junk food. Big snack food then be subject to being sued by every single fat person who eats their product? I mean, they are intentionally misrepresenting the health benefit of their product. Should wrestling fans be able to sue Vince McMahon for getting a 3 and 1/2 minute match with Brock Lesnar at Crown Jewel? If you think that people should be able to sue big tobacco and win, then the legal landscape would be so radically different in so many aspects that it would be unimaginable. I don’t agree with it, though. People have to be responsible for the choices that they make. It’s up to people to be educated about how they live their lives, it’s not up to Industry to make decisions for you.

    • Art0Donnell says:

      It just seems to me that if companies deliberately lie to the public and tell them that their product is both harmless and non-addictive, when in fact it is deadly and extremely addictive, that *might* prevent consumers from making an informed decision.

      And maybe marketing towards children who are too young to make lifelong health decisions might also prevent those consumers from making an informed decision.

      And when a product is as addictive as heroin, its addicted consumers are no longer making a free choice to buy the product (which they were lied to in the first place about not being addictive).

      For the same reasons that companies shouldn’t be allowed to secretly spike children’s bubble gum with heroin, tobacco companies should be held just *slightly* liable when its customers develop addiction and disease.

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