|I don’t know about you, but I’m a BIG fan of sketch comedy shows. The glory days of Saturday Night Live (the Sandler-Farley-Spade triumvirate, specifically), Kids in the Hall (Canadian SNL but with no chicks), Mr. Show with Bob and David, In Living Color, Monty Python’s Flying Circus and of course, Mad TV, specifically the Will Sasso years. |
Let me but up front by saying I think Will Sasso is a tremendous talent that should be more famous than he‘s been allowed. His exaggerated yet spot on impressions of celebrities like Elvis Presley, Kenny Rogers, Bill Clinton, and Louie Anderson have sent me into fits of laughter. And even as an original character in a sketch, he’s able to hold his own and be very entertaining.
I’m also a BIG fan of wrestling (obviously why I‘m here). One of my favorite wrestlers of all time is the Excellence of Execution Himself, Bret “Hitman” Hart. In my humble opinion, one of the greatest in-ring technicians to ever grace the sport of professional wrestling. His matches told a story each time he stepped into the squared circle, whether it be Curt Hennig or Papa Shango (yeah, I know I‘m pushing it there). While not particularly gifted on the mic (at least not during his babyface hero years), he possessed what I like to call, a “quiet charisma”. He didn’t need to wow the crowd with stale catch-phrases and rhyming words. Just let him be himself. Let him wrestle and that’s all the talking he needs to do.
Now you’d think that mixing these two great things, the world of sketch comedy and the world of wrestling, or specifically Will Sasso and Bret Hart, would be a winning formula.
It’s a winner all right. If your idea of a grand prize is a kick right in the happy sack.
I’m a woman so I don’t know how that is but all my best male friends assure me it doesn’t feel like Christmas morning.
|The Sasso-Hart angle began in the fall of 1997, when Bret (at the time WWF champion, a fact made abundantly clear as nearly every reference to him on the show was as quote “Bret ‘The Hitman’ Hart from the WWF”) appeared on MAD TV as himself. Bret came home with a skinny geeky kid who declared that Bret was his pal and wasn’t going to let his family pick on him anymore, a fantasy that all of us timid-types replayed through our heads while stuffed in the inside of our lockers, forced to stare at the motivational poster of the kitty hanging on the tree branch. |
Not that I, uh, have experience with such a thing, mind you.
|It resulted in Will Sasso, in the role of the geek/nerd/poindexter’s father, and Bret locking up.|
|After having failed in this test of strength, Sasso did what any faltering fat man would do – he channeled the spirit of Mr. Fuji…|
|…and tossed salt right into the Hitman’s face. |
Amazingly, Hulk Hogan did not appear from the crowd to run to Bret’s “aid” and give Sasso the leg drop to win the WWF title.
|One airplane spin later, the sketch was over. Now admittedly…the bit was pretty darn funny. Sasso and Bret played well off of each other (Sasso is an admitted wrestling mark) and it ended there. |
Oh if only it had ended there.
|About a year later, Jesse “The Body” Ventura defied all critics and naysayers by running for Governor of Minnesota and WINNING. Naturally, it was fodder for all the comedians and sketch comedy shows to rip on. |
MAD TV’s sketch covering Governor Ventura’s election to public office featured Will Sasso as the former Body, only Will looked like the love child of Jesse and Stone Cold Steve Austin, if you locked him in a basement where his only sustenance was bags of Cool Ranch Doritos, Malomars and fruit punch
|“Governor Ventura” opened his press conference by introducing his new Lieutenant Governor, WCW U.S. Champion Bret Hart. I’m not sure the legalities of a Canadian-born person being appointed to a public office but we’ll just go with it. It’s all in good fun. |
Bret gave a shout out to the people of Minnesota and that “anyone who thinks they’re better than us is living in a stinking dream world!”
I swear, the first political candidate, regardless of party, to use this phrase as a campaign slogan has my vote.
|The jist of the sketch was Jesse using Bret as his muscle to silence the patronizing members of the media. |
Again, this is far from the worst idea ever. I can’t be the only one who would pay to see, say, Wolf Blitzer in a cross-faced chicken wing.
|That would’ve been all well and good on its own but while Bret had cast member Debra Wilson in an armbar, she sold it pretty well. Too well, in fact. To the point she ripped her wig off and yelled that Bret was really hurting her. |
You know I had a dream like this involving Bryan Alvarez and Nancy Grace, only Nancy was the one that had Super Chico(~!) in the armbar.
He then tapped like he was the drummer for Def Leppard.
|The cast broke character and asked Bret what his deal was.|
|Bret’s answer? |
A folding chair to the back of Sasso’s beefy backside.
|He then grabbed a mic and turned heel on the Mad TV audience. |
Let me repeat that – HE TURNED HEEL ON THE MAD TV AUDIENCE.
Little did Bret know that the studio audience he was yelling at would wind up larger than the crowds WCW drew as his career came to a close.
|Crazy Bret Backlund then put Will in the Sharpshooter while crew members begged him to release the hold as Sasso shrieked in pain and the audience that Bret had insulted cheered on the “legit” assault and battery. |
Why couldn’t he have been on SNL instead?? I would’ve started my very own Bret Hart fan club had he snapped and beaten the crap outta that annoying little Chris Kattan.
Had Bret truly flipped his lid for real this time?? Was he indeed driving the Looney Bus to ScrewyTown on a full tank of gas with no steering wheel?
Our questions were answered when Will challenged Bret to a match on the following Monday Nitro.
|Yes, seriously. |
No doubt Bret heard Vince’s warning that “WCW would have no idea what to do with Bret Hart” as Sasso made his grand entrance to the Mad TV theme.
When I hear this music, the last thing I think of is that a fight is about to break out. It’s more like the music that should be blaring over a loudspeaker as you’re being dragged into the funny farm by huge guys in white coats.
It would be like if in 1977, Bruno Sammartino had a match with Schneider from One Day at a Time, and Schneider came out to his show’s theme.
On second thought, that would be the best entrance EVER.
|And that match would have ROOOOLED. |
Why wasn’t Vince Jr. in charge back then? There’s your first WrestleMania match.
|In Will’s corner was, as Tony Schiavone says, “the lovely Debra Wilson”. I guess Tony’s idea of lovely is a Hollywood Boulevard streetwalker that looks like she‘ll give you the night of your life, then steal your wallet, pictures of the wife, kids, dog and all, while you‘re passed out.|
|Will is wearing a jersey with a number 73 on the front and back. |
*I* have no idea what it means but our friend Bobby Heenan speculates that it is the number of double cheeseburgers the guy had before the match.
I will defer to The Brain’s judgment on that one.
|The match begins when Bret challenges Will to a test of strength. |
Yes, like this was a real, honest to goodness WRESTLING MATCH!
|Bret gives him a swift kick to the gut and dominates Will the entire match. Imagine Mikey Whipwreck, only 300 pounds and no one giving two steaming piles of crap about him, and you have Will Sasso in this match.|
|As Sasso gets his 73 double cheesed ass to him, Tony tries to add some depth to the match by theorizing that maybe Sasso was a high school wrestler, causing Mike Tenay to point out to Tony how foolish he sounds, while Bobby keeps his fat jokes a-comin‘ and calls Will “the illegitimate child of Alfred E. Newman“ ironically one of the few connections to the magazine and the tv show.|
|he majority of the match is outside of the ring, with Sasso flopping about and heaving like he ran the New York City Marathon trailing just behind Jay Sherman. Bret even goes so far as to grab a chair from the outside and sit down on it in the middle of the ring and drink a bottled water as Sasso struggles to get back in the ring.|
|Bret makes his way back to the outside of the ring and is about to waffle Sasso with a folding chair yet again but is stopped by Tony’s secret girlfriend, Debra Wilson.|
|Whew, thank goodness Debra was there to back Will up. Because she knows firsthand what it’s like to be on the receiving end of Bret’s physical injury. If there was ever a true friend in this world, it’s Debra. You know, maybe I’ve misjudged her. Any woman that would risk her own well-being to save her frie-|
|OH MY GOD SHE TURNED HEEL ON WILL!! I DID NOT SEE THAT COMING!!! NOT AT ALL! |
Mostly because it makes zero sense.
|Bret rolls Will back into the ring and slaps on the sharpshooter for a quick tap out as Tony pretends he’s shocked by the turn of events.|
|Bret and his new valet, Debra Wilson hug and celebrate in the middle of the ring. |
I bet Tony was really pissed.
|And the look on Will’s face, exhausted and annoyed, matches my own.|
|Thankfully (or rather puzzling), this feud was immediately wiped clean from the slate, as Bret continued to wrestle other wrestlers in WCW and Will returned to MAD TV with his traitorous castmate, Debra Wilson Schiavone-Fortensky. |
However, Will would reappear the next year in the WWF, sans backstabbing castmates, in his Stone Cold persona to do a very unfunny and predictable Smackdown skit with Chris Jericho and the real Stone Cold.
That’s it. I’ve had enough! Judge Triple Kelly of the 11th Circuit Court of Wrestlecrap hereby issues a restraining order stating that wrestling and sketch comedy should be keep a distance of at least 500 feet from one another, for the love of Santino’s accent!
Whiny mom: “Why did you bring him here?!”
Skinny geek: “You want to know why? Because Bret “The Hitman” Hart from the WWF is my friend. He likes me, he sticks up for me, so maybe now you people will think twice about being so super mean to me all the time!”
Dad: “Hold on a second, son…”
Bret Hart: “Sit down, Pops!”
Dad: “I’ll just have a seat right here.”
Bret: “I’d just like to say hey to all the great people in Minnesota. And any other state that thinks they’re better than us is living in a stinkin’ dream world!”