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  December 16, 2000



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The goon show!


By BRET HART -- Calgary Sun

 I've retired from wrestling but not from life. I'm enjoying being able to finally work on my book and was making some notes about the various characters I've had the opportunity to play on TV.

 It got me to thinking about how wrestlers are usually underrated as actors and too often are type cast as boorish goons.

 Take my appearances on Mad TV for example. I played myself, but not really.

 After I went out of control and attacked Will Sasso, the Mad TV switchboard lit up with people telling the production staff that they're so disappointed in Bret Hart for coming down to that level and asking, with genuine concern, how badly I had hurt Will.

 There are two things that have always made my wrestling character so believable. One is plain and simply, solid wrestling. The other is that I'm not a whole lot different than the Hitman -- when he wasn't scripted to act like a jerk -- so I think that accounts for the perceived authenticity of my actions, like why people are inclined to believe that it's real when I beat up Will Sasso as part of the script.

 It wasn't any more real than when I ran around in the jungles of South Africa with scantily clad women, dressed like a Viking for the Sinbad Show.

 The show is high camp but it did have its perks.

 Honey I Shrunk The Kids. The best part of that one was that I got to spend four days hanging out with Owen.

 We both played ourselves, but once again, it's a case of people not being able to separate fact from fiction. As part of the show, Owen and I get bandaged up in these huge splints and slings and casts ... intentionally so over the top that it looked cartoonish.

 Someone with the show took a picture of that and whenever it shows up in print somewhere people say to me, "My God! What happened to you two!"

 I don't live in a shed on the side of a mountain like my character Luther Root did in Lonesome Dove, yet ol' Luther is one character I do feel a kinship with.

 A funny thing happened when we were filming a fight scene and the stunt man got carried away, hauled off and punched me right in the mouth.

 'Big Bear' immediately realized what he'd done and explained that once the adrenaline got pumping everything got very real and just for an instant he thought he was in the fight of his life against The Hitman. I did the rest of that episode with a fat lip. Still, Lonesome Dove is one of the best times I've ever had, and one of my fondest memories. I did a cameo in a soon to be aired Showtime move called Annus Horribulus, in which fictional wrestling fans in a small town have been affected by what happened to me in Montreal.

 An interesting footnote is that when they asked me for 15 seconds of tape of myself wrestling to use in the show, I wasn't able to supply any because neither WWF nor WCW will give me the rights to the footage. Can you believe that, after 23 years in the business, I don't have 15 seconds of tape?

 I'm still there for a fleeting second in the opening montage of Malcolm In The Middle, though.

 Perhaps the strangest feedback I've had to any of my TV appearances was when a charming old woman in Safeway asked me for Mr. Burns' phone number.

 She figured I'd have it since I moved into his house on The Simpsons.

 Stranger still was when my Grade 8 drama teacher was gracious enough to allow me to be the back-end of a cow in Fiesta Mexicana. At least my friend Mike, that's Dr. Mike Bracko, got to be in front.

 Even stranger still was my character in two episodes of Lorenzo Lamas' new fantasy adventure series, The Immortal. I played a hitman for the devil -- the same role I played for 14 years in the WWF.

 But the most fun I've had in quite a while was when I did a cameo for the new comedy series Big Sound. I don't want to spoil it for you but Hitman fans everywhere might want to tune in and check out my singing debut, (well not counting the Rascalz video ... where I had to dance as well).

 The show was so funny that whenever the director yelled cut the entire cast and crew would crack up laughing, including me. They also did episodes with Jann Arden, Melissa Etheridge and M.C. Hammer and I predict that Big Sound will be a big hit.

 I'm off to do some Christmas shopping now. It's nice to be able to be home for the holidays this year. See you at the mall.

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