Do You Have a License to Wear those Tights?

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The Seattle Times reports on a particularly ridiculous case of occupational licensing:

A satirically trashy, riotous homage to TV pro wrestling, [Seattle Semi-Pro Wrestling] has been in limbo since a Jan. 7 emotional blowout that might have been its final show. The ultimate smackdown is scheduled for Thursday, when the Department of Licensing will begin a hearing to determine if Ronald McFondle, Domestic Violence, Mascara Generico and their colleagues are a "fight-cabaret theater troupe," as they claim, or professional athletes subject to regulations and fees that could put them out of business.

These folks dress up in goofy costumes and make a loving and obvious mockery out of pro-wrestling. This is improv comedy. It's not Randy "The Ram" Robinson getting hit with the staple gun and then suffering a heart attack. But the worst part is that a disgruntled former cast member named Paul Richards—who performed as The Banana—called in the state. From the Times:

"It was revenge, plain and simple," Richards said. "I just told the state, 'Wrestling show, no license, here's the location.'"…

Trudie Touchette, the Department of Licensing administrator in charge of the case, said she never has seen one of the shows. But, she said, "I believe that they fit the definition of our law—wrestling exhibition or wrestling shows mean a form of sports entertainment in which the participants display their skill in a physical struggle against each other in a ring, and either the outcome may be predetermined or the participants do not necessarily strive to win, or both."

A neutral presiding officer with the department will read the wrestlers'—or "wrestlers' "—written arguments Thursday. If the ruling goes against them, each participant (referees included) will need a license and a physical, and future shows will require a promoter (also licensed), security, medics and representation from the Department of Licensing. All of which could tap them out.

Think about that. Even the "referee" for an obvious pro-wrestling spoof needs a license.

Whole strange and infuriating thing here. Katherine Mangu-Ward on the Institute for Justice's fight against interior design licensing here.

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  1. “It was revenge, plain and simple,” Richards said. “I just told the state, ‘Wrestling show, no license, here’s the location.'”

    This guy will have a talk show in MSNBC within a week…

  2. Ronald McFondle. funniest thing I’ve seen this year.

  3. Pirate Wrestling (off shore) is the obvious solution. And the resident Bad Guy should be Minister-of-Licenses-for-Everything-and-Everybody Man

  4. A guy names Richards, who’s stage name was the most phallic of the fruits, is a dick? Quelle suprise.

    “Trudie Touchette” also sounds like a porn name.

  5. revenge, plain and simple

    Because the government is here to help you.

  6. Perhaps Good Guy wrestlers will need to go through a nine week stae sanctioned orientation and desensitivity course in order to turn rogue and betray their tag-team partners…

  7. I haven’t seen penis balloon art since Epi’s bar mitzvah.

  8. This is just stupid.

    Of course if we were to list all of the professions that require licenses in Washington that do absolutely nothing to protect the public, but are merely guild protection statutes, we’d be discussing this until the cows come home.

    I’ll also wager that more people die in Washington shoveling snow (no license, physical or training required) than all of the “professional” athletes combined die on the field of play.

  9. My first resction to this story was: it is a fool’s mission to satirize, or parody, Pro Wrestling.
    And it is even more foolish to license or regulate the farce.

    We can’t have unlicensed fakery out there, can we; only certifiably authentic fakery. Politicians should be expert at that.

  10. Good god. I knew this had to be true, because nobody could make this shit up. And I think that one letter needs to be changed in Trudie’s last name.

  11. “Do you have a license for that shovel, Bub?”

  12. This is what makes me so mad at my Democrat friends here in Seattle. A clear case of government abuse, and yet they keep voting for the big government party. At least once a day I tell a Democrat in Seattle, ‘this is what you get when you vote for these people’.

  13. Dude, my license is in my tights.

  14. “This guy will have a talk show in MSNBC within a week…”

    I hope they do. That would be great! But do you really think they have room on their schedule for another disgruntled asshole?

  15. I haven’t seen penis balloon art since Epi’s bar mitzvah.

    Nor will you again, after what you did to the balloons.

  16. You didn’t cash that $20 savings bond yet, have you. You were supposed to use it for college.

  17. I’m kind of amused that the state qualifies professional i.e. costumed wrestling, as a sport in the first place. That alone should tell us that the entire law is bogus and clearly put in place to serve the interest of those who stage wrestling shows. Clearly, they got this put into law purely to prevent small troupes of wrestling actors from competing with the big companies.

    Again, we see big players in one particular field of endeavor hijacking state power to suppress competition.

  18. Episiarch | February 27, 2009, 2:33pm | #
    I haven’t seen penis balloon art since Epi’s bar mitzvah.

    Nor will you again, after what you did to the balloons.

    If it was anything like what Scott Tenorman’s pony did how can you object?

  19. How dare you do things without the government’s explicit permission!

    How dare you breathe, how dare you get out of bed in the morning!

  20. Even the “referee” for an obvious pro-wrestling spoof needs a license.

    To be fair, some of the pro-wrestling referee license standards need to be tightened up. Hav eyou seen what goes on in the ring? Folding chairs, beer baths, it’s outrageous what these guys can get away with!

  21. I’m sorta surprised they don’t have an ip suit against them for Ronald McFondle; it’s on the boundary of where the law stands now on fair use and parody.

  22. Did anyone else interpret the title to be a reference to the “Keene Act” from “The Watchmen” comic?

  23. Where’s Tony to explain how occupational licensing for pro wrestlers is a necessary restriction on liberty for the sake of the greater good.

  24. You didn’t cash that $20 savings bond yet, have you. You were supposed to use it for college.

    I wipe my ass with $20 savings bonds you cheap bastard. I can’t believe your wife let you be so cheap–it reflects on her too.

    If it was anything like what Scott Tenorman’s pony did how can you object?

    More like what Cartman did to Tenorman’s parents.

  25. Occupational licensing for pro wrestlers is a necessary restriction on liberty for the sake of the greater good.

  26. Sweet jesus, Tony! Are for fucking real? Your trolling skills appear to be expanding at an exponential rate!!! We all need to stop him before he grows to powerful! If he moves on to other websites there will be no stopping him! We’ll have to send The Rock to bring him in.

  27. “I believe that they fit the definition of our law-wrestling exhibition or wrestling shows mean a form of sports entertainment in which the participants display their skill in a physical struggle against each other in a ring, and either the outcome may be predetermined or the participants do not necessarily strive to win, or both.”

    Wrestling:sport::Democrat:government

  28. You can toss this one on the pile of “things I should give a shit about but just can’t because the global financial meltdown will result in the end of the world in the next few years”.

  29. Wow, we’re turning into the UK.

  30. I think an argument could be made that such a ruling is unconstitutional on first amendment grounds.

  31. Naga-

    Take that hook out of your lip.

  32. If these guys are professional athletes, I hope Seattle doesn’t have a ballet company. Those ladies and gents don’t think they can compete with the Seahawks and Mariners, do they?

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