Do You Have a License to Wear those Tights?


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.