Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer

Cirroc — known as the Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer — was a recurring character created by Jack Handey and played by Phil Hartman on Saturday Night Live from 1991 through 1996. He was a caveman with the beetling brows of a neanderthal who had fallen into a glacial crevasse during the Ice Age, thus preserving his body well enough for scientists to thaw him out in 1988. He subsequently attended law school.

Cirroc became a defense and personal injury lawyer, and in a later skit, a politician running for President on the platform of eliminating the capital gains tax. He was portrayed as a selfish, well-dressed attorney who repeatedly claimed to be a simple-minded caveman, and would employ simple folk wisdom to win his cases. He also enjoyed significant wealth, driving luxury cars like BMWs and Range Rovers, as well as owning a home in Martha's Vineyard.

The running gag was that Cirroc would speak in a highly articulate and smoothly self-assured manner to a jury or an audience about how things in the modern world supposedly "frighten and confuse" him. He would then list several things that confounded him about modern life or the natural world, such as: "When I see a solar eclipse, like the one I went to last year in Hawaii, I think 'Oh no! Is the moon eating the sun?' I don't know. Because I'm a caveman -- that's the way I think." This pronouncement would seem ironic, coming from someone who had, for example, just ended a brisk cell phone conversation, or indeed attended law school. Cirroc would always finish a disquisition, however, by asserting in a burst of righteousness that nevertheless "There is one thing I DO know..." -- namely, that his client is either innocent, or that he is entitled to several million dollars or more in both compensatory and punitive damages for an injury. The jury or counsel is invariably swayed by Cirroc's argument.

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