Capt. Lou, the Stooges, and the American Guy

One of the eternal debates in western civilization is over the real differences between men and women. Thousands of books have been written on the subject along with endless  water cooler arguments and barroom shouting matches. Well I can tell you today with great confidence that I have the answer, or I think I have the answer.

I got a shot of instant genius the other day when I read that Captain Lou Albano had died. For the uninitiated, Captain Lou Albano was perhaps the most famous of the 1970’s and 1980’s wrestling managers who occupied the television screen on those Saturday mornings when I was supposed to be doing something meaningful. Captain Lou was a gigantic, disheveled crazy man who shouted at the cameras as he defended his wrestlers, the likes of Professor Toru Tanaka, the Iron Sheik, and Sgt. Slaughter as they entered the ring against Ivan Putski, Chief Jay Strongbow, and Andre the Giant.

Of course the whole thing was fake, but it sure was entertaining and Captain Lou kept you mesmerized in front of the televison as he went on and on with well written rants defending his stable of bad guys, who always seemed to have a ” foreign object” hidden away to give them that extra edge. Never mind that the outcome of the match was decided in the dressing room.

I tell you about the passing of Capt. Lou because guys just couldn’t resist watching wrestling, even though they knew the whole enterprise was just the equivalent of a male soap opera. Naturally, my wife and millions of wives and girl friends all over America had no idea why we would watch wrestling instead of mowing the lawn or fixing a leaking sink. To women wrestling was stupid and of course fake.

But Captain Lou Albano and his wrestlers of yesteryear were the updated versions of the Three Stooges ( four if you include Shemp). Although the Stooges weren’t wrestlers, they started the whole business of ridiculous physical comedy as they poked each other’s eyes, hit each other’s heads and pulled each other’s hair. It was juvenile, dumb and also fake, but guys loved it and continue to love it, just like wrestling.

What is it about guys that they are drawn to the likes of Captain Lou Albano and the Stooges? With wrestlers  and the Stooges it is likely that men enjoyed the violent escapism mixed with over the top humor and junior high locker room antics that the guys in the ring and Curly, Larry and Moe created. There will always be a little boy inside a grown man who can’t resist enjoying physical comedy, especially if they see it as downright funny and harmless.

Women just don’t get it when it comes to wrestling and the Stooges, and that is the source of the difference between the sexes – men are hard wired to push and shove and bump and pull the other guy; it’s what we are as humans.  Watching the wrestlers and the Stooges allowed us to tap into our inner maleness, no matter how goofy or puerile. So thank you Capt. Lou for making my Saturday’s complete and allowing me to enjoy male humor. And to the Stooges, may you live on forever in reruns and twenty-four hour marathons – nyuk, nyuk, nyuk.


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