Unfrozen Caveman Tucker

Tucker Carlson is seen during an interview with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin in Moscow on February 6, 2024. (Photo by Gavriil Grigorov/AFP/Getty Images)

In the pantheon of modern political and social satire, Saturday Night Live’s Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer undoubtedly deserves a spot. For those unfamiliar with the recurring 1980s classic, a thawed-out Neanderthal named Keyrock—played by comedic genius Phil Hartman (RIP)—becomes a cynical lawyer (and later a politician) who uses his “simple caveman” origin story to manipulate onlookers and win cases or votes. Wikipedia summarizes the running gag well:

Keyrock would speak in a slick and smoothly self-assured manner—but with obviously feigned naiveté—to a jury or an audience about how things in the modern world supposedly “confuse and frighten” 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. Keyrock would always finish a disquisition, however, by asserting in a burst of righteousness that nevertheless, “There is one thing I DO know …” That one thing would be that his client was either innocent, or was entitled to several million dollars or more in both compensatory and punitive damages for an injury. The jury or counsel is invariably swayed by Keyrock’s argument.

As Wikipedia adds, the skit is a clever take on how “simple folk wisdom” can be remarkably (frustratingly) persuasive for the general public, even when it’s clearly ridiculous and being employed by an obvious phony out for personal gain. Watch enough real world law or politics, and you’ll see Keyrock’s schtick everywhere—especially when it comes to economics. 

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