Judge (regarding Curly): “What’s the matter with him?”
Moe: “He thinks he’s a chicken.”
Judge: “Why don’t you put him in an institution?”
Larry: “We can’t, we need the eggs.”

Sometimes the planets line up just right. Sunday night, worn out from a day of skiing, my younger son and I put on an old Three Stooges video my wife had picked up earlier at a used book sale and watched “Disorder in the Court.” The next night, finally finding time to read the Sunday Boston Globe I’d missed due to skiing, I was delighted to find in the Globe Magazine this article about the Stooges by Charles P. Pierce, Woiise Guys. In it, Pierce talks about the “academic forensics” the Stooges spawned, and he mentions his favorite, a law review article examining the portrayal of lawyers in Stooges films.

I wondered, Could this article be available on the Web? Sure enough, thanks to Tarlton Law Library’s Law in Popular Culture Collection, there it is, Images of Lawyers & The Three Stooges, Randall Coyne’s 1997 article originally published in the Oklahoma City University Law Review, Volume 22, Number 1. It includes the bit that starts this post, and other gems portraying “the Stooge version of law.” The Three Stooges’ frequent lampooning of lawyers was no coincidence, Coyne suggests, because their real lives were marked by frequent run-ins with lawyers and the legal system.

I hear lawyers everywhere proclaiming in defense, “We were victims of soicumstance! Nyuk, nyuk.”

Photo of Bob Ambrogi Bob Ambrogi

Bob is a lawyer, veteran legal journalist, and award-winning blogger and podcaster. In 2011, he was named to the inaugural Fastcase 50, honoring “the law’s smartest, most courageous innovators, techies, visionaries and leaders.” Earlier in his career, he was editor-in-chief of several legal publications, including The National Law Journal, and editorial director of ALM’s Litigation Services Division.