Leigh Hart (pictured left), aka “That Guy”—a humor columnist/comedian for the New Zealand Herald that seems to be a cross between Dave Barry and Sacha Baron Cohen (Borat), recently tweaked the noses and bruised the egos of the dedicated Bigfooters attending a Bigfoot conference in Ohio. Like “Borat,” Hart travels around misrepresenting himself while depending on the kindness and naiveté of strangers. He then writes or films humorous accounts of his exploits, mostly at the expense of the people he meets. Hart’s latest victims/subjects were the attendees at the 21st Annual Bigfoot Conference / EXPO at the Salt Fork State Park Lodge in Ohio at the beginning of this month.
He attended the conference hoping for the chance to engage in his own brand of skullduggery, and he got a break when one of the featured speakers, Doug Hajicek (the man behind History Channel’s show Monster Quest) proved to be a no-show. According to Hart, “I saw an opportunity, and volunteered to speak.” At this point, it’s hard to know exactly what was said that earned Hart a spot on the program, he claimed to be a TV producer and an expert on the New Zealand variety of Bigfoot, but that’s exactly what happened. His talk was a carefully crafted web of absurdities designed to poke fun at the very concept of Bigfoot, not to mention the people who believe in them. Hart even claimed to own the world’s largest feces analyzing machine, which might explain the distinct odor of BS that surrounded his appearance at the conference.
In his apology, Hart claimed that his, “intention was never to insult anybody personally,” but honestly, his type of humor relies on insulting and demeaning innocent people by making them the butt of the joke. And Billy Willard, the Director of Sasquatch Watch of Virginia, wrote that Hart’s article was “the height of unprofessionalism.” Well, I beg to differ. In this time of reality TV shows and Borat-type humor—this genre of humor dates back at least to Candid Camera, though now it’s distinctly nastier in temperament—this type of “humorous” treatment is the professional norm.
But seriously, while I hate to blame the victim in this case, a simple Google search would have revealed Hart’s identity and his modus operandi, and this situation would have at least been minimized. Honestly, though, he still would have written his column no matter what, given that he was actually there at the conference. Well, when one of your major speakers cancels, you tend to grab whatever opportunity that comes your way, even if it is too good to be true. And in this case, it certainly was.