Don't have a cow, man, but Bret Hart says he wasn't actually supposed to be portraying himself during his famous cameo on The Simpsons!
During the 21st episode of the 8th season of The Simpsons, Bret “Hitman” Hart made a cameo appearance in “The Old Man and the Lisa,” in which Mr. Burns enlists the help of Lisa Simpson to once again become rich. During the episode, Bret Hart makes a brief appearance as himself and calls the Springfield money enthusiast a “pitiful, pencil-neck geek!”
In the years since many have questioned whether or not that's actually Bret Hart doing his own voice. Speaking with Fightful’s Sean Ross Sapp, Bret Hart revealed that he did do the voice over but the reason it sounded different is that he thought he was portraying the “Mad Viking.”
"I think the funny story about the Simpsons cartoon is they initially were not going to draw me in it as me," said Bret. "But, I had just lost the title to Shawn Michaels at the Iron Man match in Anaheim. This is maybe a week or two later. They flew me in, I was just gonna be the Mad Viking or something like that. I was gonna be some other wrestling persona that was made up, a fictional one. I tried really hard to get them to draw me in as myself. They finally said, ‘It’s just the part for Mad Viking, take it or leave it,’ and I said, ‘Okay, I’ll still take it. It’ll be fun to go to L.A. and do the voice for the Mad Viking.’ But, anyway, I did the whole thing in about five minutes. I drove there in a big limo, went into the studio, and I did my lines in less than five minutes. Did it every which way you could think of. ‘More mad,’ ‘Okay, not quite so mad.’"
Hart reveals that at first, the crew behind the show did not realize what a big celebrity they had and it wasn't until after Bret had recorded the lines for the show and attracted such a crowd that they realized how much of a star he was and decided to draw him in as himself.
"My limo driver had driven off, had gone to get gas, so I got stuck sitting there for about a half-hour ‘cause I got done so quick. All these workers that were working at FOX Studios came out of the woodwork. I’m talking over a hundred people came out and they had programs and pictures and figures. So, I just signed. I had nowhere to go anyway. So, I just signed all their stuff. I remember when I was sitting there after I’d signed for maybe 30-40 minutes, I remember the guy who was the director of my episode came up to me and he goes, ‘I had no idea you were this big of a star. If it’s okay with you, we’re gonna draw you in as yourself now. ‘Cause we had no idea.’"
He continued, "So, I always thought just by being a good sport and being nice, taking my time and being friendly with people and signing autographs, they drew me in ad myself. Never hurts to be a nice guy. I thought it was always an interesting story that it paid off. ‘Cause I think it was a much bigger deal being drawn in as Bret ‘the Hitman’ Hart and having caused Mr. Burns to go bankrupt and taking his house and all that."
In the end, Hart was happier with the change feeling his true self was better than the Mad Viking could ever be.
"I did all the lines and everything as the Mad Viking. That’s why people sometimes hear it, ‘That’s not Bret Hart. It doesn’t’ sound like him.’ Yeah, I was supposed to be doing the Mad Viking. So, I wasn’t supposed to be Bret Hart. So, I was trying to have a different voice a little bit. But, it’s me. Again, they didn’t change anything except for the artwork. I think Hitman was better than the Mad Viking anyway."
The episode first aired on Sunday, April 20, 1997. On that day, Bret Hart wasn’t focused on Bart Simpson as he was preoccupied with another staple of 90's pop culture when he faced “Stone Cold” Steve Austin in their final one-on-one match on pay-per-view at In Your House 14: Revenge of the 'Taker. In the years that followed, Bret Hart would have his appearance immortalized with a Simpsons action figure, released to celebrate the show's 25th anniversary.
You can see our full interview with Bret Hart at the top of the page. To hear more from Bret Hart, you can subscribe to his website and hear Confessions of the Hitman. He also has appeared on Corner Gas Animated on CTV Comedy in a cameo role.