Easy, tiger
October 4, 2003 9:56 AM   Subscribe

Roy Horn, of Siegfried and Roy fame, was mauled by a white tiger last night during his show.
posted by tomcosgrave (67 comments total)
Don't play with tigers. Especially on stage under bright lights in a Vegas casino.
posted by 2sheets at 10:00 AM on October 4, 2003

And this is on the front page, why?
posted by signal at 10:01 AM on October 4, 2003

You live by the tiger, you die by the tiger. Ask Dale Earnhardt.
posted by sharksandwich at 10:04 AM on October 4, 2003

Cuz it's absolutely hilarious.
posted by atom128 at 10:05 AM on October 4, 2003

I'm not sure what to think . . . it's horrifying, and yet somehow logical. It's amazing that he hasn't been seriously injured in the past.

While not exactly a Siegfried and Roy fan, I hope that Roy recovers, and perhaps more importantly, that the Tiger is well treated. It'd be an utter tragedy were the animal put down because of an onstage mishap.
posted by aladfar at 10:08 AM on October 4, 2003

Terrible...just terrible.

Does the Smoking Gun have video yet?
posted by bradth27 at 10:17 AM on October 4, 2003

I've never seen Siegfried and Roy's show, but friend's have told me "They're great!"
posted by funkbrain at 10:26 AM on October 4, 2003

I've seen their tigers, and this was somehow coming to them. Unhappy cats = not good show kitties. I hope he'll be okay and retire the cats.
posted by dabitch at 10:26 AM on October 4, 2003

Rise up, my animal friends, and beat those who demean you into submission! Go tiger!
posted by item at 10:35 AM on October 4, 2003

This tiger was probably avenging the death of the tiger in the Baghdad zoo.
posted by homunculus at 10:50 AM on October 4, 2003

Being at this performance would be like winning the lottery. "finally!" I like that this was the first performance of the tiger, and after Roy told people this, he got jumped. No wonder people thought it was part of the act.
posted by Busithoth at 10:51 AM on October 4, 2003

Which one got it? The top or the bottom?
posted by paleocon at 11:14 AM on October 4, 2003

" I like that this was the first performance of the tiger"

A reporter on CNN said that's not true; they always say that.
posted by 2sheets at 11:15 AM on October 4, 2003

Could be, however unlikely, a well orchestrated illusion to buy Roy and Sig some vacation time. Lifetime contract, six shows a week. Ugh.
posted by cortex at 11:16 AM on October 4, 2003

That sucks. I've been to a Siegried and Roy show before - if anything it's underhyped, definitely extremely entertaining. Best done on someone else's dime though.
posted by Veritron at 11:16 AM on October 4, 2003

underhyped? If they are lambasted on the Simpsons more than once, I would consider them (in)famous.
posted by Saddo at 11:44 AM on October 4, 2003

In fact, the episode in which they are "lambasted"/promoted includes a tiger mauling scene doesnt it? Aah..Simpsons
posted by Saddo at 11:47 AM on October 4, 2003

I'm with signal ... not sure why this is here.
posted by pmurray63 at 11:55 AM on October 4, 2003

The magician responded by trying to beat the tiger off with his microphone.

posted by quonsar at 11:57 AM on October 4, 2003

It's here because it's here. Shaddap.

Woah that's.. wow. That's... I'm sure I'll find this funny in a day or two. It's just that those two guys have been around all my life. The thought of one of them not being around anymore... I preferred it when we could do jokes about Siegfred and Roy getting mauled by tigers but that it hadn't actually happened. Y'know? It's not as funny when it actually happens. Fitting, perhaps, but not something I'd wish on my worst enemy, much less a well-intentioned, short-sighted and demonstrably ignorant guy who just likes entertaining people in the only way he knows how. And well. Both the guys obviously do what they do well which is why they're so successful and known world wide but forty years of mistreatment of tigers, and the odds just stack up against you...

I'm sure I'll be able to laugh about this someday. I just don't think this is funny right yet. It took me almost a week to warm up to Challenger Explosion jokes. So I'll give this a couple days. In the meantime, GWBush wrote a poem. Now THAT'S funny!
posted by ZachsMind at 12:00 PM on October 4, 2003

Does anyone have a link discussing the treatment of those tigers?
posted by konolia at 12:13 PM on October 4, 2003

Deadly Destinations via peta.org. That's the best I got on a cursory search. Then there's this report buried in a page at 5tigers.org describing an event back in 1997. "Tourists watched in horror as a white tiger used in the magic act by Las Vegas act Siegfried and Roy ate its mate. The tigers were on display at an indoor zoo at the Mirage Hotel on the Vegas strip between acts when the attack happened. Male tiger Baroda grabbed his mate Nirvana in his fangs and the pair had a twenty minute battle as shocked tourists and children watched from behind safety glass."

Actually I can't find very much in terms of actual cruelty. Although it can be argued keeping animals behind glass or bars in Las Vegas to be on display for tourists year round, that right there's kinda cruel. Although zoos do it all the time. The fact is Siegfried and Roy probably treat the tigers as best as they possibly can. However, no matter how well tigers are treated in captivity, making them do several shows a day over forty weeks a year, and specifically raising white tigers as if they were prize-winning roses, but not taking into account the medical factors of inbreeding, is both cruel to the animals and just generally ignorant. Like a child playing with fire. I mean they could treat the beasts like royalty. It doesn't change the fact that their very situation is cruel and unusual punishment for the animals.

...Remember when we used to have pollack jokes? Nobody tells pollack jokes anymore. Or Aggie jokes. Those used to be funny, until I realized I was born in Aggie country (Bryan/College Station, Texas) so technically, they were talking about me. I just don't know what's funny and what's scary and what's just flat WRONG anymore. I just can't tell the difference. If I were in Las Vegas last night watching that show, I'd probably still be staring at the stage this afternoon. In shock. Waiting for somebody to tell me it was a real bad joke. Of course the more rational thing to have done would be to stand up and run out of the Mirage as fast as possible. There's a tiger on the loose and it's eating people!

It is kinda freaky how the news reports are pointing out that people in the audience, "thought it was part of the show." And when you have a show where people disappear and where there's an illusion of risk coupled with a real danger of risk involvement that you're told is contained, well the audience gets lulled into a sense of confusion. We as a society tend to face our fears and purposefully deaden them. But fear exists to let us know when something is dangerous. It's like we're purposefully screwing up our internal alarm system. Like smoking a cigarette right under a smoke detector in your home and then being surprised when it goes off and you're just smoking a cigarette, but then you take the battery out of the smoke detector, continue sleeping in bed, fall asleep with a lit cig and the house catches fire with no working smoke detector.

There was a tiger on the stage. It just attacks a man. And the audience is sitting there going, "isn't this part of the act?" I dunno. When I saw the towers hit on Nine Eleven on Good Morning America, I wanted it to be a gag. A preview for some movie. Wanted the towers to still be up there. I still want that. I think we've lulled ourselves into complacency, like lobsters in slowly heating water. Fear is not something we should encourage ourselves to ignore. It's there for a reason. We fight it like it's an enemy, when fear is actually a friend; the human warning alarm. Maybe that's why this isn't funny. Terror just isn't funny any more.
posted by ZachsMind at 12:44 PM on October 4, 2003

i recommend a decrease in feedings, accompanied by an increase in beatings to thrice daily. additionally, random applications of intense electro-genital stimulation should be commenced forthwith. perhaps then the vile beast will perceive the vast intelligence and natural superiority of man.
posted by quonsar at 12:48 PM on October 4, 2003

And the audience is sitting there going, "isn't this part of the act?" I dunno.

Comedian Dick Shawn died of a heart attack onstage while performing back in the 80's. He laid there for five solid minutes while the audience watched, thinking it was part of the act.

Ya really don't wanna laugh -- but GEEZ!
posted by RavinDave at 12:57 PM on October 4, 2003

quonsar, damn, pretty harsh man. I mean, he just just get his neck gnawed on by a tiger. Lets give him a few days recovery before we clamp on the genital electro-stimulator, eh?
posted by duckstab at 1:59 PM on October 4, 2003

The only way this could possibly be funnier is if, after the tiger dragged him off behind the curtain screaming the audience was so moved by the new 'trick' that they gave a loud and heartfelt standing applause. I wish I had a time machine (and a camcorder) just so I could start off that applause.
posted by Ryvar at 2:05 PM on October 4, 2003

Big cats, most notably the white tigers with which they have become synonymous, have been an integral part of Siegfried and Roy's act since they began performing together in 1959.

These guys have been doing this since 1959? I had no idea. Amazing this hasn't happened before, in that case.
posted by jokeefe at 2:13 PM on October 4, 2003

This is why gay marriage is so important, because it allows hospital visitation to a partner which might be denied otherwise.

Did I miss the point? Oh, sorry.
posted by benjh at 2:27 PM on October 4, 2003

Reading recommendation for the thread: Life of pi
posted by magullo at 2:43 PM on October 4, 2003

underhyped? If they are lambasted on the Simpsons more than once, I would consider them (in)famous.

Selma: Now, we own you like Siegfried owns Roy.
posted by jonp72 at 3:28 PM on October 4, 2003

I've seen their show (Actually, back in april of this year). It's an ok show, but I felt it was kinda overproduced, turned too much into a vegas show (to the point where the magic seems to have taken a real back seat). Not as good as the TV shows they did enough years ago that I was a tv (then again, that could be the difference between being a kid and an adult). It's definitely kinda suprising to see. I have to admit, I didn't know at the time that the tigers "first" appearance at the show we were at wasn't necessarily it's first.

I do have to admit that the trick where they make the elephant disappear and then reappear is fairly impressive.

However, as far as shows go, Penn & Teller was a lot better show.
posted by piper28 at 3:28 PM on October 4, 2003

Didn't this happen in an episode of the 'The Simpsons' once?
posted by feelinglistless at 3:39 PM on October 4, 2003

Hell, it is funny. What is the real draw of working with such dangerous beasts? The challenge and the anticipation that someone might get hurt. That's why the tickets sell. A Siegfried and Roy show using only puppies just isn't the same now is it? Or if they only worked with tigers wearing muzzles.

It had to happen eventually, these are powerful wild/feral animals regardless of all their training that don't belong on a stage.
posted by skallas at 3:46 PM on October 4, 2003

Obviously, the tiger took 'don't bite the hand that feeds you' too literally, and went for the neck instead.
posted by riviera at 3:52 PM on October 4, 2003

So it's " absolutely hilarious" when somebody gets attacked by a tiger?
Must have missed the memo.
Carry on.
posted by signal at 4:26 PM on October 4, 2003

Reading recommendation for the thread: Life of pi

Are you suggesting it wasn't actually a tiger but instead Seigfried who did it?
posted by srboisvert at 5:08 PM on October 4, 2003

Well, what the fuck were Siegfried and Roy doing invading Iraq anyway? And, to top it off, getting loaded and taunting the animals at the Baghdad zoo?
posted by stonerose at 6:11 PM on October 4, 2003

...Remember when we used to have pollack jokes? Nobody tells pollack jokes anymore.

You mean polack jokes don't you? Unless you mean this guy, who deserves to have jokes made about him? But it's OK, you poor fool aggie. ;)
posted by jonmc at 7:05 PM on October 4, 2003

You know... I just have to say that I'm appalled that most people on this thread seem to think this is really funny. Why? Regardless of what you think of Sigfried and Roy or whether tigers should or should not be onstage, the fact remains that there is an old man lying in a hospital somewhere in critical condition because a large animal grabbed him by the neck and dragged him around. That's anything BUT funny, people. If this had happened to a little kid at a zoo, would you still be laughing? You probably would, wouldn't you?
posted by Watsonne at 7:24 PM on October 4, 2003

Watsonne, personally I find your apparent lack of a funny bone quite humorous--visiting an zoos in the near future?
posted by billsaysthis at 7:57 PM on October 4, 2003

Of course it's not funny that Roy was mauled by a tiger. I can't say that it's surprising, though. I've never seen their show, but outside of the hotel where they perform, they have a couple of tigers in separate glass enclosures for the tourists to view. (Actually, I don't know if they're still there - I saw the tigers there in 1999.) Both of the tigers appeared to be in poor health - they had runny eyes and noses, their coats were dirty, dull, and unkempt, and they were very listless (perhaps tranquilized). If that is any indication of how their tigers are treated, I am amazed that something like this didn't happen sooner. It's unfortunate, certainly, but if large, predatory animals are treated badly, you can't expect them to behave well.
posted by bedhead at 8:01 PM on October 4, 2003

Watsonne: It's not like Horn was a victim of some random animal attack. Those who work with animals know -- or should know -- the risks involved in doing so. If "an old man is lying in the hospital somewhere because a large animal grabbed him by the neck and dragged him around," it's because he put himself deliberately in harm's way -- however much that was mitigated through training his animals and himself -- for our entertainment. It's his job.

Besides, I'm sure I wasn't the only one feeling just a smidgen of Schadenfreude -- like the little, evil, part of the brain, the part you feel guilty about, that said "Hooray!" when John Denver died.
posted by mcwetboy at 8:27 PM on October 4, 2003

Police Subdue a Tiger in a Harlem Apartment

Threat level: Bengal tiger orange.
posted by stonerose at 8:36 PM on October 4, 2003

I dunno, man, I'm only speaking for myself but I'm kinda sick of both irony and "schadenfreude." Culturally, we've kind of OD'd on both and that ain't good.
posted by jonmc at 9:06 PM on October 4, 2003

Clearly, Roy was rattled and preoccupied by The Onion's expose which came out this week, "Thank You, but That Was Siegfried's Idea."
posted by straight at 9:11 PM on October 4, 2003

What I remember hearing was that Roy - I think it was Roy - often would have tigers backstage before the show and give them a chance to try to maul him, only this time, the tiger started before he was ready and he was caught off guard. Tragedy ensued.

If this had happened to a little kid at a zoo, would you still be laughing?

Hmmm. Good question. The degree to which I would be laughing would probably match up somehow to the number of millions of dollars the little kid had made throughout his life specifically by taunting imprisoned tigers.
posted by soyjoy at 10:14 PM on October 4, 2003

I'm still boggling at the story of one of Siegfried and Roy's tigers eating its mate. A tiger killing another tiger I can understand, a tiger killing its trainer you have to practically expect, but an adult tiger eating another adult tiger? What godawful circumstance could compel a tiger to do such a thing? I wasn't feeling the schadenfreude when I read about this, but now I kinda wonder if maybe he had it coming.

Oh, I also have to second magullo's recommendation of Life of Pi.
posted by furiousthought at 10:34 PM on October 4, 2003

You still have almost a month to put together your 'tiger maimed Roy' holloween costume folks.
posted by HTuttle at 10:53 PM on October 4, 2003

funkbrain:"I've never seen Siegfried and Roy's show, but friend's have told me "They're great!""

Your friend's what?
posted by Fofer at 11:08 PM on October 4, 2003

crazy, that's what.
posted by soyjoy at 11:25 PM on October 4, 2003

>If this had happened to a little kid at a zoo, would you still be laughing?

Bullshit analogy. Err, I mean false analogy.

1. Boy has accident.

2. Man who chose high-risk career finally has the odds catching up to him.

You can debate the morality of finding injury, death, et al funny, but I think its disingenuous to assume that its all just schaeudenfraude when its been very much established that humor is a powerful coping mechanism.
posted by skallas at 11:50 PM on October 4, 2003

So the asshats in this thread are "coping" with something? With what, pray tell?
posted by signal at 11:56 PM on October 4, 2003

My point was actually that it disturbs me greatly that anyone would find this situation humorous. I'm not saying the tiger should be shot, nor am I defending any mistreatment of animals. I don't know how S & R treat the animals, and frankly insofar as my objection is concerned, it's really not terribly relevant. Whether the attack was justified or not, cheering/laughing about an attack like that strikes me as just sick.

Maybe this will spark some changes in how they're treating the tigers, and if they are mistreating them I really hope that's the case. But regardless of how you feel about that, there is a man in a hospital right now and he's not doing so great. Humor may be a coping mechanism for some, but what ever happened to compassion? And where does compassion come in if you're too busy giggling about the latest tragedy?
posted by Watsonne at 12:47 AM on October 5, 2003

funkbrain: "I've never seen Siegfried and Roy's show, but friend's have told me "They're great!""

Fofer: "Your friend's what?"

His friend's tiger Tony, obviously.
posted by atholbrose at 1:58 AM on October 5, 2003

I think that "Siegfried and Roy" are not the original of the two, or at least one of them isn't. One of the originals died of aids-related complications some time ago.
posted by mecran01 at 6:35 AM on October 5, 2003

mecran01, is that really what you 'think'? do you have anything to back that up?
posted by stonerose at 7:10 AM on October 5, 2003

Personally, I think the Tiger was annoyed at Roy's conspicous cod-piece.
posted by DragonBoy at 8:04 AM on October 5, 2003

...Remember when we used to have pollack jokes? Nobody tells pollack jokes anymore.

'cause if you make one, he'll kick your ass!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:19 AM on October 5, 2003

Fofer, sorry; lately I've had a lot of trouble with the misuse of possessives (you damn grammar Nazi).

Atholbrose, thanks for clearing up the misunderstanding.
posted by funkbrain at 11:47 AM on October 5, 2003

Actually I think I meant this guy but I spelled it wrong. *shrug* And speaking of spelling things wrong. It's not schaeudenfraude but schadenfreude which is among other things:
  • a german word meaning pleasure at the misfortune of others
  • defined as "a malicious satisfaction"
  • a german word that requires several english words for translation
  • an english word
  • as natural a human emotion as love
  • as old as the scriptures
  • funny and everything
  • starting it's booking cycle for college tours starting late this fall
  • not my forte; but my "freebie phrase" jumped
  • sponsored by fresh concepts
  • involved in the current media outrage over the scandal afflicting the catholic church
  • the commander of the german powered armor unit on europa
  • especially sweet when it is the supremely confident americans who stumble
  • is natural
  • is passive
  • is in order
  • achieved
  • one of the things we are best at
  • the exact opposite of sympathy
  • an ugly and immature emotion
  • a rotten reason for attacking the prime minister
  • not generally thought of as an admirable character trait
  • too small and mean a word to contain my malicious ecstasy
AND MORE! Now that's funny!

Watsonne: "Humor may be a coping mechanism for some, but what ever happened to compassion?"

Screw compassion. I want my coping mechanism. Tragedies happen every effin' day. As Mel Brooks is fond of saying (and I'm fond of quoting), "Tragedy is I stub my toe. Comedy is you fall in a manhole and die." That is the crux of what makes humor work. Think about it. Is there ever a time when we laugh that it's not at someone else's expense? Humor is schadenfreude, and the opposite of compassion. Simultaneously, schadenfreude brings out compassion in many.

Take the Star Wars Kid. He's "from quebec remember that link to the video of the kid with the cool star wars moves? it turns out he's from quebec" and he's "funnier than shit man" but that video was not intended for worldwide public consumption. Some 'friends' posted it to the web against his knowledge, as a prank. Last I heard the Star Wars Kid was in therapy and his parents were suing the parents of the pranksters. Talk about a lack of sense of humor.

Many people on the Internet laughed at him cuz he's this silly looking fat kid pretending to be Darth Maul for five minutes and it's captured on film for all posterity. An embarrassing private moment made ridiculously public. So yeah - schadenfreude - we laugh at his expense. However at the same time, who here in this thread can honestly say they've never done some embarrassing thing that you didn't want people to know about but they did anyway? How many of us haven't fantasized about our favorite movies? Played let's pretend in a private moment. That Star Wars Kid is a kind of everyman. Schadenfreude brings the contemplative man to a place of compassion, and vice versa. I mean I'd hate to get a cream pie in my face (unless it was a flavor I liked) but I laugh when I see it happen to someone else, and I empathize with that guy cuz it's gooey and messy and won't come out of his clothes. I know how he feels. Humor sets us apart as a species, and brings us together as a people.

Yeah you can say Roy it coming to him; rationalize it that way. There's another old comedy rule of thumb. I think Steve Allen may have said it first: "Tragedy Plus Time Equals Comedy." In other words, it's too soon. Let's wait a few more days. See if Roy's gonna pull through. See if the guys will be able to continue their career as they have been or if they're going to make some changes. Find out the fate of the poor tiger -- I mean it was only acting as is it's nature. I tell ya what by Monday night it'll probably be funny. Wait and see what Jay Leno and David Letterman do with it.
posted by ZachsMind at 1:09 PM on October 5, 2003

Humor may be a coping mechanism for some, but what ever happened to compassion? And where does compassion come in if you're too busy giggling about the latest tragedy?

Plenty will scream "bad analogy" but I have no compassion for slave masters who get their comeuppance from their slaves. Then again, I wouldn't call it tragedy. I'd call it justice.
posted by dobbs at 5:14 PM on October 5, 2003

IRONIC! I hope Alanis is paying attention, this is ironic.
Spoons/knives - not ironic
Rain/wedding day - not ironic
Paid/freeride - not ironic
Animal taunter/mauled - ironic

Pandering to out-dated (Victorian) ideas about nature and it's beastliness helps not the understanding of nature.

It is sad that this one man is confined to a hospital bed, but that is tempered by the knowledge that he has made a living out of confining many, many other animals.
posted by asok at 7:27 AM on October 6, 2003

Animal taunter/ mauled - inevitable
Animal tamer/ mauled - ironic

Being a picky/annoying bastard - priceless
posted by SimStupid at 3:31 PM on October 6, 2003

thanks, simstupid. i didn't understand it. i just thought i was really dumb for a second.

not to be completely tasteless, but is there any video out there of the attack? i bet somebody's paying for it. my guess is ahmad rashad.
posted by mrgrimm at 3:41 PM on October 6, 2003

Apparently Roy was not repalced after dying of aids some years ago. I apologize to the rigorous and meticulous enforcers of truth and post-quality.

"In promoting a flamboyant, surreal show and image, both performers continually deal with bizarre speculation -- much stranger fodder than the Roy-has-AIDS talk. Over the past few years Yuman has been asked if Roy has passed away and been replaced by a double.

"They are two of the most famous live entertainers in the world, and people fabricate stories about them," Yuman said. "Let me ask you this: If you had a Doberman you had owned and trained from 4 weeks old to 4 years old, and you suddenly died and were replaced by a twin brother to care for this animal, what would happen?

"The Doberman would bite your butt off, that's what. There's only one man on Earth who can handle an 800-pound cat and that's Roy Uwe Ludwig Horn."

Roy is unfazed by such speculation.

"Risk, pride, passion and effort are the keys to achieving success. Pain is irrelevant when it comes to achieving your goals," he said. "For me today is tomorrow, and tomorrow is forever."
posted by mecran01 at 11:06 AM on October 7, 2003

Adam Goldman of the Associated Press is reporting that rather than take this opportunity to kick Siegfried and Roy when they're down, many avenues of humor which have poked fun at the larger-than-life magicians have chosen this opportunity to offer instead respect for these two men and what they do.

Howard Stern: "They finally get our respect."

Penn Gilette: "They do stupid tricks with animals. Part of my job is to make jokes about them. Part of their job is to take it. We love our jobs."

Gilette has reportedly visited Roy Horn while he's in the hospital, and he and Teller have actively rewritten their own magic comedy routine to remove any negative reference to Sigfried and Roy.

I can't find a permlink to the AP report.
posted by ZachsMind at 8:03 PM on October 11, 2003

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