Chairman of the Brawl
He gave him the chair, all right.


Have a seat. *CRUNCH*

In fiction, chairs make for great bludgeoning objects capable of knocking people unconscious in one strike; enter the Chairman of the Brawl, that one guy who can be counted on grabbing the nearest sitting implement and smashing it across his unfortunate victim's head. If the chair is made of wood, it also immediately splinters into countless pieces to show how devastating the blow is.

If there is a Bar Brawl going on, this is to be expected. Pretty much every single Western featuring a Bar Brawl, ever, has used this one, to the point of being a Dead Horse Trope.

A subtrope of Improvised Weapon and Wrestler in All of Us. Compare Batter Up! and Golf Clubbing.


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    Comic Books 
  • The Ultimates (2015): During the events of Civil War 2, America decides Carol Danvers is going too far, and decides to take action, starting by bludgeoning her with one of the chairs in the Ultimate's meeting room.

  • During the first big fight between the clans in Brave, Young Macguffin is seen using a bench as a weapon.
  • The Great Mouse Detective has some chairs being thrown and smashed in the Bar Brawl scene.
  • In The LEGO Movie, Bad Cop takes down an army of Mecha-Mooks. With a chair. It's the culmination of a Running Gag involving him repeatedly throwing chairs whenever he's in a bad mood - said Mecha Mooks are not the first ones he's taken out this way. In the "Behind the Bricks" video released to promo the film's theatrical release, he's nearly ready to do it to President Business after the latter reveals he actually attempted to kill the other cast members.
  • During the fight at the Zit in Osmosis Jones, a random germ tries to take out Drix by breaking a chair over his back. Drix doesn’t even notice, and the germ quickly backs away in fear.
  • When Shrek is fighting against a LOT of knights, who are under orders to kill him to win a chance to rescue a princess, he ends up in a setup remarkably similar to a wrestling arena. Egged on by a bloodthirsty granny no less, he employs this trope on an unfortunate knight, much to the audience's delight.
    Granny: The chair! Give him the chair!

    Film—Live Action 
  • In Abbott and Costello Comin' Round the Mountain, Devil Dan Winfield threatens to kill Wilbert (Costello), while Wilbert's friend sneaks up behind Winfield with a chair. Wilbert warns Winfield that he'll "get the chair", which Winfield dismisses because every local judge was related to him. Wilbert's friend then hits Winfield with the chair.
  • Averted in The Alligator People. When Paul is fighting Manon to rescue his unconscious wife from being molested, he grabs a chair, but Manon quickly yanks it away from his hands, followed by him socking Paul to the jaw.
  • In Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, Dr. Evil shows up on Jerry Springer (see below) and initiates a fight, doing this during it.
  • The Avengers introduces Black Widow tied to a chair and being 'interrogated' (as in, it's her doing the interrogating, not the other way around). At that point, when she's called to come in, she uses the chair she's tied to to kick copious amounts of ass.
  • During his fight with Bragg in the saloon in Canyon Passage, Logan smashes a chair over Bragg's head
  • Improbable weapon master Jackie Chan is rather famous for his use of seating material.
  • Foxy Brown got her black belt in bar stool!
  • In God of Cookery, Stephen Chow brings out a wooden folding chair and uses it in the middle of a Cooking Duel to beat up his main rival. The Caustic Critic actually comments on his good form and even mentions the advantages of the folding chair as a weapon.
  • When Harry and Ron are playing Wizard's Chess in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Ron's queen takes one of Harry's pieces by smashing it in half with her throne.
    Hermione: That's totally barbaric!
  • I Shot Jesse James: During the scene where John Kelley is involved in a Bar Brawl, one of the con men breaks a chair over his head. However, the chair just shatters and doesn't even faze Kelley.
  • This is James Bond's only protection against someone's Shamu Fu in the Bar Brawl of Licence to Kill. It is notable for failing to block the top of the swordfish.
  • Used in The Mummy (1999) when Brendan Fraser's character stops the cowardly Beni from running away. As he's striding toward Beni, he grabs a wicker chair without missing a beat and throws it at Beni's legs, tripping him.
  • Subverted in Sharkey's Machine (1981). Burt Reynolds's character is attacked by Asian kung-fu hitmen, and does quite well until he picks up a folding deck chair and tries swinging it at them. The Improvised Weapon is too awkward and he misses his blows, giving them a chance to knock him out.
  • Spider-Man uses this in the well-known professional wrestling context, as "Bonesaw" lays out Peter Parker/Spider-Man with an aluminum folding chair during the cage wrestling scene.
  • Top Secret!. While in a underwater Western bar (Don't Ask), the Big Bad breaks a chair over the hero.
  • In "Weird" Al Yankovic's movie, UHF, this happens quite a lot on the revamped Town Talk (as a parody of the Geraldo incident); the audience themselves wield some absurd weaponry, like a giant boulder.
  • One of the Lizzies in The Warriors gets a chair broken on her face when they attack The Warriors.
  • In The World's End Andy (Nick Frost) ends up kicking a good deal of ass by dual-wielding two bar stools, each one mounted on his arm like a Power Fist.

  • The Action Hero's Handbook has an entire chapter on how to take a hit from a chair.
  • Played upon frequently in Discworld, where brawls in the Broken Mended Broken Mended Drum are an organized sport, complete with a point system and named plays.
    • Also mentioned as why people who have not read the Marquis of Fantailler's book about The Noble Art of Fisticuffs tend to win against people who have.note 
  • In the Khaavren Romances, Mica, Tazendra's lackey, wields a bar stool as his Weapon of Choice.
  • John becomes this (adding to it with a Hurricane of Puns) in one of the big fights of John Dies at the End.
  • The Dresden Files
    • Harry Dresden uses a chair in the first book. He lampshades the "splintering wood" part as the chair is a very solid one, and the barman actually has to check that the guy is alive afterwards.
      "In real life, the chair doesn't break when you slug somebody with it, the way it does in the movies. The person you hit is the one who breaks."
    • Thomas does this during Turn Coat to his intolerable cousin, Madeline. He breaks the chair, which is more impressive than it sounds, since the chairs are steel.
  • Not at all comedic in Sienkiewicz Trilogy, where a minor (but very large) character uses an 8 foot solid oak bench in a bar fight. It crosses into Telephone Polearm territory and largely contributes to the other side getting wiped out.
  • Defied in The Man Who Never Missed. The chairs in Khadaji's bar are bolted to the floor to avoid this trope. In fact, he uses the ability to overcome the bolts as a hiring test for his bouncers. Heavyworlder Bork does it one-handed.
  • The Adventure of Charles Augustus Milverton has Doctor Watson of all people resorting to this when the titular master blackmailer goes too far.
    He [Charles] stepped forward, took up his coat, laid his hand on his revolver, and turned to the door. I picked up a chair, but Holmes shook his head and I laid it down again.
  • James Bond
    • Bond uses a chair in From Russia with Love to defend himself from Rosa Klebb's poisoned knitting needles, and pins her to a wall with it. She is then captured by his fellow agents, but not before she manages to land a hit on him with a small blade on her shoe, which is also poisoned.
    • Captain of Largo's yacht in Thunderball became completely loyal to him after Largo smashed a chair over his head for not following his orders.
    • In The Spy Who Loved Me, Vivienne tries to slash Sluggsy with a knife, but he and Horror grab a chair each and overpower her. Things afterward look bad for her, but Bond's sudden arrival saves the day in the long run.
    • In For Special Services, Bond pushes Nena Blofeld into a Death Trap meant for him with a chair.
  • Young Bond
    • In Blood Fever, armed thieves burst into home of Bond's cousin Victor while he and company are dining, and each person present reacts to the situation with their own way; Bond's reaction being that he grabs a chair and charges the assailants with it.
    • Bond and Kelly in Double or Die are found by Deighton and a Mook aboard the ship Empress, and think they won't put up much of a fight, being young teens. They are proven wrong when they are quickly subdued by the two who arm themselves with chairs.
  • The Cinder Spires has the heroes Gwen, Benny, and Master Ferus having a heated discussion with a big burly merchant, whose rooms Gwen "stole" by paying the innkeeper an exuberant amount of money to claim these reserved rooms, when Ferus has a vision of a potential future. He quickly warns Benny and Gwen to arm themselves and slides the heavy wooden chair to the merchant, saying he will need it. Seconds later a monstrous beast breaks into the inn and the merchant uses the chair against the common enemy.
  • The Thinking Machine: In "The Motor Boat", when the killer manages to get the better of Detective Mallory through use of some jujitsu tricks, Hatch ends the fight by the simple expedient of breaking a chair over the killer's head.
  • After Dox uses the Chairman of the Brawl trope twice in Redemption Games (both times because he doesn't have a gun on him), John Rain quips that he should market a Chair-fung-do style.

     Live Action Television  
  • Adam Adamant Lives!: In "Death By Appointment Only", Adam uses a chair to fend off a villain who has stolen his Sword Cane.
  • In American Horror Story: Murder House Vivien fights off attackers while tied to a chair in Home Invasion.
  • Angel. A spell has made Angel all touchy-feely. Confronted by shotgun-toting Mafia boss Little Tony, instead of vamping out and attacking, Angel pulls out a chair and invites Tony to discuss his issues. Then Angel hits Tony across the face with it.
  • 1960s Batman series episode "That Darn Catwoman". After Robin is placed under Catwoman's control, he breaks a chair over Batman's head while fighting him. Afterwards, Robin shatters what is left of the (prop) chair with his bare hands.
  • CSI: NY: In "White Gold", Flack and Lovato attempt to arrest a suspect in a bar. The suspect knocks Flack down and then uses a bar stool to knock Lovato's gun out of her hand and knock her down. Flack puts a gun to his head before he can finish her off.
  • Doctor Who:
    • In "City of Death", policeman Duggan grabs a chair with the intent of fighting off some guards and escaping, but the Doctor stops him: "For heaven's sake, that's a Louis Quinze!"
    • "Vincent and the Doctor": At one point, Vincent van Gogh fends off the Monster of the Week with his painting chair.
  • Fast Forward. A spoof of Kung Fu has a cowboy trying to break a chair during the requisite Bar Brawl, only he can't break it as he's moving the chair in Slow Motion; he then reverts to normal speed to build up enough force to break the chair.
  • Firefly: Malcolm Reynolds on occasion persuades someone with a seat to the face, as in the opening bar fight during "Shindig".
  • Inspector George Gently: The Victim of the Week in "Gently Among Friends" is done in by a chair to the head, aided by some judicious kicking once he is down on the ground.
    • In the earlier episode "Gently Underground", Bacchus hits a suspect over the back with a chair when it appears that he's about to attack a floored Gently. It turns out to be a No-Sell, but luckily the suspect is just horrified that he hit a cop.
  • Naturally tends to happen during fights on Jerry Springer; and over on its cousin The Steve Wilkos Show, Steve got so pissed off once he threw a chair into a wall so hard it stayed embedded in the wall.
  • Monty Python's Flying Circus sketch "Scott of the Sahara". Lieutenant Scott faces off against a lion wielding a chair, who breaks it over Scott's back.
  • Nikita: In "Pilot", Nikita uses a chair a shield to block the bullets fired y the bodyguard of her targets, and then to knock the man down.
  • In the Red Dwarf episode "Backwards", during the reverse bar-brawl, Cat hits someone with a reverse.
  • The Warehouse 13 episode "Queen for a Day" features a fight at the wedding rehearsal of Pete's ex-wife and her fiancée. After all the drama and the wedding, Pete admits he was impressed by the new husband's use of a chair in the fight, and the husband jokingly says that one of the ribbons on his chest is for "distinguished valor in combat with rental furniture".

     Professional Wrestling  
  • Smacking people with aluminum folding chairs (when the referee isn't looking, of course) is a staple of professional wrestling, though in general it's considered to be a cheap move and thus used by Heel types. They're typically referred to by the announcers as being steel chairs to make getting hit by one seem more devastating.
    • WWE recently banned headshots with chairs in reaction to the countless concussion injuries caused by them.
    • Another use of the folding chairs is for a wrestler to place a fallen opponent's leg inside and jump on the chair to fold it flat, (kayfabe) breaking their ankle and thus giving the other wrestler a storyline excuse to be out of the ring for a while, either to recover from a real injury incurred elsewhere or to do something like star in a movie.
    • One thing to note is that despite being made from metal (steel or otherwise), folding chairs are generally: lightweight, thin, and designed to fold and unfold easily. The net result is that if used properly (as in, hitting with the broad side of the chair rather than any of the corners), the folding chairs have a lot more give than you might expect, making them safer to hit someone with than many solid objects might be. Which doesn't mean that getting smacked by a folding chair doesn't hurt, just that it doesn't hurt as much as it looks like it does.
  • Subverted by the late Eddie Guerrero, who would bring chairs into the ring behind the ref's back, but instead of using it on his opponent, he would smack the mat with it, toss it to his opponent, and pull a Wounded Gazelle Gambit when the ref turned back around. This required Not Cheating Unless You Get Caught to be ignored, as the ref would disqualify the opponent despite not actually seeing the alleged chair shot. Though just as often, Eddie would use the distraction of the referee taking the chair away from his opponent to hit them with a low blow and pin them.
  • La Parka, luchador extraordinaire, known during his WCW tenure as the Chairman of WCW. Simply put, he was associated with chairs in a way few wrestlers will ever be.
  • Edge and Christian perfected the double chair head sandwich know as the Con-Chair-To.
    • After splitting from Edge, Christian began doing the one-man-Con-Chair-To, where he'd put one chair flat on the ring, put the opponent's head on it, and then hit him on the head with another chair.
  • In a variation, Raven was known for his signature move of setting up a folding chair in the middle of the ring, and doing a drop toe-hold to smash his opponent's face into it.
  • Rob Van Dam was famous for his use of chairs with two of his finishing moves: the Van Daminator was a spinning thrust kick to the face, typically after tossing a chair the opponent would inevitably catch right in front of their face; the Van Terminator consisted of sitting an opponent in the corner, placing a chair (or collapsible garbage can) in front of their chest and face, then climbing to an adjacent corner and performing a missile drop kick. Not that the added weaponry was necessary to make that impressive, as that's a good fifteen feet he jumps, plus the height difference, and physics alone makes it devastating.
  • First step of Sabu's triple jump moonsault. Set up the chair, jump on it, jump to the top rope, moonsault off. If he can make all three stops.
  • FMW's first son Masato Tanaka is known for no-selling sick chair shots to the head. Western audiences can see demonstrations in his matches with Mike Awesome at ECW Heat Wave '98 and WWE One Night Only '05.

    Video Games 
  • Lisianthus from SHUFFLE! often has to do this to her father in order to make him stop whatever inappropriate action he is doing at the current time.
  • In a Bar Brawl cutscene from Dragon Quest VIII, Yangus attempts to hurl a chair at a brawny troublemaker picking fights. Someone's still sitting in it.
  • In Persona 4, a folding chair is one of Kanji's more memorable weapons. Another is a school desk. It's also his weapon in Persona 4: Arena.
  • In the Super Smash Bros. series, Mr. Game and Watch uses a chair for his forward tilt attack. His Limited Animation means he doesn't so much swing it as hold it out in front of himself like a shield, but it'll still send anyone who touches it flying.
  • Used oddly with the Gravity Gun in Half-Life 2. It lets you pick up anything that isn't nailed down or too heavy and lob it at the enemy at high speed. Among the items you can use are various items of furniture, including chairs and benches.
  • The Veteran of Super Monday Night Combat uses a spike-covered stool as his melee weapon. His grapple consists of setting down the stool and bashing his victim into it a few times.
  • A blink and you miss it moment at the start of Batman: Arkham City while Bruce Wayne is being transferred into Arkham City, you can turn and see Black Mask defending himself with a chair against some TYGER guards to no avail.
  • DLC character Beowulf of Skullgirls is a wrestler who wields a chair by the name of "The Hurting", a reference to his namesake's sword Hrunting. Yeah, that's right: his chair is so respected and famous that it has its own name.
  • Spend enough time in Dead Rising and you'll eventually find yourself having to grab a chair so you can bludgeon zombies with it, usually to conserve more useful and powerful weapons. Pick up a bench and you can shove an entire crowd into a tangled pile of moaning undead bodies. Dead Rising 2 and 3 provide the unique circumstance of allowing players to beat a person to death with a wheelchair.
  • For reasons unknown, Liu Shan was given a bench as his weapon of choice in Dynasty Warriors 8: Empires. While the series is full of Improbable Weapon Users, the bench is certainly one of the more surreal entries seen thus far.
  • Referenced in the Choice of Games title Slammed!. Choosing to give an autograph to a kid results in you getting criticized for breaking kayfabe. Your character will archly respond with "Maybe I should have hit her with a chair."

  • Such a fight happens in Girl Genius, during the regularly scheduled bar brawl at the Jager tavern. To keep things friendly, there's a "No weapons" policy, but:
    [Higgs hits a Jagermonster with a chair. Zeetha stares at him.]
    Higgs: ...what?
    Zeetha: You just said: "No weapons."
    Higgs: That wasn't a weapon, that was a chair.
    • Which leads to:
      Jagermonster: Ow!
      Zeetha: Ha! That's not a weapon, that's a chair!
      Jagermonster: Aie!
      Zeetha: Tankard! Not a weapon!
      Jagermonster: Urg!
      Zeetha: That's not a weapon! That's a table!
  • In Volume 5 of Mayonaka Densha, Hatsune uses a chair to fend off Constance's would be rapist.
  • The main protagonist in Great from Kiwis By Beat uses a bar stool like a lethal weapon. He used it once when drunk in self-defense and managed to take out tens of gang ridden streets with it.
  • Insecticomics:
    • Used by the Predacons after they start a wrestling tournament. Silverbolt gets whacked on the head by Jetstorm, then starts thinking that he's Jetstorm, so Blackarachnia and Jetstorm are forced to hit him repeatedly in an attempt to get him back to normal.
    • After getting fed up while dealing with a teenager who only speaks in L33t L1ng0, a Grammar Nazi finally tells her that if she doesn't start speaking correctly she'll be hit with a chair.
  • Minmax from Goblins traded his ability to wink for Weapon Proficiency: Furniture. He fights with a table in that particular scene though.

    Western Animation 
  • Inverted in The Boondocks where just throwing a chair is believed to be the actual cause of the brawl in the first place. It doesn't even need to hit anybody, throwing a chair into a crowd just spontaneously starts a riot.
    • Though Riley brandishes a footstool against Huey on one occasion.
  • When The Simpsons took a vacation in Japan, Bart & Homer went to a sumo wrestling event; Homer ended up in the ring, Bart got the tag, and hit the sumo wrestler with a folding chair. The crowd booed them.
  • Gravity Falls
    • Wwhen Giffany takes over some animatronics in "Soos and the Real Girl", Soos' date Melody clobbers one with a chair before being overwhelmed.
    • Done again in Dungeons, Dungeons, and More Dungeons when Grenda uses a fucking armchair to beat the living crap out of an ogre.
  • In the Justice League episode "Maid of Honor", Batman hits Vandal Savage in the face with an office chair.
    Batman: You're in my way. (slam)

    Real Life 
  • Anyone who has been involved in a bar fight knows that one's trusty seat is a useful tool to kick some serious ass.
  • There is actually a Chinese martial art based around using benches to fight your way out of taverns. Considering that 99% of all taverns/gambling den/restaurants at that time had big heavy pieces of sitting furniture readily available under...under hand, this is less of an out-from-under-the-ass-pull than pure genre savviness. Check out the demonstrations here.
  • The December 2011 Mall of America brawl involved quite a few thrown chairs.
  • This once happened in a brawl in the Austro-Hungarian Reichsrat sometime around 1900 (an altogether too common occurrence) while Mark Twain was visiting:
    "One night, while the customary pandemonium was crashing and thundering along at its best, a fight broke out. It was a surging, struggling, shoulder-to-shoulder scramble. A great many blows were struck. Twice [Pan-German party leader and racist Georg, Ritter von] Schonerer lifted one of the heavy ministerial fauteuils—some say with one hand—and threatened members of the Majority with it, but it was wrenched away from him; a member hammered [German Radical party leader and racist Karl Hermann] Wolf over the head with the President's bell, and another member choked him; a professor was flung down and belabored with fists and choked; he held up an open penknife as a defense against the blows; it was snatched from him and flung to a distance; it hit a peaceful Christian Socialist who wasn't doing anything, and brought blood from his hand."
  • Self-proclaimed King of the Youtube Walkthrough TheRadBrad has done this in ANY game whenever he finds something akin a a chair.
    [Finds a chair during a game]
    The Rad Brad: FUCK YOU, CHAIR!... YEEEAAAHH...!
    ** He even has Professional Chair Thrower in his Channel Description.
  • Though details surrounding this altercation aren't clear, what is clear is that people are throwing and swinging a lot of folding chairs around...including one lady who ups the ante by throwing a folding table. She also catches a thrown chair with one hand.
  • A Turkish football match descended into rather bizarre violence when angry supporters of both teams stormed the field and attacked each other with plastic chairs after a red card was called. It got so bad that riot police were called in. In the meantime, two men took their chairs out to one of the goal nets, sat down, and pointed and laughed at the proceedings.