Jails, Judges & Jokes

I enjoy making judges laugh.

I guess that’s a weird thing to say isn’t it.

But when you’ve been homeless and a drug users as long as I have, and have impulse control problems (and are mentally ill. But of course I didn’t realize it back then because I was always high or drunk, literally self-medicating) you find yourself in front of judges often. (Usually after a day or two in a cell)

And if you’re like me and you take absolutely nothing seriously and you like making people crack up in intense situations, you try to make the courtroom laugh.

Not a hard thing to do really.

In a tension filled room, a properly timed and appropriately short, respectful and funny comment said loud enough so that everyone can hear can cause the entire room to explode with laughter.

Okay maybe not easy for everyone but it’s easy for me. I’ve been doing shit like that all my life. But if you can make the judge laugh as well then you’ve done something.

There’s a line, a few lines actually, that you cannot cross. So much so that it’s better to not say anything than to do it wrong.

Firstly, it can’t seem like you’re making a joke. Self-defacing humor is good. An epic exaggeration is good. If you can throw in the fact that you just spent 2 days in a holding cell that’s always good too.

Secondly, it has to come organically meaning you can’t ask to speak just to tell your joke. You have to wait until you have been asked a direct question and it has to seem like it’s sort of the answer to the question.

Thirdly, and very important you cannot laugh or smile at your own joke. Especially if it goes over well. A well placed “I’m sorry” during the laughter is a good idea and a good humble statement right after is also a good practice.

Lastly, speak the hell up. Everyone has to hear you and hear the humbling statement afterward in the silence. You have gotten everyone’s attention. Say something sweet and humble.

Then shut the hell up and lower your eyes. You’ve won over the room & you’ve made the judge actually look at you, quite possibly like you. Don’t spoil that by showing ANY EGO.

Trust me. I’ve been arrested more times than I can count and I have never spent an hour in prison (hell, with my ego and my temper I wouldn’t survive a day).

But after several trips to court, the last guy kind of blew my whole act up and basically said If you come before a judge again (it will be me and) I will send you to prison. I don’t care why.

I think I made him like me too much. So he wanted to help me. And He did really. I haven’t been arrested since. I guess that’s all I needed to hear.

“You’re charming. You’re funny. You’re going to prison.”

“Huh?”

“Because I like you, I’m sending you to prison.”

“Oh.”

You know who else I like to make laugh?

Surgeons.

Right before they’re going to work on me. I like to break the entire operating room up. Somewhere between the gurney & the table I’m doing schtick.

So that just as I’m going under I’m thinking: “Everybody in this room likes me, I’ll be just fine.”

I haven’t died in surgery once.

I guess what I’m trying to say is; If someone holds your life in their hands, make ’em laugh.

– Mel

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