Last week I had the opportunity to proudly fulfill my civic duty by serving Jury Duty for the Superior Court of Los Angeles County. Here’s the timeline of hot, sloppy Justice as it happened.
8:40 A.M. – Waiting to pass through security and enter the Stanley Mosk Courthouse. Things move efficiently.
8:55 A.M. – Arrive at the Jury Assembly Room on the second floor. Lots of available seats. Everyone’s sitting quietly and keeping to themselves.
9:00 A.M. – Court employee is explaining what will happen during the day. She addresses us as “Friends.”
9:03 A.M. – Discover WiFi is not working today.
9:12 A.M. – First group of the day is called up. I am not included. I pull my Nintendo 3DS out of my backpack and discover I’ve received a StreetPass.
10:27 A.M. – Second group of the day is called up. I’m included.
10:35 A.M. – Our group is sent up to a room on the fourth floor. We learn that Cassidy is the sassy one. “Wait for this ol’ gal!” she cries as the elevator doors begin to close. She gives the court employees a hard time, but everyone’s all smiles.
11:00 A.M. – While in the waiting area outside the courtroom we chat amongst ourselves. After a bit, it’s decided: we’re the fun group!
11:20 A.M. – A court worker comes out of the courtroom to tell us this particular trial won’t require a jury today.
11:31 A.M. – We return to the Jury Assembly Room.
11:34 A.M. – As we check back in at the window, a court employee asks if this is our first or second day of jury duty. “First, but it feels like our second!” replies Daniel, the thin man in a leather jacket. Everyone else in the vicinity laughs appreciably. I find this disquieting. How about leaving the comedy to real comedians, okay Daniel?
11:45 A.M. – The rest of the jurors sit quietly, reading or checking their phones. Our group finds some empty seats in the back and starts chatting it up. We find out Lisa is a breast cancer survivor. Everyone claps.
11:55 A.M. – Daniel is talking to Sandra, the business consultant, about America’s trade deal with China. She pulls out her phone to check a message. “Courtroom selfie?” Daniel asks. Sandra laughs. What is happening? That’s not a joke. That’s not a joke at all. I lean over to her and explain as much. She stares at me blankly, like I’m the one who just told a non-joke. Like I’m Daniel or something.
NOON – Lunch break! It’s decided our group will all go together to the cafeteria on the Ninth Floor. Look out cafeteria, here comes trouble!
12:16 P.M. – I grab a chicken salad sandwich and sit down between Gene and Sarah. “What’s the deal with that Daniel guy?” I ask. “I don’t know,” says Sarah with her dumb know-nothing voice, “He seems nice to me.” “And he helped Veronica up the stairs,” adds Gene. Typical non-comedians, not realizing when someone is unfunny. I bet they’ve never even heard of BoJack Horseman.
12:33 P.M. – I run into Daniel in the bathroom, and take the opportunity to strike up a conversation. A chance to get to know him better. “Do you have any professional comedic training? Which open mics do you attend? How many Earwolf podcasts are you subscribed to?” I inquire politely. Turns out he’s a high school economics teacher. He’s never even done a single set at Flappers. Ugh, amateurs.
1:00 P.M. – Lunch is over. Everyone files back into the Jury Assembly Room.
1:14 P.M. – A new round of potential jurors is called up.
1:27 P.M. – Carol, the pregnant woman, returns from the bathroom to see her seat is taken. Daniel gets up and offers his seat, which Carol takes appreciably. “No problem,” says Daniel, “You’re sitting for two.” Carol smiles and there is polite laughter. I break.
1:42 P.M. – With one final cry of “Gazoomba!” I finish a tight set of my best material. Silence. Where is the standing ovation? Instead I am met with faces frozen in indifference. As two sheriff deputies escort me from the room, I catch whispers of conversation. “Derivative.” “Endless.” “Shockingly unfunny.”
My day ended there, but apparently I’ll have to redo my Jury Duty service in the next few weeks. No big deal. If I’m there for two or more days they start paying like $10 per day. A paying gig! My mom will be so excited.
The Higgs Weldon is an online humor magazine with funny articles, cartoons, and one liners. It was founded in the Los Angeles stand-up comedy community, but takes submissions from everybody. Please read and enjoy our jokes!