When I read the above headline, I was horrified. After all, I make my living telling jokes to lawyers. And while I think all of my jokes are funny, my audiences don't always share in that assessment. However, up until now, the penalty for telling a bad joke has been awkward silence and comments like "He should have kept his day job" on my evaluations. It's scary to think that the penalty could be stiffer.
I can see it now. I'm making my way through an adoring throng of fans shouting out things like, "Great talk!", "You the man!", "I want to have your baby!" You know, the usual stuff. Just then, I'm approached by a police officer.
"Mr. Carter, I have to place you under arrest."
"For that WNBA joke in the beginning of the speech. You're also being charged for that bit about not having sex with the clients."
"You've got to be kidding me? The sex with clients bit is some of my best stuff! It killed!"
"It didn't kill for Agnes Walker," replies the officer, pointing to a woman who appears to have been born in the 30s -- the 1830s. "She's the one who called us in. Now, are you going to come quietly or are we going to have to get rough?"
How do I explain that one to my new cellmates? As they sit around exchanging stories of assault, robbery and general mayhem, I'd be forced to chime in. "You know what I did? I told a bad joke at a legal conference. That's right! And I'll do it again too!" For some reason, I suspect that I'll be doing a lot of sleeping with my eyes open.
Seriously, when did this society get to the point where you can get arrested for telling a bad joke? And why hasn't someone come and put Conan O'Brien on death row? These are questions that we all should ask.