Judge Quits After Court Rules He Can't Make Jokes

A New Jersey judge who has been moonlighting as a comedian for the past two decades has been forced to abandon his bench after the State Supreme Court ruled this week that his comedy career was "incompatible with the Code of Judicial Conduct."

Vince Sicari, known to fans as Vince August the Joking Judge, says he was "beyond proud" to have been a municipal judge for the past five years, and considered himself lucky "to have done two jobs I loved."

Sicari, 44, began doing comedy in the early '90s and eventually landed himself a gig warming up audiences at Comedy Central as well as a weekly spot at the world-famous Carolines on Broadway.

But it was his recurring roles on ABC's situational hidden camera show What Would You Do? that seemed to weigh most heavily on the judge's decision. ABC News explains:

Back in February when the court heard arguments, the justices questioned whether the public had the ability to separate Sicari's position as a judge from the roles he's played on the hidden-camera show, in which he has portrayed homophobic and racist characters. The judges noted that someone tuning into the show might not know that the characters used in sketches were actors.

Sicari said he was careful throughout his career to dodge lawyer jokes "in an attempt to keep his two careers separate."

But the court ultimately decided unanimously that Sicari could be either a judge or an entertainer, but not both.

"I’m not surprised by the result, but I’m very disappointed," he told the New York Times. "I take great pride in being a judge, and to give that up is disappointing."

On the bright side, Sicari says he is now open to receiving offers for his very own TV judge show.

[photo via AP]