Judge John Hodgman Episode 28: The Battle of the Baton


When Jake listens to his favorite classical music, he finds himself conducting furiously and with abandon. His wife Erica, an accomplished concert musician, says his flamboyant conducting makes a mockery of her life's work, and insists that he correct his style or stop entirely. Must Jake cease his carefree conducting style?

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Evidence (submitted jointly)


jesse's Magic Chortle

I am writing as a loud goofy laugher to commend Bailiff Thorn on his giggle/chortle of glee at the very end of this episode. It has great replay value and as a valued listener I would like to request more of Jesse's helpless child-giggling. With great fondness, Claudia Sherman, Portland, OR


Have to agree with your wife... you have floppy wrists.

In Support of your ruling

The great performer Danny Kaye was often invited to "guest conduct" symphonies to raise money for charities like UNICEF. He claimed to be unable to read a note of music and certainly used a comedic style to entertain. But he also praised by actual conductors like Zubin Mehta who said that his conducting style was very effective.

Danny Kaye's comedy was build on a combination of his effective physical presence and his observation of human behavior and that Jake will probably benefit by watching videos of Mr. Kaye's conducting as it is performed with joy, comedy, and a "very effective style"


Floppy Wrist Cartoon Conducting

I must admit that a part of me wants to tell the cartoon conductor to just enjoy himself, as a conductor am perfectly ok with him poorly conducting, I don't need the competition.

The other part of me is offering a free conducting lesson, if he lives near New York City, or can get here. So If the defendant is up for it, he can contact me at peterconduct@yahoo.com

Peter Szep


Your Honor,
Well judged, as usual.
Musically inclined spouses have suffered for thousands of years at the hands of their musically dysfunctional lesser halves. The agony is realized too late when faced with the agony of listening to out of tune renditions of crappy pop tunes, and horrific nonrhythmic dancing. Oi! Then, to be accused of being a musical snob to boot.
Me thinks poor Erica will slowly be driven insane by the loving but ignorant Jake. -Uncle Velvet

Whadda Maroon! This is how

Whadda Maroon!
This is how its done!

Like water in a toilet, the music flows through him

I can see in Jake's demeanor that his conducting is a conduit through which the music floweth. Must he suppress his very soul to please another? Even more importantly, can this world reach its potential without it?