TRANSCRIPT Judge John Hodgman: Live from Toronto at the Danforth Music Hall 2019

Podcast: Judge John Hodgman

Episode number: 442

Transcript

sound effect

[Three gavel bangs.]

john hodgman

Hello, it's me, Judge John Hodgman. Don't freak out! I know Jesse normally does the introductions, but I'm doing it today. I'm here to tell you: Welcome to the Judge John Hodgman podcast. This, you should know, is a live episode that we recorded in Toronto, Canada at the Danforth Music Hall on November 6th! We had a great time, and now you're about to as well. Here comes the podcast.

sound effect

[Three gavel bangs.]

jesse thorn

Toronto, Ontario, Canada, you've come to us desperate for justice. And we're here at the Danforth Music Hall to deliver it! [Crowd cheers and applauds.] Let's bring out our first set of litigants. Please welcome Rebecca and Meg and Jared and Greg! [More cheering and applause.] Tonight's case: "LARPe Diem." [Scattered laughter.] Rebecca and Meg file suit against Jared and Greg. They're all part of a friend group that enjoys playing the spaceship bridge simulator game Artemis.

audience member

Woo!

jesse

Everyone has a great time—[laughs]. Don't "woo" that! [Audience laughs.] Everyone has a great time playing this game on designated Artemis nights. But recently, Jared and Greg have extended the roleplaying outside the game. [Scattered laughter.] Rebecca and Meg believe the roleplaying has become disruptive, overpowering non–game night social events, and would like the roleplaying to be regulated. Jared and Greg enjoy roleplaying, and don't want to stop. Who's right? Who's wrong? Only one can decide! Please metaphorically rise as Judge John Hodgman enters the courtroom and delivers an obscure cultural reference.

john

Ohhh, it's Jooohn Hodgman for the double! Come right up here! That was Juuudge John Hodgman for the double. Alright. Contestants, here's how it's gonna work. I'm gonna read out the clue. I, Judge John Hodgman, am gonna fill it out in silence. You say nothing until I come to you, alright? So you're gonna break up into teams. You're gonna pick up the word that follows this word, and whoever guesses the same thing as me automatically wins the case. How's that sound? Fun? Good? Okay, ready? You're gonna break up into teams. Okay, so I'm gonna say the—I'm gonna say the clue: plaid... blank. Plaid "blank." Whichever team matches Judge John Hodgman's answer wins the case automatically. I'll give you a few minutes to think it out. [He sings a wordless song for a few seconds. Scattered audience laughter.] Tiiime's up! Alright! Swear them in, Bailiff Jesse Thorn! We'll get back to your answers in a moment!

jesse

Rebecca, Meg, Jared, and Greg, please rise and raise your right hands. Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God or whatever?

meg

Yes.

crosstalk

Rebecca and Jared: Yes.

greg

Yes.

jesse

Do you swear to abide by Judge John Hodgman's ruling, despite the fact that he is not an international recording star? [The litigants and the audience laugh.]

rebecca

Yeah.

meg

Yes.

jared

Yes.

greg

Yes.

jesse

Judge Hodgman, you may proceed.

john

[Stifling laughter] Alright, you may be seated. For an immediate summary judgment in one of yours' favors... So we have more litigants than usual here. We have Rebecca and Meg on one side of the case. And Jared and Greg on the other side. And when I came into this courtroom, I asked you to play a little game with me. Could you match the next word that I would have guessed coming after plaid? Jared and Greg, what did you guess?

greg

Pajamas?

john

Plaid pajamas! Hm, interesting. And Rebecca and Meg, what would you guess?

rebecca

Pants.

john

Plaid pants! Oh, I'm so sorry. All guesses are wrong! [Scattered audience laughter.] The correct answer, the one that matches mine anyway, was "plaid Canadian Match Game." Plaid Canadian Match Game. [More audience laughter.] Wh—[stifles laughter]. Which is a game show that I was on here in Toronto in 2013. [Multiple people laugh on stage as well as in the audience.] Filmed five episodes of Canadian Match Game in one crazy day! I had to change clothes five times, [stifles laughter] and by the last day of the show they were handing us Styrofoam cups full of vodka. [Audience and someone on stage laughs.] That's Canadian television for you. I—

jesse

John, I thought you said this was supposed to be an obscure cultural reference! [Audience laughs.]

john

[Laughs.] I know! I'm surprised that you didn't get it. But here we are anyway! We have to hear your case. So! Who will speak for team Rebecca and Meg?

crosstalk

Rebecca: Uh, I can speak for team— John: Okay. Are you Rebecca or Meg? Rebecca: I am Rebecca.

john

You are—okay. Meg, you may chime in if you need to, of course. And who will speak for Jared and Greg?

jared

I, Jared, will speak for the two of us.

john

Alright. And who comes to seek justice before this court?

rebecca

So, Meg and I submitted this case.

john

Alright. Rebecca, what is the issue here?

rebecca

So as Jesse mentioned, we play this game called Artemis, which is a spaceship bridge simulator.

john

Yes. It received one "woo" in the audience. [Audience and some of the litigants laugh. There are also some more "woo!"s from the audience.]

jesse

One appropriately lonely woo. [More laughter.]

john

Right.

jesse

Because space is lonely.

john

For the vast majority of the audience here, what is Artemis exactly? What is a space bridge simulator game?

rebecca

So essentially, it lets you pretend you are on Star Trek or any other show of that ilk.

john

Sure.

rebecca

So there's a captain role and a helm and engineering, and comms, and weapons.

john

Yeah. There's only one show of that ilk: Star Trek. [Rebecca and the audience laugh.]

rebecca

Yeah. [Laughs.] So you—

john

So this is a way to steal Star Trek's IP—

jesse

John!

john

What?

jesse

Star Trek: The Next Generation. [Rebecca and the audience laugh.]

john

I know, but I'm—the point is y'all stand around and pretend to be on a Star Trek bridge?

rebecca

Yeah!

jesse

Oh, John—

john

But you're not—

jesse

John. Some episodes of Deep Space Nine when they're in a spaceship instead of on the space station. [Scattered laughter and cheers from the audience. Rebecca laughs.] Like, if they went into a spaceship... from the space station—

john

That's right.

jesse

—Deep Space 9.

john

Excuse me. You're absolutely right.

jesse

Yeah. [More audience laughter.]

john

There are starship bridges on Star Trek, Star Trek: The Next Generation, sometimes on Deep Space Nine.

audience member

Voyager!

rebecca

Voyager. [Audience and some of the litigants laugh.]

john

Let the record show for the listener at home that someone in the audience yelled out Voyager before Jesse Thorn could do it, and I'm so grateful to them. [More laughter in the audience and on stage.]

jesse

Mm. I—John?

john

Yes.

jesse

The movie Master and Commander, but with a boat. That's a boat instead of a spaceship. [More audience laughter.] But they have many of the similar roles.

john

Sure. I understand.

jesse

That has Russell Crowe.

john

Right. [More audience laughter.] Let's now end this. [Audience and some on-stage laughter.] So "Artemis" is the name of the ship?

rebecca

Yes. You could name it something else. The whole game is called Artemis.

john

Okay.

rebecca

I think that's the idea.

john

And this is basically just a way for this company to steal Star Trek IP and make money off of nerds.

rebecca

Yeah.

john

I see! Cool! [Rebecca laughs.] And so the four of you play together, but that's not a full crew, is it?

rebecca

No. So I think a full crew is six people.

john

Okay.

rebecca

But sometimes we can get multiple ships going in one house.

john

[Dismayed] Ooh. [Rebecca and the audience laugh.] But it's all simulated, it's all on networked computers?

crosstalk

Rebecca: Yeah. John: I see. Rebecca: So we'll set up a little LAN party situation.

john

Okay, I gotcha. And what—and Rebecca, what is your typical position on the bridge?

rebecca

Typically I like to play comms. [Rebecca responds affirmatively a couple times as John speaks.]

john

Comms. Right, like you have a little thing in your ear and you're like—

rebecca

I have a mic.

john

They're hailing, and—okay.

rebecca

Yeah.

john

And why do you like that position so much?

rebecca

I get to talk trash to the other ships, and... [Light audience laughter.]

john

[Amused] Okay!

rebecca

Also it is less complicated than the other roles. [She and the audience laugh.]

john

When you're talking trash to the other ships, are you talking trash to simulated ships in the—or other people that are playing all around the world?

rebecca

Our other friends who are playing with us in the same building.

john

In the same building.

rebecca

Mm-hm.

john

You all live in a weird building together?

crosstalk

[Audience and Rebecca laugh.] Rebecca: Oh, I wish! John: 'Cause this feels like a science fiction movie now. [Audience and Rebecca laugh.]

rebecca

We don't. But that would be great. [She and audience laugh.]

john

Okay.

jesse

You just live in a home that has multiple rooms dedicated to pretending to be spaceships? [Audience laughs.]

rebecca

More or less, yeah.

john

Do—I know that you sent in some evidence, but just to give everyone in the room a visual, can we see a picture of the gang at play?

rebecca

That's us!

john

Alright! There we go. So everyone is saluting as though you are part of some weird space military. [Audience laughs.] You're organized around a big TV screen which is showing you fake space. And you each have your own laptops, which are your—presumably your bridge stations that are showing you readouts. So, Rebecca.

rebecca

Mm-hm.

john

You are comms. Meg, what position do you usually take?

meg

Weapons.

john

Weapons, okay. Awesome. How come you like that one?

meg

Simpler role, but also I get to nuke people, which is fun. [She and audience laugh.]

john

Fair enough. Oh, I'm sorry—Jared?

jared

Jared.

crosstalk

John & Jared: Yeah.

john

Which position do you play?

jared

I usually play science.

john

You play science officer, okay. That's... fascinating. [Jared and audience laugh.] And—

jesse

That's a little on the nose, Jared. [More laughter in the audience and on stage.]

john

Greg, that's you in the foreground here. What role do you usually play?

greg

In this case, I was captain of the ship. [Quiet litigant laughter.]

john

Captain. Is that typically your role?

greg

I... enjoy it. Yeah. [Jesse and the audience laugh.]

john

Okay. Very good. I can tell you enjoy it, because it seems to me like you're wearing a costume in this photograph. [Some more audience laughter.] Is that correct?

greg

I did... construct a costume that night, yes. [More audience laughter.]

john

Is there more evidence to this? [Brief pause.] There we are. [Bigger swell of audience laughter and some on stage. Scattered cheers and applause in the audience.]

jesse

For the at-home listener, what we're looking at here is a photograph of a wall-mounted microwave... [Audience and some of the litigants laugh.] ...[stifling laughter] with a man—with a man's peacocking blocking our view. [More laughter.]

john

Captain Greg is wearing a uniform I believe of his own making? Did you, uh, sew it yourself?

greg

Uh, my spouse taped on the construction paper. [Audience laughs. Someone asks a question that's lost under the noise.]

john

Your spouse taped on the construction paper. And there's a little insignia that is a rip-off of the Star Trek insignia.

greg

[Laughs.] Yeah.

john

What federation of planets are you captaining in?

greg

Uh, you know, we never quite figured that out. [Audience laughter.]

john

Okay! I just wanted to know how deep this cosplay and this fantasy goes. [More laughter.]

jesse

Have you thought about like, having a committee meeting? That's what—if I was gonna start a federation of planets, I'd figure out which planets first. [Audience laughter.] [Laughing] And then go from there.

john

So—[stifles laughter] but this—

jesse

'Cause you could then answer the question "Am I in your federation of planets?"

john

Yeah.

jesse

From people from different planets. [Scattered laughter.]

john

That's a good point! So this costume is to some degree part of the dispute. Would that be correct, Rebecca?

rebecca

So we like roleplaying in the spirit of the game, or in the moment of the game. We'll—something that's not technically part of the game that we'll do is assign ranks. So we'll be lieutenant or sergeant and...

john

Oh, that's not part of the regular game?

rebecca

No, we added that in.

john

Oh, that's interesting. [Rebecca laughs.] This is a big part of the Star Trek world.

rebecca

Yeah!

john

Right?

crosstalk

Rebecca: Yeah. So we wanted to lean in— John: You wanted to get closer to that IP that you were ripping off.

rebecca

[Laughing] Exactly. [Audience also laughs.]

john

Do you have different na—do you make up characters?

crosstalk

Rebecca: Well, I think we like to do call signs, so I might— John: [Laughing] Oh, okay, sure. Thank you. [Rebecca and the audience laugh.] Rebecca: I think at one point I was Nacho, and I don't remember what their names were. John: And your rank?

rebecca

I think I—well, I started that night as a lieutenant, and then I kinda rose in the ranks as the night went on.

john

As the night went on!

crosstalk

John: You got field promotions? Jesse: [Laughing] Wait, did you murder the other people? [Audience laughs.]

rebecca

It's kinda part of this. [Laughs.]

john

What was the highest you ended up ranking?

rebecca

Well, apparently I was at the very end of the night promoted to captain.

john

Oh! Apparent Captain Nacho.

rebecca

Apparently.

john

That is gonna be easier for me to remember than Rebecca. [Audience and some of the litigants laugh.]

crosstalk

Rebecca: That's fair. John: I apologize.

john

Okay, Apparent Captain Nacho, I got you. So Apparent Captain Nacho, what is the dispute though? I don't understand. You all seem to be friends, you're all having fun. And yet here you are in front of me, in space court. [Rebecca and the audience laugh.]

rebecca

So the problem is when the game ends, some people... Greg and Jared and some of our other friends as well, will continue to roleplay in their ranks and characters after the game has ended. And even on—

john

Let me guess, are they also guys?

rebecca

Yes. [Large swell of audience laughter and some applause. Some on-stage laughter as well.]

john

Jared, what's your call sign?

jared

Uh—

john

Rank and call sign, soldier! [Scattered audience and on-stage laughter.]

jared

It was during a game when I was playing comms instead of my usual science, and my call sign was Synapse.

john

Synapse. What was your alien species? [A couple people laugh on stage and in the audience.]

jared

I was human. [Rebecca or Meg laughs.]

john

Do you ever play a non—do people play non-humans in this?

jared

Not yet, but we should get into that!

jesse

A Romulon— [Audience laughs.] A Klingorp.

john

[Laughs.] Yeah. A Vulcane. [Audience and some of the litigants laugh.] 'Cause you're stealing everything else! You might as well steal—I'm not—look. I'm not accusing anybody of stealing anything. Except for Artemis, which is stealing a whole idea.

rebecca

Yeah. [She and audience laugh.]

john

But it's a fun game, and everyone's having fun! No harm done. Good. So—except the harm that is being done by the guys you are playing with who are still going by their ranks in real life.

rebecca

Yes. So they will—on one particular night they continued to debate about something that had happened in the game in their characters for a long time after the game had ended and the rest of us were hanging out and having a nice time.

john

Were Synapse and Captain Greg arguing about this issue personally?

rebecca

Yes.

john

Alright. Synapse, what was the argument about?

jared

...There've been a couple. [Jesse, Meg or Rebecca, and the audience laugh.]

john

Pick three. [More laughter in the audience and on stage.] Or one.

jared

Sooo, at one point we were on vacation, and during one of our previous games I had been demoted and temporarily, uh—

john

Relieved of duties.

jared

Relieved of duty.

john

And put into the brig. [Jared and some of the audience laugh.] What did you do wrong, Mr. Synapse?

jared

I—I was... insubordinate. [The audience and Meg or Rebecca laugh.]

john

And who demoted you?

jared

Captain Greg. [More laughter.]

john

Captain Greg! [Laughing] This is becoming— [Swell of audience and on-stage laughter.] Captain Greg! Can you tell me the circumstances of Mr. Synapse's demotion? Don't wait for the translation! [Some more audience laughter as Greg says nothing.] I can see why you're a leader. [Raucous laughter in the audience and on stage. Someone is clapping.]

jesse

Truly Patton-esque. [Laughs.]

john

Silent. Strong. Unanswering. Unsure. [More laughter.] Shy. [Laughs.]

greg

Uh...

john

What were the circumstances Mr. Synapse's demotion, sir?!

greg

The original incident started with my science officer Jared plotting a jump out of a nebula. [Scattered but heartfelt audience laughter.] And one—

john

Excuse me. [More laughter.] Please hold your standing ovation for the end of the sentence. [More laughter.] I need to hear this. [More laughter.]

greg

When we made the jump, we found ourself in the wrong area. And there was some commotion among my crew over who made the mistake, science or helm, because they need to work together to plot a course. And—

john

Go on. [Light audience laughter.]

greg

At that point I—you know, I couldn't have that disagreement, and I just said like, "We should drop it." But I—

john

So science and helm were bickering.

greg

Yes. [Greg again responds affirmatively as John continues.]

john

Over who messed up and brought you into the Neutral Zone or whatever. So you had to resolve this. You had to—for morale of the crew, you had to cut this out.

greg

Yes.

john

And so how did you do it?

greg

So—

john

I'm sure you gave them an extremely stern talking-to. [Some audience and on-stage laughter.]

greg

Well, I didn't have time to at the moment. It was—we were in the middle of combat, so I had to— [John and the audience laugh.] I had to relieve Jared of duty. Synapse. Uh— [More audience laughter.] He resisted this, so I also had to demote him, and... [More laughter and a cheer.] ...at that point, promote Rebecca to replace him as my first officer.

john

That is how Nacho became number one?

greg

Yes. Correct.

john

Wow! This is—

jesse

For the at-home listener, Rebecca is nodding proudly. [Jesse, Rebecca, and the audience laugh.]

john

Yeah. Rebecca, obviously you don't disagree with your captain's assessment of the situation and how he handled it.

rebecca

No, that all was fine for me. Um... [She and the audience laugh.] It was more so what all—what has happened since then.

john

So what has happened since then?

rebecca

So they have had a tendency of continuing to have power struggles about their rank and role outside of the game. And—

john

They have no rank or role outside of the game.

rebecca

That's right. [She and the audience laugh.]

john

What form does their conflict take? Outside of the game.

rebecca

So one particular incident was when we were all on vacation together. I believe Greg and my husband Dave were trying to force Jared to pay fealty—Jared was—[laughs] to... I think it was a large thermos? [Audience laughs.] That they wanted him to—

john

You were on vacation together!

rebecca

Yes. [More light audience laughter.]

john

Where were you? Lost in paradise? [She and some of the audience laugh.] Where were you on vacation?

rebecca

The Dominican Republic.

john

The Dominican Republic. And you could not leave Artemis behind.

rebecca

Some people couldn't.

john

Okay. [Some audience laughter.] So who was being told to pay fealty to a thermos?

rebecca

[Laughs.] So Jared was being told, and was extremely distressed about this. You know.

john

Being told by whom?

rebecca

Greg and—[laughs].

john

Ope! Captain Greg says "no, not me." [Rebecca and a few audience members laugh.]

greg

Our admiral, David, um— [Audience laughs.]

jesse

Oh ho ho! [Laughing] Your Honor, he was simply following orders! [More audience laughter.]

john

Where is Admiral David now?

greg

Oh, he's out there. [More laughter.]

john

Captain Greg. Is it true that you and Admiral David were forcing, or demanding, that Mr. Synapse pay tribute to a thermos? When you're supposed to be having a good time on vacation with other humans?

greg

I encouraged him to follow the chain of command, yeah. [Audience and John laugh. Someone claps.]

john

And what was the purpose of the fealty-paying to the thermos exercise? [Beat.]

greg

I—I didn't ask. I just— [Raucous audience laughter and some on stage.]

john

You know, Captain Greg—[breaks off, laughing]. [Meg or Rebecca laughs.] At first I thought you were just a shy, nervous young man. But now I'm beginning to believe you may be the most dangerous person on Earth. [Audience and litigant laughter.] Mr. Synapse, can you explain why you were being asked to pay fealty to a thermos, and how—what form that takes? What is the ritual of thermos fealty? [Scattered audience laughter.]

jared

Admiral David had been going through all of our friends, having them pay fealty to this thermos. Which means... kiss it. [The audience and someone on stage laughs.]

john

Go on. [Laughter swells slightly.]

jesse

"Thermos" means like, "drink container," right? [More laughter.]

jared

Yes.

john

Yes, is there—is there an Artemis/Canadian other meaning of "thermos"?

jared

It was just a large, impressive thermos. [More laughter.]

jesse

[Stifling laughter] But again, "thermos" means "drink container" in Canada, right? Doesn't mean anything weird, right? [Laughter continues for a couple seconds.]

john

Did you say impressive or oppressive thermos? [Litigant and audience laughter.] Admiral Dave was asking everyone in the group to kiss the thermos to prove what?

crosstalk

Jared: I'm— John: Their loyalty?

jared

Maybe part of his ego? I'm not sure. [Light laughter from the audience and someone on stage.] The point is that—

john

Admiral Dave's out there going "You can't handle the truth!" [Jared and the audience laugh.]

jared

The point is that I noted that it is a corruption of the chain of command that they kept telling me I had to pay fealty to the thermos—

john

THAT'S NOT THE PROBLEM HERE! [Audience laughs, Jared stifles laughter.]

jared

—follow the chain of command, and I said, "First of all, it's a corrupt chain of command. Second of all, we are on leave right now." [Audience and Meg or Rebecca laugh.]

john

The timeframe—you're pointing at a photo—a haunting photo of a man in a Christ figure position... [Audience and some on-stage laughter.] ...surrounded by a darkened field and a plane of fire. What is going on? [More laughter.]

jared

So we were in the Dominican Republic.

john

Sure. Just having a good old thermos party, like Canadians do. [Audience laughter.]

jared

Yep. Yep. They were trying to make me pay fealty while we were on the beach at night.

john

By "they" you mean your captain and your admiral, Dave and—?

jared

Of course.

john

Right.

jared

So I ran out into the ocean. [Audience laughter.] To get away from the corruption.

jesse

And you wanted to get into international waters. [Audience and some on-stage laughter.]

john

So you're in the ocean now, screaming "We're supposed to be on leave."

jared

On leave, yes. [Light audience laughter.]

rebecca

[Quietly, resigned] Yeah. Yeah. [More light audience laughter.]

john

Do you have any other evidence?

jesse

[Stifling laughter] At that point your only fealty was to Poseidon, the god of the sea. [Audience laughter.]

john

Meg? I haven't heard from you. [Meg laughs.] I'm hoping that you can help make some sense out of all of this. [Scattered audience laughter.]

meg

I can say that I'm Jared's wife, and he is not a strong swimmer. [Raucous audience laughter, some applause.] And the video that we did take has me in the background saying "Yeah, I'm pretty worried for his life." [Some more laughter.]

john

So—what's your call sign, Meg?

meg

Hotdog.

john

Hotdog— [More laughter.] Hotdog, Nacho, this is for either of you. [One of them laughs, so does part of the audience.] When this... weird, psychological mutual self-torture is going on... [More scattered audience laughter.] ...and you're supposed to be on vacation, how does that make you feel?

crosstalk

Meg: Extremely— John: Hotdog? Meg: Extremely stressed.

john

Extremely stressed. Nacho?

rebecca

I think it's mostly annoying. [Meg laughs quietly.]

john

Mm-hm.

rebecca

And it seems a little, like, performative and indulgent.

john

[Mock-surprised] Oh, does it?

rebecca

Yeah. [Laughs.]

john

Does it seem— [Audience, Rebecca, and Meg laugh.] It says here you're all in the age range of 29 to 32. You all live in Waterloo. [Scattered applause and "woo"s from the audience.]

crosstalk

[Rebecca and/or Meg shout "Woo!" back at the audience.]

john

You all have jobs. [Audience laughter.] I presume none of you have children. [More scattered laughter.]

rebecca

That's—yeah.

john

True?

rebecca

That's true! [She and the audience laugh.]

john

Yeah. That's...

meg

[Joking] How did you know?

john

Oh, because you're children. [Meg, Rebecca, and audience laugh. Some audience applause.] 'Cause you are children and I envy you. [Some more laughter.] You would have me order what, Nacho and Hotdog? If I were to rule in your favor?

rebecca

I think it would be that they keep the roleplaying to the nights that we actually play, and also just... take it easy a little bit with the authority struggles. [Light audience laughter.]

john

Sure. [Rebecca laughs.]

meg

Yeah. We would be prepared to offer roleplaying outside of the game if it didn't involve so much weird power misuse. [She and the audience laugh.]

john

Oh. [Stifling laughter] I might say... [Audience and Meg and/or Rebecca laugh.] ...that you don't want to make that offer. [Audience and litigants laugh harder. Someone claps.]

crosstalk

Meg: [Laughing] I love my husband— John: Because—

john

[Scattered audience and on-stage laughter as John speaks.] Whether or not they are calling themselves captain and admirals, there is going to be—[laughs]—power struggles and authority abuse, no matter what.

meg

Eh. "Struggle" is a generous term. [Rebecca and some of the audience laugh.]

john

Yeah. Alright. Mr. Synapse, Captain Greg... [Scattered audience laughter.] If I were to rule in Hotdog and Nacho's favor, why would that be unfair? Why do you feel the need to continue this play as far away as your vacation and the ocean itself? [Beat.]

jared

The thing is, it doesn't have to be about the starship RP. We just deeply enjoy RP in general. It's—

john

RP meaning roleplay.

jared

Roleplay.

john

Right.

jared

So just trying to get into a character that's not your true self, like if you wanna RP as a judge or a bailiff or something like that— [Explosion of audience laughter, some hollering and applause, some gasping/laughter on stage.] So—

john

As someone who has just purchased specific Canadian judicial robes... [More laughter.] ...I will allow that dishonor to the court. [More laughter.]

jared

The point I'm making is that it's very fun! It's obviously something that peop—some people enjoy. [Light, scattered laughter.]

john

Could you guys just go to your own weird island alone and do it? Rather than stressing Hotdog and Nacho out? [Some more laughter.]

jared

We don't actively pull them into it.

john

Yes, but you're affecting them nonetheless! Do you disagree? [Meg or Rebecca stifles a laugh. There's a pause.] Mr. Synapse... [Audience and on-stage laughter.]

jared

I do not disagree—[laughs].

john

This is your human wife! [Audience laughter.]

jesse

[Stifling laughter] Synapse! Your wife was afraid you would die! [Audience and on-stage laughter.]

jared

She shouldn't have been, I had it under control. [More laughter.]

jesse

[Laughing] We know, the god of the sea was on your side. He'd send his turtles to save you. [More light audience laughter.]

jared

So if I may use a reference to the McElroys...

john

No.

jared

Okay. [Audience and on-stage laughter. Someone claps.]

crosstalk

John: I believe I heard everything I need to in order to make my decision. Jared: Great.

john

I'm going into my ready room. I'll be back in a moment with my verdict.

jesse

[To audience cheering and applause] Please rise as Judge John Hodgman exits the courtroom.

sound effect

[Three gavel bangs.]

john

Hey, it's me, your Judge John Hodgman. As you know, the Judge John Hodgman podcast is brought to you every week by you, the generous supporters of MaximumFun.org! But also Judge John Hodgman is supported in part by Native. Native makes simple, effective bathroom products with trusted ingredients that people use every day. That sounds mysterious! It's deodorant. [Stifles laughter.] Native Deodorant is formulated without aluminum, parabens, or talc. And it's filled with ingredients found in nature! Such as coconut oil, shea butter, and tapioca starch. You know when you're wandering through nature, and you find those things? You could make deodorant! But why? When Native will make it for you, and it's so good! It comes in a wide variety of enticing scents, plus new limited-edition seasonal scents throughout the year. There's also an unscented formula! And baking soda–free formula for those with sensitivities. Classic deodorant scents include: coconut and vanilla, the most popular. Understandable. And cucumber and mint! I like both of those. I know you all have armpits too, so I'm gonna make a special offer to listeners of Judge John Hodgman. For 20% off your first purchase, visit NativeDeodorant.com and use promo code JUDGEJOHN during checkout. That's NativeDeodorant.com, promo code JUDGEJOHN for 20% off your first purchase. J-U-D-G-E-J-O-H-N, all one word, all capital letters. Native Deodorant.

sound effect

[Three gavel bangs.]

john

This case is called "Firefox vs. Big Tech." Did you know that 81% of web traffic is tracked by Google? And 61% of the top 10,000 websites are watched by Facebook? Ugh. Firefox says that's an invasion of privacy! And they say it 'cause they're right! That's why the Firefox browser blocks ten billion trackers for users every day, automatically. Including trackers from Google and Facebook. This is the sound of a gavel:

sound effect

[Three gavel bangs.]

john

Firefox for the win. Get privacy! At Firefox.com/privacy. That's Firefox.com/privacy.

sound effect

[Three gavel bangs.]

jesse

[Audience is cheering and applauding, then dies down as the show continues.] I don't necessarily have follow-up questions for any of you. [Some audience and on-stage laughter.] Oh, wait! About that bailiff, judge thing that you said. [More laughter.] I have one follow-up question... Are you being paid to be here tonight? [Jared and/or Greg and the audience laugh.] Here's my real question. [Laughing] You guys have really great made-up names; can I have a fun made-up name? [More laughter.]

jared

We had one night where we all chose names based on different types of noodles. So if you have a favorite pasta...

jesse

I could be like, [stifling laughter] Rigatoni or something? [Audience laughter.]

jared

Bailiff Rigatoni? [Scattered cheering and applause in the audience.]

meg

Yeah.

jesse

What's a bow tie noodle called? [Shouted answers from the audience.] Tartalle. [Louder, more emphatic shouts from the audience.] Farfalle! [Affirmative shouts.] You guys just trying to get me to say "fart"? [Audience and on-stage laughter.] Farfalle, that could be my special name. [Scattered cheers.] Please rise as Judge John Hodgman re-enters the courtroom and presents his verdict. [Audience cheers and applauds.]

john

Mr. Synapse, what did you want to say with regard to our friends the McElroy brothers?

jared

They have a saying about not yucking other people's yums. [Light audience laughter.]

john

Mm-hm.

jared

And it is our feeling that— [Meg or Rebecca laughs quietly.] —the plaintiffs are trying to yuck our yum. Because this is something that we deeply enjoy, and there are ways to enjoy it without necessarily impacting them as negatively as it does currently, without actually making us RP less or trying to take that enjoyment away from it.

john

Do you believe that they're doing—they're yucking your yum maliciously?

jared

Uh, not maliciously, no.

john

You doubt their sincerity when they say it bothers them?

jared

Yes. Absolutely. [The plaintiffs and the audience laugh.]

john

Let the record show that I'm speechless. [The plaintiffs and the audience laugh harder.] I'm supposed to be delivering my verdict, but since you have made quite an accusation—Nacho, Hotdog, how do you respond to this charge?

meg

You don't think it bothers us when—?

jared

No, I—! I thought I said it does bother you.

john

Oh, I thought you said you doubted their sincerity.

jared

No! Oh, I misspoke! [Laughter in the audience and on stage.]

john

I understand. Human English isn't your first language, I apologize. [More laughter, including from Jared or Greg.]

jesse

[Stifling laughter] He meant to say he's glad his wife is unhappy. [More audience and on-stage laughter.]

john

Mr. Synapse, if you do not in fact doubt their sincerity that they are stressed on the part of Hotdog, dismayed on the part of Nacho... then you must acknowledge that your behavior has effect upon others! Look. I'm wearing custom-made judicial robes. [Quiet on-stage and audience laughter.] I'm not gonna lie to you. I've been to some murder mystery dinners! [Some more laughter.] I've spoken in some fake English accents. [Some more laughter.] I've done a little bit of it. I know what it feels like to be out there with your friends, pretending to be other people! Especially when you're age-appropriate, 12, 13 years old! [Meg and/or Rebecca and the audience laugh.]

john

But it is your yum! I do not deny it. I do not deny you're having fun. But. I hope to present to you—and your admiral—a point of view outside of your own realm of imagination. When you are having fights over chain of command and whether or not you are on leave, I'm kind of into that! 'Cause I like a process fight. [Audience and on-stage laughter.] It's like, "Yeah, right! Exactly! You can't really go around that." [Muttering to the effect of engaged commentary about the conflict.] I think frankly, Captain Greg, I thought you were right to demote Mr. Synapse and relieve him from duty. [Audience and on-stage laughter.] He was out of control. [More laughter.] He's got a lot of work to do. What troubles me is the thermos. [More laughter.] That is intrinsically weird, [stifling laughter] and contextually very troubling! [More laughter. Scattered laughter as John continues.] To go to an island and then have a person of arbitrary authority demanding the kissing of any objects, based on orders alone—and that you, Captain Greg, would try to force Mr. Synapse to kiss the thermos, without even knowing why. Without even questioning why! It is—look, I am a rule follower by nature. I'm an only child; of course I am. But you can't follow every rule without any—without questioning! That's how horrible human tragedy happens! Did you kiss the thermos, Mr. Synapse?

jared

Never once.

john

I'm so glad you did not. [Meg or Rebecca laughs. Audience cheers and applauds.] And I'm glad that I know, and I'm glad that you now know, that that, sir, that is your yum! [Audience and on-stage laughter.] That is your yum! Not the costume. Not the computer game. The—[laughs] the weird sick games that you and the captain and the admiral are playing. [More laughter.] I will not interfere with those games. [Stifling laughter] Obviously you're exploring something. [More, louder laughter, followed by audience applause and cheering.] [Stifles laughter.] And yet I must also honor the wishes of your crew-members and your colleagues, and your human spouses and friends! It's a real Kobayashi Maru. [Audience and on-stage laughter. Some applause.] Don't. Don't. [Laughter swells.] Don't. It's not even a really good allegory. [Some more scattered laughter.] 'Cause it's not a Kobayashi Maru. I know what's gonna happen here. [Some more laughter.]

john

When you're playing the game, you can play the game. When you have stopped playing the game, and Hotdog and Nacho have reverted to their human forms Meg and Rebecca, then you've got to stop it, too! You can go and play your own game somewhere else. And indeed, I order you and the captain and the admiral and whatever other freaky officers that you hang out with— [Light audience laughter.] —to go on a special weekend vacation of your own. [Audience and on-stage laughter, some applause.] And I want there to be a thermos there. [More laughter.] And I want there to be some object to some game that is gonna get worked out. I want you to be stranded on an alien prison planet together. I don't know! I don't know who's gonna write this narrative, Jesse Thorn. You know what? Maybe ask Griffin McElroy to do it for you. [Audience laughs.] Yeah, that's right! Griffin McElroy's gonna write an adventure for the three of you.

jared

Yeah.

john

To go off on your own in the woods of Canada to play. [Meg or Rebecca laughs.] And then if any of you come back, you'll have it out of your system. [Stifling laughter] This is the sound of a gavel: [Three live gavel bangs.] Judge John Hodgman rules; that's all. [Audience cheers and applauds.]

jesse

Please rise as Judge John Hodgman exits the courtroom. Rebecca, Meg, Jared, Greg, thanks for being on the Judge John Hodgman podcast!

john

Thank you so much! [Some more cheering and applause.]

sound effect

[Three gavel bangs.]

promo

Music: Fun, jaunty, upbeat music. Renee Colvert: Hi! I'm Renee Colvert. Alexis Preston: I'm Alexis Preston! Renee: And we're the hosts of the smash hit podcast Can I Pet Your Dog? Now, Alexis. Alexis: Yes. Renee: We got big news. Alexis: Uh-oh! Renee: Since last we did a promo, our dogs have become famous. Alexis: World-famous! Renee: World—like, stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame! Second big news. Alexis: Mm-hm?

promo

Renee: The reviews are in. Alexis: Mm-hm? Renee: Take yourself to Apple Podcasts, you know what you're gonna hear? We're happy! Alexis: It's true! Renee: We're a delight! A great distraction from the world! Alexis: I like that part a lot. Renee: So if that's what you guys are looking for... Alexis: Mm-hm. Renee: You gotta check out our show! But what else can they expect? Alexis: We've got dog tech, dog news, celebrities with their dogs. All dog things! Renee: All the dog things. So if that interests you, well, get yourself on over to Maximum Fun every Tuesday! [Music ends.]

promo

Music: Jazzy rendition of "Up on the House Top" by Benjamin Hanby. Speaker 1: Hey, cool shirt! Speaker 2: Oh, this? Thanks! I got it at MaxFunStore.com. Ethereal echo: MaxFunStore.com. Speaker 1: Hm, that's strange! I visited MaxFunStore.comEthereal echo: MaxFunStore.com! Speaker 1: —a few weeks ago and didn't see it. Speaker 2: That's because they've just launched a ton of new stuff. Right in time for the holidays! Speaker 1: Oh, cool! Speaker 2: There's patches, mugs, totes, stickers. Even a onesie! Speaker 1: Nice! Those would make great gifts for everyone I know! Speaker 2: Great! Because I already got you something from there. Speaker 1: Thanks! Now excuse me a moment. I need to look up MaxFunStore.comEthereal Echo: MaxFunStore.com! Speaker 1: —on my smartphone. You know, to see what's new! Speaker 2: Yeah! You can't go wrong with anything from MaxFunStore.com. Ethereal Echo: MaxFunStore.com! [Music stops.]

sound effect

[Three gavel bangs.]

john

Hey, it's John Hodgman. While we take a break from this live case in Toronto, Canada, you're probably thinking to yourself, "Oh, that sounds like so much fun! I wish I had been there. I don't know why I didn't go. I live next door to that theater." Well—[laughs] good news for you! There are ways to travel, and we're doing more shows. In fact, I'm here to tell you we're doing two big shows on the East Coast! You can drive there from Toronto; you can fly there from Toronto. January 13th we'll be in Brooklyn, New York, at the Murmur Theater. January 14th we'll be in Boston, Massachusetts at the great Wilbur Theater. [Stifling laughter] So if you live next door to this theater where we recorded the show in Toronto, you still have a chance to make good. If you live closer to Brooklyn or Boston, even better news for you! [Stifles laughter.] We're gonna have brand new cases at each one! Every live Judge John Hodgman show is different from the last, so I hope you will join us at all of them. It's better when you're there. Go check out the MaximumFun.org events page for details, or you can always go to JohnHodgman.com/tour, where I type in the information myself. January 13th Brooklyn, January 14th Boston. Stay tuned for further announcements. But now let's get back to the live fun.

sound effect

[Three gavel bangs.]

john

Well folks, it's now the segment of the show that we call Swift Justice! And this is where we're gonna hear three cases in quick succession. And I think we're gonna need to put a timer on this one, Jesse Thorn! I think the timer's gonna be ten minutes.

jesse

Ten minutes? Holy [censor bleep]. [Audience laughter.]

john

Three minutes and thirty-three seconds per case.

jesse

[Stifling laughter] That's how it works; there's a hundred seconds in a minute! [Audience laughter.] [Stifling laughter] Ten minutes—in ten minutes! Three minutes and thirty-three seconds per case!

john

That's correct. [Stifling laughter] You understand. [More laughter.] It's in Canada; it's metric. Alright! [More laughter and some cheering.] Bring us the first case, please! [More cheering.]

jesse

James and Annie! James files suit against his girlfriend Annie. Annie has two cats and keeps the litter box in her bedroom. When James visits her in Toronto, he doesn't like to smell the cat box when he's trying to... sleep. [Audience and Annie laugh.] He wants her to move it into the living room. Annie thinks if she moves it into the living room, it will smell up the entire apartment.

john

Alright! James and Annie, who brings this case before me seeking justice?

james

That's me.

john

That would be James, wearing an extremely handsome yellow flannel shirt. [Scattered laughter.] What is the brand of that shirt?

james

Norse Projects.

john

Norse Projects! It almost looks like Loblaw's No Name Yellow. Do you know what I mean, like...? [Audience cheering and laughter.] I find it very—I don't mind buzzmarketing that, 'cause I wanna get one of those for myself. In fact, I find in your favor. This is—what, no, I'm sorry! [More laughter.] What—[stifles laughter] what is the nature of your dispute? You've got kitty litter in Annie's bedroom, is that correct?

james

Yes.

john

Alright. And Annie, why do you keep the kitty litter in the bedroom? Do you only have that one room?

annie

So the apartment's pretty small, and the living room is very linked to the kitchen. So if it's in the living room, then the kitchen smells like poop, and then it's like you're eating poop, and...

john

Sure.

annie

I don't wanna eat poop. [She and the audience laugh.]

john

No one wants to eat poop, Annie. [More laughter.] Except maybe for Captain Greg and Mr. Synapse and Admiral Dave as part of some alien ritual, I don't know. [More laughter.]

jesse

[Stifling laughter] Or just if their commanding officer told them to.

john

[Laughing] That's right! [More audience laughter.] Have you tried cleaning the litter box? [Some more laughter.]

annie

Yes. I clean it three times a day.

john

Three times a day?

annie

They poop a lot.

john

How many cats?

annie

Just two.

john

Two hundred cats. [He, Annie, and the audience laugh.] Two cats, and what are their names?

annie

Leo and Lucy.

john

Leo and Lucy. I betcha they're cute, right?

crosstalk

John: I mean, they're—they're cats. Annie: They're very cute. They—yes.

john

And what kind of cats are they? Just kinda—?

annie

Just—

john

What are their colors?

annie

Normal—one of them's orange. The other one's a gray, like, kinda calico? She's very small.

john

Orange, you say!

annie

Yes.

john

A little bit kinda like James's shirt.

annie

Yes.

john

James has a little bit of fur on his face. He's got a little bit of a cat-like demeanor to him. [Audience laughter.]

annie

For sure.

john

Is that—[laughing] is this cosplay? [Annie and the audience laugh.]

annie

I wish.

john

[Laughs.] Oh! [Annie and the audience laugh. John or James makes a thoughtful sound.] Do you share this apartment, or is it your apartment, Annie?

annie

It's my apartment.

john

I see.

annie

James lives in a different city, so he comes to visit.

john

Where do you live?

james

London. [Cheering from the audience.]

john

London, Ontario? Fantastic.

annie

[Joking] Booo.

john

How far away is that?

annie

About two and a half hours.

john

Do you hate these cats, James?

james

These cats are adorable. I love them. I just hate their poop.

john

Sure. What—do you have an open litter box?

annie

Uh, it's covered. There's like a cover on it.

john

Have you taken the cats to a veterinarian? [Annie and the audience laugh.]

annie

Yes, many times!

john

To find out why they—their poop smells so bad?

crosstalk

Annie: Yes, I have, actually. John: Because you're changing the litter three times a day! That is quite a bit!

annie

[Laughs.] Yeah.

john

Or—are you using litter? Maybe that's the problem. [Audience laughs.]

annie

[Laughing] I do use litter.

john

[Laughs.] "No, I just use rags. Why?" [More laughter from Annie and the audience.]

jesse

"Litter? No, I just use the poop of smaller animals!" [John, the litigants, and the audience laugh.]

john

What did the veterinarian say?

annie

Uh, [laughs] the veterinarian said "Feed them the special food," and... [laughs].

john

Yeah, that's what they always say! "And guess what? I'm going to sell it to you!" [Audience laughter.] Says the veterinarian.

annie

Yeah. [Laughs.]

john

So the choice is—in Annie's life—either the bedroom stinks or the whole house stinks.

annie

Yeah.

john

Is there not a closet? Do you own or rent?

annie

I rent.

john

You rent.

annie

Yeah.

john

Is there not some solution—you should not— [She laughs.] One should not live in—if possible, as an adult...

annie

Mm-hm.

john

One should not sleep in the same room as a refrigerator or a [censor bleep] box. [Annie and the audience laughs.] In my opinion.

annie

Right. So—

john

So this is bad!

annie

I mean, it's the room with the best ventilation. We put it in the bathroom before and it was... disgusting. I couldn't go in there at all 'cause there's no vents.

john

Have you tried feeding the special food to the cats?

annie

Yes, I did do that.

john

How—and any difference?

annie

I mean, their poops were less watery and they didn't leave them around the house, [laughing] but they still—

john

I'll remind you this is a family—[laughs] family podcast. [Annie and the audience laugh.] How old are the cats?

annie

A year and two months.

john

Oh my goodness. [Annie and the audience laugh.] This is a big issue for the rest of your—well, for your whole relationship for many years.

annie

Yeah.

john

You can't—this is not normal. [James or Jesse laughs quietly.] Have you had cats before?

annie

Yes.

john

Who here thinks this is normal? [Beat of silence.]

distant audience member

Boo! [Audience laughs.]

john

Your scorn is not required. [More laughter.] [Stifling laughter] Total silence told the tale I needed telling. [More laughter.] [John responds affirmatively several times as Jesse speaks.]

jesse

John, I know from friend of the podcast Mary Roach's book Gulp: Adventures in the Alimentary Canal that the entire purpose of the pet food industry is to create food that you can A) trick pets into eating; B) will give them the nutrition they need; and C) will produce relatively odorous and—odorless and consistent in consistency... leavings. Like, that is the one thing that is non-compromisable in the pet food recipe making.

john

Major industries are devoted to those three principals: odorless poop, consistent poop, cats eating it. These cats are only into one of those things.

jesse

[Laughing] Yeah. [Audience laughs.]

john

They've tricked—they've figured out how to break the system with the rest. [More laughter.] James, how does it make you feel when Annie won't move the cat box?

james

Well, it feels bad to be playing second fiddle to a box of kitty litter. [Audience laughs.]

john

How often do you visit?

james

About once every two weeks.

john

And how long do you stay?

james

About three or four days.

john

Alright. When you're there, the cat box has to be out of the bedroom.

annie

Eugh...

john

When you're not there, [stifling laughter] the cat box can be right there next to you in bed if that's what you want, Annie. [Litigant and audience laughter.] But I do encourage you to continue to work with your veterinarian to find out what's going on with Lucy and Leo! Because you're doing everything right, and they're pooping everything wrong. [More laughter.] This is the sound of a gavel: [Three live gavel bangs.] [Audience cheers and applauds.]

jesse

James and Annie! [More cheering.] Please welcome Lia and Jonny! Lia's roommate Jonny insists on displaying a graduation photo of his friend Gavin in the entryway of their house. [Audience laughter.] In the photo, Gavin is sitting next to several cans of Four Loko, a board game called Loopin' Louie, and some sort of trophy. Lia thinks the decorations in the house are classy, and this photo is ruining the vibe. Jonny wants to keep the photo on display. [Beat. Scattered laughs.]

john

[Stifling laughter] Alright. [More audience laughter.] Lia and Jonny, welcome. Lia, you seek justice before this court. You want this picture of Gavin taken out of the entryway, is that correct?

lia

That's correct.

john

And it's funny, because without showing the photo, we—we do have a photo of the photo. And when Jesse said "Gavin," I presumed that the photo went on screen, 'cause the entire audience went "Ohhh ho ho ho!" Because it's a cuckoo photo, for sure. But it—the photo wasn't being displayed. I can only presume that the entire audience already knows Gavin. [Audience and Lia laugh.] And already knows this famous photo.

jesse

Yeah, is Gavin, like... Ernest from the Ernest movies in Canada, [stifling laughter] or like—? [Audience laughter.]

john

In any case, let's take a look now at the photo in question. [Beat.] So there's Gavin. Also wearing Canadian judicial robes, it would seem! [Audience laughter.] Jonny, what is—this is—what is Gavin wearing?

jonny

He's wearing judicial robes!

john

Why does he get—he has like, red epaulettes, and I don't have red epaulettes, and I paid a lot of money for my robes!

jonny

Uh—

jesse

He's an admiral, John. [Audience laughs.]

john

Oh no!

jonny

I assume that's based on the university.

john

Did you and Gavin go to law university together?

jonny

We did.

john

Okay. And who is he to you in your life?

jonny

He's a good friend of mine. He's a mess of a human. Makes me laugh. [Scattered audience laughter.]

john

In the photo he has four cans of Four Loko.

jonny

Yeah.

john

A game Loopin' Louie, what's that?

jonny

That's a drinking game we played in law school. [More scattered audience laughter.]

john

Drinking game, alright. And you have it—oh, here's a closer—a close-up version of it. Yeah! [Laughter from Lia and the audience.] And Gavin is looking very seriously at the camera. Very handsome person! Is he here tonight?

crosstalk

Jonny: No, he's in— John: Oh, yeah! Good friend. Hm. Jonny: —the Yukon. [Chuckles quietly.] John: Yeah. [Scattered audience laughter.]

john

Oh, he's in the Yukon!

jonny

Yeah, that's how we got the Four Loko. It's illegal in Canada. [Beat.]

john

Oh, okay! [Some more audience laughter.] So he's in Yukon now, and you had him displayed with some candles, as though it were a shrine. [Some more laughter.] You guys share a home, right, Lia?

lia

Yeah.

john

Right. Do you co-own the home?

lia

No, we both rent, and we have another roommate, another lawyer.

john

Another lawyer is there. And what does the other roommate feel about this?

lia

She also went to law school with Gavin.

john

Yeah.

lia

So she's all for it.

john

Oh, so you're overruled by the roommates in this!

lia

By numbers, but not by taste.

john

Yeah, that's what I meant! [Audience laughs.]

lia

I mean...

john

[Laughing, flabbergasted] Wha... Did—did you go to law—you didn't go to law school with these people.

lia

No.

john

What do you do in your life?

lia

I'm a writer.

john

You're a writer.

lia

I was moving back to Toronto and there happened to be an opening at the perfect moment, and I knew the other roommate, Caitlin. And so I moved in. She's an old friend.

john

So these attorneys took you in at a time of need! Put a roof over your head in Toronto, Canada! [Audience laughter.] And the first thing you say is "Get Gavin out of here!" [Lia and the audience laugh.] "No memories of Gavin!" [More laughter.]

lia

I mean, I'm not saying that Gavin needs to leave the house, but maybe Gavin could be relegated to one of their rooms and not be the first thing that you see when you enter the house?

john

Why—what would you put there?

lia

I mean, there's like a nice framed New Yorker cover there already. We could just move it to the center.

john

Oh, you already have the New Yorker cover there.

lia

Yeah.

john

I see. Okay. Well! Tch. Uhhh, no. They have outvoted you in the house! And I will not, sadly, allow the picture of Gavin to be replaced by a clichéd... [Lia and the audience laugh.] ...framed New Yorker cover. [Audience applause and cheering. John laughs.]

lia

I mean, that feels fair. [Laughs.]

john

That—you might as well be replacing it with nothing at all. [Audience, Jonny, and Lia laugh.] I mean, even if I were to side with you on the idea that somehow your taste outranked their majority, the suggestion of a framed New Yorker cover unfortunately undid your case completely. [Lia, Jonny, and the audience laugh harder.] And I'm talking as a person who had a bunch of framed New Yorker covers on my wall when I was 14 years old. I'm—I feel you! [She laughs again.] It's very elegant. But this is cooler than that. [She and the audience laugh.] And plus you have no standing. I apologize and I look forward to the day, as I'm sure you do, when you get out of this weird house. [Lia, Jonny, and the audience laugh.] [Several small thuds, presumably John with a gavel. Audience cheers and applauds.]

jesse

Lia and Jonny! Please welcome to the stage Jorel and David! Jorel brings this case against his father David. Jorel started posting videos on David's YouTube account when he was 12 years old. Before he was old enough to sign up for his own account. They both still have access to the account, which includes the monitor "D-pop." Jorel claims his online presence is now tied to the account name, and he wants full ownership of the YouTube account. [Interested murmuring from the audience.] David does not want to give up the account. [Scattered laughter.]

john

Young man.

jorel

Yes.

john

Your name is pronounced JOR-uhl, or Jor-EHL?

jorel

Jor-ehl.

john

Jor-El, as in—

jorel

Yes.

john

—the father of Superman.

jorel

That is correct.

john

I see. [Audience laughter, scattered applause.]

jesse

And David, you're literally Lex Luthor. [Laughs.] [John, the litigants, and the audience laugh. Some applause and cheering.]

john

Let the record show that David is completely bald. [David or Jorel laughs.] Why are you not suing your father for giving you that name? [Audience laughter.]

jorel

Uh, because it's an amazing name.

john

Yes! [Audience cheers and applauds.]

jorel

My mom could sue him.

john

Right.

jorel

For giving me that name, but she's—she was okay with it somehow. [Jorel responds affirmatively as John speaks.]

john

It's pretty—it's a pretty awesome name. But it is not hyphenated. That's what's cool about it.

jorel

Yeah.

john

It's a sort of a private joke.

jorel

Yeah!

john

Right. And why, David, Jorel and not Kalel? [David and Jorel laugh.]

jorel

That'll be my son.

david

Well—yeah. [Audience laughs.]

jorel

For the record. [John laughs. Audience cheers and applauds.]

crosstalk

[Cheering, applause and laughter continue.] John: This is a long-game selective breeding experiment. David: That's right. [Laughs.] He will marry— John: So that you, David, can have a grandson named Kalel?

david

I can't wait. Kalel will marry a woman named Lois. [Audience laughter.]

john

You've got it all planned out, don't you?

david

Yes. Yeah. [More audience laughter.]

jesse

Do you have any dinosaur skeletons or marriages to Elvis's children, [stifling laughter] or other Nicolas Cage things in your life? [Litigants and audience laugh.]

david

I wish that I had his copy of Action #1. [Jorel laughs.] But...

john

You are a Superman fan.

david

I did collect comics as a child, and I still have some.

crosstalk

John: Good! And a documentarian, that is your profession and your vocation? David: That is correct.

john

And you started this YouTube account to post what?

david

Well, to post, uh...

jorel

Uh-huh.

david

...my things!

jorel

Uh-huh, sure.

john

Yeah—[laughs]. [Audience laughs.]

crosstalk

John: Oh! Jesse: Wow! David: And I should, uh— Jorel: Uh-huh. John: I like saucy Jorel! [Jorel laughs.]

david

I should point out that the bailiff mentioned that it started when he was 12 years old. This actually started when he was about seven years old. And so he was far too young—

john

David! [Gavel banging.] I asked you a question!

david

Yes.

john

What were you putting on the YouTube account?!

david

Uh, at that time, not... too much. But if something comes—

john

David! [Jorel laughs.]

david

If something comes up in— [Audience laughter.]

jorel

Nothing!

david

If something comes up in my business as a director, as a producer, and I—

jesse

So to be clear—

david

—I put that on.

jesse

When you say "at that time, not that much," when you say "at that time" [stifling laughter] you mean in the past 12 years?! [Jorel and the audience laugh.]

david

When he was seven—

jesse

Okay.

david

—I wasn't putting up very much. But currently I do use it.

john

So let me—let me understand. It's 12 years ago. You have a son. Seven-year-old son named Jorel.

david

That is correct.

john

You're—you make documentaries.

david

Yes.

john

You work in film.

david

Yes.

john

You say "I'm gonna start a YouTube channel! ...But I've got nothing to put on it. All I do is make movies!" [Audience and Jorel laugh.] "Oh well!" [More laughter.]

david

My movies are generally on... television. [Jorel laughs.]

john

Yeah—no, I understand! [The audience and the litigants laugh.] I wanna take you back to the distant past. [More laughter.]

david

Yes.

john

About 35 years ago I said, [stifling laughter] "What did you put on the YouTube channel?" [More litigant and audience laughter.] And you said "Not that much!" [Jorel or David laughs.] And I said "But what specifically?" And you said "Some things!" [Audience laughter.]

david

[Struggling for words] This—mm.

john

Is there a reason you don't want to tell me?

david

This YouTube channel started about 13 years ago, and at that time I was not putting things on it.

john

I feel like I'm talking to a progressional republican! [The litigants and the audience laugh.] About whether it's okay to force a foreign leader to investigate a political rival! [More laughter.]

crosstalk

David: The answer to the question is that I put on some of my work that I've, uh, produced and directed. John: Okay! That's perfectly reasonable for an adult professional to do. David: Yes. [Laughs.]

john

But then all of a sudden seven-year-old Jorel comes along.

david

[Laughing] Uh-huh!

john

What does he start posting on your channel?

david

When he was seven years old he was doing things about like, his Pokémon cards and his Yu-Gi-Oh—or...

jorel

[Calmly] All of this is wrong.

david

Yes. [Audience and David laugh.]

john

Alright, Jorel. It is the job of the child to re-write the history of the parent.

david

Yes.

john

Go on.

jorel

So I posted, as many kids do, horrible sketches.

john

Mm-hm.

jorel

That were terrible because I was like seven.

john

Yeah?

jorel

And my father did not post anything.

crosstalk

Jorel: There was nothing. John: You're saying—you're saying—

john

You're saying it was abandoned property.

jorel

It was abandoned property. It was mine to use. I had all the information. I was using it. He touched it very, very little. And—

john

So you developed this brand.

jorel

Yeah. And not only the brand, but the large corporation account. I don't know if I can say their name. But the account... Google?

john

Yeah! [Scattered audience laughter.]

crosstalk

David: So the Google account that it's associate with— John: You created Google? [Audience and litigants laugh.]

jorel

[John responds affirmatively as Jorel continues.] So the Google account that's associated with has like, a Drive option and lets you store files and stuff. And I use that all the time, and I've been using it for like five years. And all of my school work is on there; all of like, other sort of work is on there. And my father has about... zero things on there. So... it is my account. [Scattered audience laughter.]

john

You're saying in practice it is your account. It is your account—

jorel

Yes.

john

—in all but registered name.

jorel

In all but the fact that he technically created it and clicked the button, it is my account, and I'm the sole user.

john

So why not, David, just say to Jorel "This is yours now" and start a new—'cause you've not developed this brand.

david

I have looked into YouTube, and it is possible to keep the same YouTube channel and change the name. My request is that the name is changed. Because you see, I am D-pop. And the name of the channel—

john

So you're trying to protect your own brand!

david

The name of the channel—and I brought some photographic evidence here.

john

Alright, let's take a look.

david

This is—it's hard to see; it's blurry. This is me at 16 years old, and that's a drawing that I did, and in the bottom right corner you'll see that I've signed it "D-pop." I've been using the name D-pop in my art and in my music ever since I've been that age. Or even younger. So it's a name that I professionally use.

john

So for those of you who can't see this at the moment—

jorel

[Laughs.] You can't see that.

john

You can go—well, you can go to the Judge John Hodgman page at MaximumFun.org, or our Instagram @judgejohnhodgman. This is David as a young man, with a lot more hair. [Litigants and audience laugh.] Showing a cartoon that he made of a sort of—it's an almost Roy Lichtenstein-ian cartoony style square-jawed man driving his date, staring directly into the camera, saying "It's going to be one of those nights." And it's signed in musical notation "D-pop." This is an incredible document of a time— [Scattered audience laughter.] And what—who was your inspiration for this art?

david

You know what, I haven't looked at this picture in a very long time, and then I dug it out trying to find the earliest example I could. And I was looking at it and thinking "What the hell was that?" I have no idea. [Litigants and audience laugh.] It was a long time ago.

john

What is the—

jesse

It is—would you be willing to stipulate that the picture is slightly unsettling? [Jesse, Jorel, and the audience laugh.]

david

That's what makes it good.

jesse

Yeah. [Litigants and audience laugh.]

john

The illustration is unsettling, and then the photograph of you holding it—

jesse

[Laughing] Yeah, both are—!

john

—is unsettling. It has a Cindy Sherman quality to it.

david

That is—I'll take that! Yes.

john

[Laughing] Yeah. There's something—well, no.

crosstalk

Jesse: The question— John: The thing is, you didn't take that photo. Someone else took it.

david

Yeah.

john

That's someone else's work of art, David! [David and audience laugh.]

jesse

The question of whether you have a shadow surrounding your mouth or a Sebastian Gorka–style... [Audience laughter.] ...Van Dyke on your face—

david

We all make—

jesse

[stifling laughter] is also deeply upsetting.

david

We all make mistakes when we're young.

jesse

[Laughing] Yeah.

john

Which is what we're gonna determine today. Next piece of evidence you wanted to show?

david

Now this is the actual incorporation... [Audience laughter.] ...of my incorporated company, which as you can see is called DPOP Productions Incorporated.

john

Yes, and I can tell that it is actual. It is in—it is bilingual. It is from Canada. It is... [Light laughter from Jorel or David and some of the audience.] It is real, but why do I care about this? Why?

david

My point is he can keep the account, but he should change the name so—because I do post my professional work on YouTube, and I am posting currently some of my professional work on YouTube on this channel, 'cause it's the only one I have now. And it's the only one that I have that's got the name D-pop, which is a name that is hard to get.

john

Okay.

david

And I would like to keep that.

john

Okay. Jorel—

jesse

Jorel, what are you posting on this channel now as a 19-year-old adult?

jorel

Nothing. But I'm using— [Audience laughter.]

david

I rest my case.

jorel

But it's not the YouTube that's important to me. It's the fact that it's tied to this Google account, which I use every single day all the time and has all my files.

john

Yeah, no, I understand.

jorel

And you cannot change that name.

jesse

Are you, as this background research suggests, a musician and rapper? [Beat.]

jorel

Yes.

john

Are you posting videos of yourself rapping on this YouTube account?

jorel

No, I created a separate YouTube account, which is very easy to do. [Scattered laughter.] Very simple and requires no effort at all. I created a different YouTube account using my artist email and my artist name.

john

In—

jesse

Jorel, what's your artist name?

jorel

Well, the account is called Shonen Rap Music. It is, uh, very nerdy. And I make raps.

jesse

Are you prepared to rap at this time?

jorel

I can—I can try. [Laughs.]

jesse

Okay. Can you please— [Someone cheers.] Can you please drop the beat, Jeff? [Scattered laughter, and then drums.]

jorel

[Getting into it] Yeah! Aughck! Yeah. Uh! [Rapping] Keep it judicial, not official, it's RP Look at me, I'm representing the Starfleet I go beyond the darkness like Simon Pegg I write without Frost because that's today I went on JJHo, I say so like oh, I play Hova, no! My say over's, oh! I go back if my overalls are above me I never wanna say that Jean Grey is amazing! Hey, please I didn't rhyme that— [Scattered audience laughter.] —but I just wanna mention Dark Phoenix because it's so cool and everybody knows that—well, sorry, not the movie Just in case you were wondering But I'm here plundering like a pirate Argh! Wonder thing that this is a family podcast so I'm not going to swear or say the F-word or S-word or S-H-word or the others that are associated But I'm over here going back in that DPOP Incorporated doesn't really matter! Because you see, D-pop can be used in many names! And there are many accounts using D-pop already! The whole account had to use other numbers, so is he really the only D-pop? No! Everybody can be D-pop! I can be D-pop! And see when I rap to this bebop, everybody knows that I can be D-pop, and he can be D-pop, and it's my account so you should rule in my favor. [Jorel stops, drums stop, audience cheers and applauds.]

jesse

OHHH, HE WENT IN, SON! JOREL WENT IN! [Raucous applause and cheering continues, and a repeated knocking, presumably John or Jesse with the gavel. John starts to speak but is cut off by the crowd. Jesse's voice is starting to crack.] I DIDN'T EVEN TELL HIM WE WERE GONNA DO THAT!

john

Yeah. I didn't—

jesse

I thought I was gonna embarrass him in front of his dad and a thousand people! [Audience and litigant laughter. Crowd dies down.]

john

Jorel?

jorel

Yes.

john

That was amazing. [Jorel laughs. Audience cheers and applauds again.] Jorel... Look. I don't understand what you're fighting over! [Jorel and audience laugh.] It's boring! [They laugh again.] It is—it is my inclination as a dad, that when some dad brings in... articles of incorporation? [Jorel, Jesse or David, and audience laugh.] To rule against him automatically! [More laughter, and again as he continues.] Just to remind him "Your time is over!" Your paperwork isn't gonna protect you from what's coming up behind you, and you just heard it! Jorel just killed it!

david

He did!

john

And I—you know. Here's the thing! You, D-pop? Fine! Legally it's yours! [Jorel or David laughs.] I don't know if you wanna use that name or not. You wanna use—?

jorel

I do not.

crosstalk

John: You do not wanna use that name! Jorel: I just want the account because it has all my stuff on it. John: Yeah! Of course! It's your account! [Jorel laughs.]

john

Eminent domain on the account! Go make your own D-pop thing and try to stay relevant! Your baby boy's in a [censor bleep] spaceship to Earth! [Audience cheers and laughs, Jorel also laughs.]

david

Yeah!

john

Super powers! I find in Jorel's favor. [Three live gavel bangs. Audience continues cheering and applauding.]

jesse

[Stifling laughter] Jorel and David! [Audience fades out.]

sound effect

[Three gavel bangs.]

john

Thus ended an important evening in Canadian history. It's me, John Hodgman, again. Picking up the outro! Our thanks to all the litigants who shared their disputes with us! This episode was recorded by Jeff Bird and produced by Hannah Smith. Jesus Ambrosio is our editor. You can follow us on Twitter. You know this! I'm @hodgman, H-O-D-G-M-A-N. Jesse's @JesseThorn, J-E-S-S-E-T-H-O-R-N. Hashtag your Judge John Hodgman Tweets #JJHo. And we wanna think Robbie Newell for naming this week's episode. Oh! And we're on Instagram, at @judgejohnhodgman. That's literally @judgejohnhodgman, all one word, all small letters. And I personally am on Instagram at... @johnhodgman! All small letters, all one word. Make sure to follow us there, here, everywhere, for evidence and other fun stuff. We'll see you next time on the Judge John Hodgman podcast.

sound effect

[Three gavel bangs.]

music

A cheerful guitar chord.

speaker 1

MaximumFun.org.

speaker 2

Comedy and culture.

speaker 3

Artist owned—

speaker 4

—audience supported.

About the show

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