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Get ready for your briefs to get in a bunch: Comedians at Law are coming to town again.

Next Wednesday, March 23, you have the opportunity to laugh along with—or at, I suppose—a group of on-stage attorneys.

Comedians at Law will appear that evening at StandUpLive in downtown Phoenix. I’ve seen members of this crew before, and yuks both legal and illegal are guaranteed. (That’s all to the good, I assure you.)

If the promise of legal humor is not enough (say it ain’t so!), how does a promo code make you feel? That’s right, merely use the promo code LAWYER to get $5 off.

No joke.

Matt Ritter

Matt Ritter

The headliner, it appears, is Matt Ritter:

“Matt Ritter recently traded big law for the big stage. He graduated from the University Pennsylvania Law School and worked as a corporate lawyer at both Kirkland and Ellis and Mayer Brown before leaving the law to pursue a career in entertainment.”

Years ago, I worked at Mayer Brown—before I was a lawyer (don’t ask)—so I have to suspect that Matt’s comedy comes from a very deep-seated pain; I know mine does. (Let it out, Matt!)

Also appearing that evening will be a few local legal favorites: Matt Storrs, Nancy Stanley, and Bob Howard.

I’ve covered these legal comedians before, here and here, for instance. And Matt Storrs has been tearing up the downtown Phoenix comedy scene via his work on The Storrs Objection and the Phoenix Educational Programming (P.E.P.) Rally, co-hosted by the irrepressible Hattie Jean Hayes.

Matt also appears pretty regularly on the stage of Space 55, a theatre whose board I’m pleased to serve on.

Matt Storrs

Matt Storrs (who really can afford a better picture!)

Meanwhile, Nancy Stanley’s day job is within the hallowed halls of a prominent Arizona law school (an assistant DEAN, for god’s sake). So, just like Matt Ritter, cue the deep-seated pain. If you see Nancy, before or after her set, buy her a drink, wouldja?

Nancy Stanley

Nancy Stanley

I hope to be there next Wednesday, laughing along with the comics. Remember: Buy your tickets here, promo code LAWYER.

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Jodi Weisberg delivers the humorous goods at the 2015 lawyer-comedy competition (photo by Ruth Howe, Rotary).

Jodi Weisberg delivers the humorous goods at the 2015 lawyer-comedy competition (photo by Ruth Howe, Rotary).

I’m happy to report out the following news I received about an annual lawyer-comedy competition. (No, not comedy about lawyers; comedy by lawyers.)

In the past I’ve written about this annual competition. You can read my coverage here and here.

Congratulations to Jodi Weisberg, Bob Howard, and Matt Storrs.

Jodi Weisberg won the 2015 annual John O’Connor Comedy Competition. She is the only two-time winner of this contest, which began in 2011. She has been performing stand-up comedy for more than a decade.

Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, and the Rotary 100 Club, began this competition in honor of John O’Connor, who had a wonderful sense of humor, and was a past President of the Rotary 100 Club.

“It is always such an honor and a thrill to perform for Justice O’Connor and her family,” said Weisberg. “It is a wonderful feeling to make her laugh!”

Weisberg won the competition in 2011, was a judge in 2012, and not allowed to compete in 2013-14. She was invited to perform this year. Bob Howard placed second, and Matt Storrs took third place.

First place prize was $2,500, and Rotary donated $2,000 to the University of Arizona, where Weisberg received her M.S. and J.D. degrees.

John and Sandra Day O'Connor in their Paradise Valley home (undated photo)

John and Sandra Day O’Connor in their Paradise Valley home (undated photo)

Comedians at Law logo

They’re in town Jan. 30.

Note: This post was updated to reflect the fact that on January 24 organizers consolidated two shows into one. The show at the Tempe Improv was consolidated into the Stand Up Live show on Thursday. All Tempe tickets will work in Downtown.

As I’ve said before, lawyers make me laugh. And occasionally, that’s their goal.

Next week, you and I have the opportunity to see that second kind of attorney—the intentionally funny ones. That’s when a slate of talented lawyer–comedians take the stage at Stand-Up Live in Phoenix.

So let me start by saying you should buy tickets (no, no one paid me to say that). Click the link above to get to the ticket page. And when you get to the payment page, adding the word LAWYER to the promo code box gets you half off (did you hear me? Half off!).

I plan to be at the Phoenix event (yes, I paid for my own ticket), and I’m looking forward to it. As you may know, I have a rich and Borscht Belt history of admiring comedians. Here is a post I wrote about a local competition of attorney–comics.

Next week’s events include the comic genius (or at least idiot-savant-ness) of attorneys Bob Howard, Nancy Stanley and Matt Storrs. They will follow the headliner, Matt Ritter.

Their joint efforts are part of what’s called Comedians at Law, self-described here:

“Because of their passion for comedy and their desperate desire not to practice law, the Comedians at Law joined together to travel the country, deliver their diverse and intelligent brand of humor, and entertain audiences at law schools, bar associations, law firms, comedy clubs and anyone else willing to cut a check that can be used to pay down their student loans.”

“The reaction has been overwhelming. Comedians at Law are in demand, and members of Comedians at Law have appeared on Fox News “On the Record,” CBS, Sirius/XM’s “Raw Dog” Comedy (as guests and as guest-hosts of their morning program), and in The Wall Street Journal and CNN.com. Comedians at Law: Good at Law. Better at Comedy.”

Want to see more? Here is a video about those legal humorists.

So who’s with me? If you plan to be at the Phoenix event, let me know. It’d be nice to meet others who like to laugh at lawyers (in a good way!).

Finalists and Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. L to R: Ryan Nelson, Matt Storrs, Justice O'Connor, Jodi Weisberg (first place), Trevor Cox and Bob Howard

Lawyer jokes rarely sit well with the profession, and for good reason: Those jibes are often mean-spirited and, worse, inaccurate.

But an event last week turned that rubric on its head. The John J. O’Connor Humor Competition offered up some of the funniest people in the profession, all for a good cause.

It was held at the monthly meeting of the Phoenix Rotary 100, generous and gracious hosts. And as you may have guessed by the event title, the effort is founded on a legal legacy.

John O’Connor contributed much to the profession and to the Rotary, as well as to his community and family. He and his wife, Sandra Day O’Connor, made a huge impact on the state.

Jodi Weisberg

Given that impact, it is not surprising that friends of the family asked the O’Connors what they could do to commemorate John’s life—a scholarship, an annual lecture?

What was surprising was the O’Connor family response: Let’s integrate some comedy to recognize John’s love of humor.

And so the competition idea was born. Winners would receive real dough–$3,000 for 1st place down to $500 to 4th place, all of which was to be funneled back to law students or law schools.

Specially selected comedy judges culled the group of applicants to a manageable number. And then on October 14, the final five lawyers and law students strode up to the stage and offered their best three to six minutes of comedy. To add to their pressure of playing in front of a full house, Justice O’Connor herself kindly attended (and she smiled and laughed occasionally, too!).

Lawyer Scott Rose outdid himself as emcee—he should have gotten a little of the winner’s purse himself!

(Thank you to UA Law’s Nancy Stanley, who got me a ticket to the event and who served as a pretty humorous lunch partner herself!)

To capture the day’s spirit, I will share the best joke or two from each finalist. That determination was made by me, based on my own laughable comedy standards—and the room’s response that day. Complaints or disagreements should be sent to the appropriate department.

In reverse order:

Fifth Place: Ryan Nelson, 3L at Phoenix School of Law

  • As the school year goes on, law school gets to be a more and more competitive place. In fact, you’re more likely to find Moammar Quaddafi in the library than a copy of the 2011 Probate Statute Book.

Fourth Place: Trevor Cox, 1L at Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University

  • I’m a law student, so naturally I’m here because I smelled lunch.
  • Benjamin Franklin said the only thing more expensive than education is ignorance. Clearly he never went to law school.

Third Place: Matt Storrs, 1L at Phoenix School of Law

  • My mom told me that God never gives us anything we can’t handle. He must have a blind spot when it comes to mortgages.

Second Place: Bob Howard, lawyer at Jekel, Howard & Thomas, Scottsdale

  • My practice is in divorce, or, as I call it, anti-family law.
  • There are two marital statuses: single and pre-divorce.

First Place: Jodi Weisberg, Solo practitioner, Phoenix

  • As I get older, I find I care so much less about so much more.
  • When I was growing up, if I had ever told my parents I had googled myself or someone else, I would have been in big trouble.
  • When I was 7, my brother told me I was adopted. I asked my mom, who said, “Yes, dear, it’s true. But they returned you.”
  • Despite what you may have heard, women lawyers don’t now and have never suffered from subpoena envy.

Congratulations to all those who took part in this fantastic event.

More photos from the event are at the Arizona Attorney Magazine Facebook page.