The Supreme Court of New Jersey today delayed a ruling that would have established whether Vince August could keep his part-time job as a municipal judge while simultaneously working as a stand-up comedian. This morning’s hearing came as August (real name: Vince A. Sicari) was appealing a 2008 state ethics board committee ruling that said Sicari could not perform both functions. In 2010, the Committee on Extra-Judicial Activities supported that decision. The justices today said they’ll need more information before making a proper ruling.
Sicari has been a well-established comedian for years, working as a warm-up comic for the Daily Show with Jon Stewart and as a regular performer at Carolines on Broadway, one of the most respected comedy venues in the country. When he’s not making people laugh, Sicari works as a municipal judge in South Hackensack, an incredibly small town in Bergen County, New Jersey.
At the heart of the State’s argument is that his work as a comedian might “negatively affect the dignity of the Judiciary.” Court papers specifically cite Sicari’s appearances on the ABC show Primetime: What Would You Do?, where he’s portrayed bigoted characters in an effort to get a reaction from unsuspecting people. Rich Vos, another well-respected comedian, has also appeared on the show centered on performing these social experiments.
Sicari has taken extreme care over the years to guarantee his stand-up material doesn’t cover any topic that might ignite a conflict of interest argument. The 43-year-old makes hundreds of comedy appearances each year, which helps supplement his $13,000-a-year post as a municipal judge.