Substitute Judge


Substitute Judge

Bailiff…..Garrett Morris
Judge Crochet…..Brian Doyle-Murray
Prosecutor…..Bill Murray
Defense…..Laraine Newman
Defendent’s Wife…..Gilda Radner
Defendent…..Rodney Dangerfield
Court Reporter…..Jane Curtin
Neighboring Judge…..Harry Shearer

[ open on courtroom, the assemblage all sitting around murmuring to one another ]

Bailiff: Oh yeahhhhh, oh yeah! Court is now in session! Substitute Judge Wilson Crotch presiding! All riiiiiise for.. Crotch!

[ the crowd giggles as Judge Crochet approaches his bench ]

Judge Crotchet: I know you all were expecting your regular, but Judge Hoffmeyer is sick today, and I am your substitute judge. My name is Judge Crotchet – not Crotch.

[ the crowd continues to make fun of the substitute judge’s name ]

Crowd: Crotch! Crotch! Crotch!

Judge Crotchet: [ banging gavel ] Alright! I know it’s Friday, it’s the end of the week.. but just because Judge Hoffmeyer is not here, that doesn’t mean this is gonna be fun! You understand? [ sorting through the day’s dockets ] Now, while I try to find my place here, you may speak quietly to your neighbor..

[ naturally, the rowdy crowd bursts with unnecessary energy ]

Judge Crotchet: I said quietly! Qui-et-ly!

Prosecutor: [ approaching the bench ] Your Honor.. uh.. I’m the prosecuting attorney in this case, and.. yesterday, Judge Hoffmeyer said if we were good, we could have court outside today. [ the crowd gets excited ] Honestly! You can ask the defense attorney!

Defense: [ approaches the bench ] Uh.. yeah.. it’s-it’s true, your Honor, we were, uh.. gonna go to the scene of the crime and tell ghost stories.

Prosecutor: Yeah! Yeah!

Judge Crotchet: [ falling for it ] Would this be relevant to the case?

Prosecutor: Aw, sure!

Defense: Yeah, it is!

Judge Crotchet: Well, I understood that you were already in your final summations.

Prosecutor: Ohhhh.. no! No!

Defense: No!

Prosecutor: No! We were just supposed to talk about the final summations today.

Defense: Yeah! We were supposed to have, uh.. [ thinking ] ..court outside, ’cause it was my birthday!

Prosecutor: Yeahhh!

[ the crowd breaks into a chorus of “Happy Birthday To You” ]

Judge Crotchet: [ banging his gavel ] Order! Order! Or I’ll have the bailiff clear the room! [ looking around the room ] Where is the bailiff?

Defendent’s Wife: Uh.. he cleared out of the room!

[ the crowd breaks into raucous laughter ]

Defendent: That’s a good one!

Judge Crotchet: Would someone please go find him?!

Prosecutor: I’ll find him! [ exits courtroom ]

Defense: I’ll find him! [ exits courtroom ] [ others in the courtroom attempt to exit as well ]

Judge Crotchet: [ flabbergasted ] Not everyone! Just one will do, the rest of you can sit.. my goodness.. [ looking at the case file ] Now.. where is this defendent, uh.. Mr. Richard Hertz.

Defense: Uhh.. his name is “Dick”, your Honor.

Judge Crotchet: Alright. Who’s Dick Hertz?

[ the crowd breaks into raucous laughter ]

Judge Crotchet: [ banging gavel ]

Defendent: Uh.. right here, Judge! [ laughs ]

Judge Crotchet: You just go! We don’t need you here!

Defendent: Okay! [ starts to leave ]

Bailiff: [ interceding ] Wait! Wait! Your Honor, he’s.. the de-fend-ent!

Judge Crotchet: Ohh.. well, then, we do need you, you’d better sit down. [ to the bailiff ] Where were you, anyway, Bailiff?

Bailiff: Your Honor, I was emptying the waste-bas-ket!

Judge Crotchet: [ looking at the bailiff carefully ] Do you have an older brother who’s a bailiff?

Bailiff: Yeeeeesss, your Honor.

Judge Crotchet: Yeah, I remember him-

Bailiff: In Night Court.

Judge Crotchet: Yeah, a fine bailiff in Night Court. I hope you’re as good. Now.. Mr. Hertz, is this the first time you’ve been up before me?

Defendent: I don’t know! What time do you usually get up!

[ the crowd breaks into raucous laughter ]

Judge Crotchet: [ banging gavel ] Sit down! Sit down! Now.. perhaps the Court Reporter will please refresh our memory, uh.. and tell us what were the last words of yesterday’s proceedings?

Court Reporter: [ reading the transcript ] Uh.. “Court dismissed until Ten A.M. tomorrow.”

[ the crowd breaks into raucous laughter ]

Judge Crotchet: I meant before it!

Court Reporter: Yes, your Honor.. um.. [ reading ] The Defense stated that Prosecution hasn’t produced a murder weapon or motive. And the Prosecution said, “So what? I bet he did it, anyway.”

[ the crowd chants “Li-ar! Li-ar! Li-ar! Li-ar!” ]

Court Reporter: I am no-ot!

Judge Crotchet: QUIET!! [ bangs gavel ] [ Neighboring Jdge enters the courtroom ]

Neighboring Judge: What.. is going on in here? You’re disrupting my courtroom next door. Where is Judge Hoffmeyer?

Judge Crotchet: Uh.. Judge Hoffmeyer is sick, and I’m substituting.

Neighboring Judge: Well, I want the names of each and every one of these people, I’m going to make sure the regular judge is informed of this! And.. if I hear one more peep out of this courtroom, I am going to come back here and I’ll administer some justice! [ exits courtroom ] [ everyone in court makes “O-o-o-ohhh” noises ]

Judge Crotchet: Well, I hope you’re all happy. Now, shall we get on with this trial?

Defendent: No, let’s forget it!

Judge Crotchet: [ banging gavel ] Silence!! Silence!! Now, Prosecutor.. why haven’t you produced a weapon?

Prosecutor: [ stalling playfully ] Oh, but we talked about that! [ ] Oh, that’s right, you weren’t here! I keep forgetting that! Yeah! I was gonna bring the murder weapon next week! I mean, they have to tag it, and say that it’s evidence and stuff like that.. they wouldn’t even let me touvh it, I guess! But, uh.. uh.. we were just gonna talk about the murder weapon, uh.. this week, uh.. we-we weren’t gonna bring it in until next week! Th-that’s what Judge Hoffmeyer said!

Defense: Your Honor.. are jurors supposed to be asleep?

Judge Crotchet: [ notices one of the jurors is asleep, while others are casually reading newspapers ] Will someone wake up that person?! Please! Wake up! And what are you jurors doing, anyway?! Does Judge Hoffmeyer allow you to read newspapers in court?!Sure! Besides.. mine’s a comic!

Judge Crotchet: You give me that! [ seizes the comic book from the juror ]Hey! That’s mine! I bought it! That’s stealing!

Judge Crotchet: You’ll get it back when court is dismissed! [ ] Excuse me! Excuse me! Perhaps you’d like to show that to everyone? Why don’t you? Come on![ happily ] O-kay! [ ]

Judge Crotchet: Order! I want order! I’ll slap you all with contempt citations so fast, it’ll make your head spin! [ returns to his bench to find his gavel missing ] Now, where is my gavel?

Crowd: I don’t know..

Judge Crotchet: Alright, who took my gavel?! [ the courtroom murmurs in amusement ] Alright, we’re not gonna continue until my gavel is returned.. [ the courtroom giggles ] Alright, I’m gonna put my hands over my eyes.. [ covers his eyes withhi hands ] ..and I want whoever took the gavel.. to return it! Now! [ no one moves ] We can wait all day.. all night, if necessary.. I’m waiting.

[ Defendent’s Wife stealthily returns the judge’s gavel to his bench ]

Judge Crotchet: Is my gavel back, Bailiff?

Bailiff: Yes, it is, your Honor.

Judge Crotchet: Who did it?

Bailiff: She did, your Honor.

[ the crowd is insulted by the Bailiff’s act of snitching ]

Defendent’s Wife: Well, I thought you said nothing would happen if I gave it back!

Judge Crotchet: That’s not what I said. Let’s ask the court reporter what I said.

Court Reporter: You said.. [ reading ] “I want whoever took it to return it now!

Bailiff: [ clears his throat ] Uh, Judge.. I think the defendent’s wife is right. I think the court reporter’s ly-i-i-ing.

Court Reporter: [ outraged ] I am not!

Judge Crotchet: Bailiff! Bailiff, your brother would be ashamed of you! He was such a fine bailiff, I never had any trouble with him! [ Bailiff looks at the clock ] W-will you stop looking at that clock?

Bailiff: We’re supposed to have a fire drill in one minute.

Judge Crotchet: Oh, really?

Bailiff: Yes.

Judge Crotchet: Let me tell you something: before we go anywhere.. I want you all to know that I’ve been in much lower courts that brhaved better than you do.

Defendent: Let’s all get higher in the court!

[ the crowd breaks into raucous laughter ]

Judge Crotchet: [ banging gavel ] Order! Now, listen up! I want those final summations ready for Monday!

Defense: Does it have to be typed?

Judge Crotchet: Yes, it does! And double-spaced! Judge Hoffmeyer will be back on Monday.

Crowd: Awwwwwwww..!!

Defendent’s Wife: Oh wait, we like you! Will you come back soon?

Crowd: Yeaahhhhhh..!!

Judge Crotchet: I don’t think so. [ the court begins to hum collectively ] I think you all have a lot to learn, about something.. uh.. I call, a fellow named.. Mr.. Maturity. Mr. Self-Respect’s friend. Not to forget.. Mr. Good Manners.. Mr. Politeness.. who’s humming? Stop that humming!! WHO’S HUMMING?!!

Defendent: What humming?

Judge Crotchet: What is this?! Can we STOP the humming?!! [ banging gavel repeatedly to no avail ] [ fade ]

SNL Transcripts

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Author: Don Roy King

Don Roy King has directed fourteen seasons of Saturday Night Live. That work has earned him ten Emmys and fourteen nominations. Additionally, he has been nominated for fifteen DGA Awards and won in 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020.

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