It Sure Has Been A While Since 'The Tonight Show' Did A Judge Ito JokeCommentary • Opinion • ISSUE 49•07 • Feb 12, 2013 By Lance Ito, Superior Court Judge, Los Angeles County Did anyone watch The Tonight Show the other night? Jay interviewed Seth MacFarlane and Jenna Elfman, and the usual comedy bits were sprinkled around, and I have to say it was a fine evening of viewing. And yet, something was missing. Did anyone else feel that way? Because for me it just didn't have the impact of one of the great shows they did, say, 17 or 18 years ago.And I think I know why this is: When was the last time the country got a good, hearty belly laugh from a Judge Ito joke on The Tonight Show? I’m not positive because I sometimes fall asleep with Jay on, but I think it was July 27th, 1998, when he mentioned Clinton being subpoenaed for grand jury testimony in the Lewinsky affair and said, “You know what’s worse? In charge of this whole jury: Judge Ito!” A good laugh was had by all.Kind of makes you realize that it sure has been a while since The Tonight Show did a Judge Ito joke, hasn’t it? They should do another one.Seriously, Judge Ito is a good reference to make. The O.J. Simpson trial was the Trial of the Century, after all. Everybody watched it. People know the name Judge Ito still, trust me. And while some people may dismiss Judge Ito as a bygone topical reference, I think there are still fresh and original ways you can make a Judge Ito joke that maybe the The Tonight Show writers hadn't considered yet.You know, maybe Jay—or David Letterman, too, come to think of it—could do a recurring sketch called something like “What Would Ito Say?” where they bring up important news stories from the past few days, and then they guess what Judge Ito would have to say about them, with really funny joke answers.Or, I don’t know, they could use me to settle disputes. Like if Jay and his bandleader disagree about something, they could have it adjudicated People’s Court-style by an actor portraying me. Or, you know, by me. I’d be up for that.And remember the old “Here come de Judge” routine from Laugh-In? There’s a whole generation that hasn’t seen that yet, and what could be funnier than doing it with a real judge? Like, for accuracy. I already have the judge part down perfect, so all that would be left is the comedy. And I could wear the old-fashioned white judge wig and maybe have a giant gavel that makes a loud “thud” noise and the room shakes like an earthquake when I pound it.Hey, that’s pretty good, actually. I like that idea.By the way, if Jimmy Kimmel or Jimmy Fallon liked those ideas, that would be great too. Or Conan. Though I’m sure their writers can think of plenty of great ideas. I’m just giving suggestions. I just hate to see the opportunity wasted, is all. Like when O.J. was arrested again in 2007 and went to jail in 2008, that there was a perfect chance to start up again with the Ito jokes, but there was nothing. I know I wasn’t involved in that new trial, but it was a great time to remind everyone about the hilarious days of Itomania.And I haven’t even mentioned the Dancing Itos! Those guys were a Tonight Show staple in the mid-’90s. It was the hottest streak in all of Leno’s run. What about a triumphant return of the Dancing Itos? There have been so many new dances since then, like that Beyoncé put-a-ring-on-it dance, so it would actually be a timely gag. Though if you ask me, there isn’t much time left to do a “Gangnam Style” parody that still feels current. That right there is a reason to get moving on this. Maybe the dancers could have those blue jackets on over the robes! That would look funny. But again, I’m just throwing out ideas to get the whole creative process started.It’s not like my life isn’t good fodder for jokes. Any TV writer would be welcome to call my office and ask about my caseload. We get some goofy ones, I can tell you that much. Most of them you kind of have to see to get it, and there aren’t cameras in the courtroom like with O.J., so it’s tough to get across, but man. They don’t call it “Hollyweird” for nothing.So, it’s your move, comedy. You should really ask yourselves if you can afford to drop this ball. I could also maybe drive onstage in a Ford Bronco and honk and wave and all that.