The New Jersey Supreme Court ruled last week that Vince Sicari couldn’t serve as a municipal judge for South Hackensack and be a comedian. He chose to leave his post as a judge and told NJ Today Managing Editor that he wasn’t surprised with the ultimate decision.
While Sicari said the Supreme Court decision wasn’t unexpected, he was surprised it was a unanimous ruling. “I thought maybe a couple would see the potential need for the change,” he said.
Sicari had been a municipal judge in the Bergen County town for nearly six years where he ruled on ordinances, traffic offenses and disorderly persons offenses. He said while he believes every job needs a sense of humor, he never went out of his way to be funny on the bench. “Were there moments there where you just had to laugh? Of course. That’s everywhere in life,” he said.
At night, Sicari works predominantly at Carolines on Broadway, saying he’s a staple at that club. He has also been featured on Comedy Central and the ABC program “What Would You Do?”
Sicari said his appearances on “What Would You Do?” were a major factor in the court decision because of the antagonistic characters he played. “I think they were more concerned with the notoriety and the perception that I would be recognized,” he said.
While as an entertainer, Sicari would like to be recognized, the purpose of “What Would You Do?” is to use hidden cameras to see how people react to different situations so the actors can’t be easily recognizable. “I’ve done probably the second most appearances on that show. So we did a really good job of hiding my identity,” he said.
Sicari said the Supreme Court decision and national attention his case has gotten has thrust him into the spotlight, but he’s not sure that will make his comedy career take off. “In terms of what it ultimately meant for my career and whether or not I’m gonna skyrocket, only time will tell. It certainly didn’t hurt. But is it gonna put me in a position of prominence? I don’t think so. Ultimately that comes down to talent and opportunity,” he said.
Throughout his time as a judge, Sicari said he conducted himself properly. “If you look at the decision of the court, I wasn’t fired. I was given a choice. So if I had done anything wrong, they would’ve just dropped the axe. But this was a choice. Not a reprimand, not a sanction, nothing. So I’m very confident I did everything right,” he said.