Jokes about lawyers are well-documented. Jokes from lawyers — that’s a different story. Actually, that’s this story. Meet Troy Walker (JD ’11), a lawyer who tells jokes — for a living.
He’d been joking around long before he entered the University of Denver Sturm College of Law in 2008.
“I’ve liked doing comedy since fifth grade or so,” Walker says. “I used to love sketch shows and stand-up when I was a kid. I remember re-enacting scenes from ‘Ace Ventura: Pet Detective.’”
By his junior year at Denver’s South High (he shares this shout out, “South High Rebels ’03 forever!”), he was serious enough to call comedy clubs and offer his services. “They all said I had to be 21, so the dream was deferred for a while.”
Not long after his 21st birthday, he performed at his first open-mic at the Squire Lounge on East Colfax Avenue. It didn’t go well.
“It was an unmitigated disaster,” Walker says. “I did about five minutes, got laughs from about 10 people in a room of around 80 and was promptly forgotten by those same people, but only after the host made fun of how bad I was. I thought I did great, though, and I was definitely coming back. I’ve been doing it ever since.”
The gigs have gotten better since then: Walker is a regular at Denver’s two Comedy Works clubs; last summer he performed at Red Rocks Amphitheater in Morrison as part of a Film on the Rocks event; and in April 2012 he was part of a group of Denver comedians who traveled to the Bridgetown Comedy Festival in Portland, Ore.
So how did this jester end up with a JD? Well, in between those calls to comedy clubs, Walker also took a business law class at South High. “I really liked it. I had a good time with it.”
Enough that when he entered Metropolitan State University of Denver in 2003, he “took every law course” offered there.
“I loved those classes,” he says. “Some of my professors suggested I think about law school.”
Since graduating from Sturm in 2011, Walker has taken some part-time law gigs for daytime work, but he’s putting most of his effort into comedy. Walker says he finds the two fields similar and complementary.
“Both are heavily focused on thought and viewing all angles. To write a good joke, you have to look at a premise every way possible. And with a good legal argument, you have to see all sides to get the best line of argument for your client. Law school made me a better comic, and comedy has made me a better public speaker.”
He’s even found comedy useful, especially in the high-stress world of law. “If you can make people around you laugh, it makes it easy to make friends, defuse situations, and deflect social criticism and pressures,” he says. “Making people laugh is a good time.”
While at DU, Walker interned in the Denver District Attorney’s office and liked it. “I believe prosecutors have an opportunity to do a tremendous amount of good. Also, the courtroom is a blast.”
And yes, he has a joke to share (though it took him a while to find one appropriate for print): “I’m not very good with girls. I’m an idiot. I’m the absolute worst. I don’t think anyone has ever had less game than me on the face of the planet. Like, if I had a superpower, it would be being a platonic friend.”