Image by Tara Jacoby, featuring the shade artist at a young age.

I haven’t checked, but I’m almost certain Shade Court is the only branch of government still standing. If that’s the case, hi, I’m in charge now. This is the new national anthem, healthcare is free, I’ve sent Paul Ryan to Cuba and jalapeño poppers can now be used as currency. This is Judge Brown’s America.

In this week’s Shade Court, the sportsmen are back, Reese Witherspoon flexes her Southern roots and if you want something done right, you have to throw the shade yourself.

Shade Court Docket #2017JZ000035

Images via McDonalds and Shutterstock.

The Case: Someone hacked into the McDonald’s twitter account and fired off a tweet disparaging Donald Trump and his petite hands.

The Defendant: Vocativ

The Evidence:

The Deliberation: Gather ‘round and let us learn an important lesson about not letting other people make you look silly.

The actual article here does not cite the tweet as shade, presumably because the author is an ardent Shade Court reader, knows nothing about shade or simply has some common sense. Now, I don’t want to rag on social media editors specifically because they can be great and lord knows I’m not trying to analyze the click rate of the engagement Snapchat analytics.

This is more an example of why you don’t let other people handle shit that would be better for you to handle yourself. You gotta control your brand with Beyoncé-level precision—you can’t put blue lights on black girls. Don’t let someone step on your toes and if they do, you have to re-commandeer the shit á la Tyra Banks snatching her show back from Rita Ora.

Do not let fallacious declarations of shade happen to you! Do not let some goober who thinks they have a handle on “millennial slang” make you look like a fool. If you’re going to look like a fool, look like a fool on your own accord. Lord knows that’s how I live my life.

The Ruling: Not shade

Shade Court Docket #2017JZ000036

Images via Getty.


This might get confusing but stay with me. Or don’t. It’s just the sportsmen. Bret Bielema coaches the Arkansas football team. (Is it the University of Arkansas? Arkansas State? The Arkansas Seminary School? The Arkansas Culinary Institute? Who knows! More to the point, who cares?) Seeing as how it’s time for the student athletes who play football to actually do the student part of their job for which they don’t get paid, Bret was relaxing by watching some basketball.


During the Arkansas versus Kentucky contest, Kentucky was kicking the ass of Arkansas and one Arkansas player handled his frustration by basically smacking a Kentucky player in the face. Healthy!

Bret, who as far as I can tell, doesn’t have anything to do with any of this, offered his two cents which amounted to accusing the referees of favoritism.

The Defendant: NBC Sports

The Evidence:

The Deliberation: For starters, that’s just a bad tweet, shade or not. I understand #WoooPig is some sort of encouraging exclamation that probably seemed pretty damn clever and endearing in 1978, but now it just sounds like some like you can’t quote Babe correctly.


The language in Bielema’s tweet is so dumb and clunky it took me a second to even understand what he was trying to say.

I am disappointed in both the sportsman who tweeted this dumb tweet and the sportsman who wrote this headline. The sportsmen really cannot get a consistent handle on this can they? Maybe it’s because I’m not speaking to them in a language they understand. Want to run some shade drills, guys? Learn how to dunk those shade baskets? Throw shade like a perfect spiral? We can all high-five after, I promise! I will even do that weird, homoerotic towel-flicking thing I’ve seen in all the sports movies.

Just let me help you.

The Ruling: Not shade

Shade Court Docket #2017JZ000037

Images via Getty.

The Case: Reese Witherspoon was on The Late Late Show to promote that show about rich white ladies in the bay area who love drama and staring off cliffs. During the interview, James Corden brought up the idea of another Legally Blonde movie, which, let’s be clear, should absolutely not happen. Tony Goldwyn was also on the show I assume to discuss last night’s absolutely insane episode of Scandal. He pitched an idea of a sort of Kellyanne Conway-type spin on the Elle Woods character.

This is how Reese responded:

The Defendant: Elle magazine

The Evidence:

The Deliberation: On an only semi-related note: How much time do you think the Elle staff spends looking for stories they can relate back to Legally Blonde and Elle Woods?


Now, if you had simply presented me with the transcript of this conversation I almost certainly would have ruled against this being shade—but the video, the video changes everything. It’s all in the delivery, folks.

An important detail here is that no one other than Tony Goldwyn really picked up on Reese’s little dig. The audience didn’t laugh, James Corden said nothing and even Tony’s reaction was small. That’s because Reese didn’t deliver the line like some big goofy joke, although she easily could have.

No, she didn’t drop that line and then immediately turn to the camera, making a sassy-type face and wait for everyone to realize. Instead, she the words gently rolled off her tongue: “And people like Elle Woods,” with an unassuming tone followed by a delicate chuckle. It is the same way someone would share the news that the sky is, in fact, blue today and oh, the mailman comes at around 11:30 am in these here parts, didn’t you know?


She could have said that exact same thing to Kellyanne Conway’s face and there’s a 66 percent chance Kellyanne would have kept that deranged smile on her face without picking up on anything. Reese’s shady southern roots were showing here and I haven’t been this proud of her since...well, literally ever.

Her delivery was flawless and in that, the shade was made.

The Ruling: Shade

Shade Court Docket #2017JZ000038

Images via Getty and The Weather Channel.

The Case: I hear the northeastern portion of the United States got a bit of snow this week.


The Weather Channel named the storm—a decision Stephen Colbert took umbrage with. He argued that as The Weather Channel is not a government organization, they don’t actually have the right to name storms. He ragged on them for a bit and soon after, The Weather Channel responded by naming an impending storm “Winter Storm Colbert” along with this important report:

“It’s impossible to say exactly how this storm is going to perform, but our experts here have assigned it the name Colbert because very early forecasts are indicating that the storm starts small, really small,” Niziol continued. “But after a few false starts in the Chicago area, the system will eventually move on toward New York, where it looks like Colbert will build momentum on the back of a much bigger and better lead-in storm.”

The Defendant: The Huffington Post

The Evidence:

The Deliberation: I mean look, I’m not going to act like that wasn’t pretty clever. They’re scientists—I expect them to be able to craft extended metaphors poking fun at late night hosts who disparage them.


Obviously the problem is they decided to call the storm Colbert. If they had named it something else but kept the joke, maybe I wouldn’t have just broken my gavel in half out of frustration.

More than this not being shade, I’m just upset about the first line of the Huffington Post article:

It’s raining shade.

What? No, seriously, what in the hell, hades or any other cultural or religious understanding of a bad afterlife residence is that supposed to mean?


Further, why would you say it’s raining shade when the entire article revolves around snow? Must I do everything, including coming up with a more logical way to bastardize my beloved shade?

The Ruling: Not shade