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Jeff McCobb

Ronald Gladden From Jury Duty Reveals The One Instance On The Show That Made Him Mad

A still frame of Ronald Gladden from Jury Duty.

Ronald Gladden went through a lot on the set of Jury Duty. Unbeknownst to him, the trial on which he became the jury’s foreperson was entirely staged, and a group of improv actors put him through a series of bizarre and hilarious encounters until it was finally revealed that he had been duped for the sake of some very entertaining television. You’d think one might be angry after an experience of such deception, but it wasn’t the deception that bothered Ronald. Rather, he was angry with himself for not recognizing one of the actors tasked with pulling the wool over his eyes: Kirk Fox from NBC’s Parks and Recreation.

I recently caught up with Ronald to celebrate his newfound success in the entertainment industry. He’s been rubbing elbows with some of the biggest names in Hollywood, has people thirsting over him online, and even did a Mint Mobile commercial with Ryan Reynolds. Since the show ended, he’s been asked repeatedly if being duped upset him, and he’s consistently maintained that it did not. However, it turns out there was one aspect of production that did make him mad, as he explained:

So everybody asked me if there was ever an instance when I was mad, and I've been telling them ‘no.’ But, truthfully speaking, the one thing that did make me mad is me not recognizing Kirk Fox. And it's not like I'm a huge Parks and Rec fan. That's where I fell in love with Ben Schwartz, his character Jean-Ralphio. I absolutely love him, that’s what made the show for me. And so obviously I saw Sewage Joe at times but he's not a main character. And so like, yeah, once I found out… I was just like, I can't believe I didn't recognize him.

In Ronald’s defense, once production became aware of the fact that he watches Parks and Recreation, they had Kirk Fox take a backseat to avoid the risk of Ronald catching on. This is all according to his co-star James Marsden, who recently explained to me how they took steps to make sure Ronald’s Parks and Rec fandom didn’t ruin the surprise. And he’s right in saying that Kirk Fox’s character, Sewage Joe, wasn’t exactly a lead on the series, but he did appear in eight episodes, and had a few hilarious and iconic moments.

As it turns out, he’s less of a Parks and Rec fan and more of a Jean-Ralphio fan, which is fitting, as the beloved character arguably made famed improviser Ben Schwartz’ career. In fact, a Jean-Ralphio joke almost made it into Sonic 2, and Schwartz had to actively avoid playing another version of Jean-Ralphio for Space Force on Netflix. The fact that Schwartz is an improviser and stars alongside James Marsden in the Sonic franchise is all just kind of a strange coincidence, and makes it even more shocking that Ronald never caught on. 

While Ronald Gladden may have been “mad,” he was generally a good sport about the whole operation, and even returned to do a commentary track for Jury Duty. It really is one of the year’s best feel good TV shows, and you can watch right now on Amazon’s Freevee! The application and content therein is free, and if you’re a Prime member, all Freevee content will already be available through Amazon. If you’re not a Prime member and find your curiosity piqued, we’ve got the lowdown on the Prime plans and what’s included. 

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