The opening statement by the prosecution was a punch in the gut. “F—ing punks!” was how John Guy began a dramatic 30-minute recitation of the state’s case against George Zimmerman. “These a–holes. They always get away.” The opening statement by defense attorney Don West was devoid of emotion. It was a dull, yet methodical two-hour journey through the evidence that support Zimmerman’s version of events. And it started with a dumb and inappropriate knock-knock joke.

WEST: Let me say, I would like to tell you a little joke. I know how that may sound a bit weird in this context under these circumstances. But I think you’re the perfect audience for it. As long as you don’t — if you don’t like it or don’t think it’s funny or inappropriate that you don’t hold it against Mr. Zimmerman. Hold it against me if you want, but not Mr. Zimmerman. I have your assurance you won’t.

Here’s how it goes: Knock knock. Who’s there? George Zimmerman. George Zimmerman who? All right. Good. You’re on the Jury.

Nothing? That’s funny. After what you folks have been through the last two or three weeks.

Zimmerman defense attorney Don West (Gary W. Green/AP)
Zimmerman defense attorney Don West (Gary W. Green/AP)

No. That wasn’t funny. Upon the return from a lunch recess, West apologized to the court for the lame joke. But it was an inauspicious start to one of the most watched cases of the last year. West’s goal today appeared to be the start of trying to create a shadow of doubt in the prosecution’s case. He proactively played Zimmerman’s call to the Sanford Police Department’s non-emergency phone line and plotted statements on a timeline. He showed a picture of Zimmerman’s bloodied nose. He said the reason there was no blood on Trayvon’s hands was because they were not bagged on that rainy Feb. 26, 2012 night.

But Guy made it clear in his opening statement for the prosecution that witnesses and evidence would reveal Zimmerman’s “tangled web of lies.” Now we get to watch the state make its case.

Follow Jonathan Capehart on Twitter.

Jonathan Capehart is a member of the Post editorial board and writes about politics and social issues for the PostPartisan blog.