Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Heckle

Fun Tip: If you go to a comedy show and get wasted, try as hard as you can to Not. Say. Anything.

I was closing out a show a little while ago and a table of drunk college kids were busy taking Facebook pictures right next to the stage. They started screaming. I had to stop and tell them to leave. They didn't. I asked the crowd if they should go. The crowd roared. They stayed. Eventually, a member of the audience dragged them out. The show? Still fun and people had a good time.

SO... Imagine you're at a movie and the theater is full. Do you start taking pictures? Do you start screaming at the screen because someone in the movie is doing something and "My friend Amber is so toooootally like that!"? No. Because that would piss off the rest of the people... and the actors aren't even there? Would you do it at a play?! (no one goes to plays anymore... you should go to plays and get some culture.)

Most hecklers aren't the kind we think of first, the pissed off "You're not funny!" kind (though there are those, too. My pro gay marriage bit usually brings one out every few months) No, it's usually someone who's just drunk and wants to play along. They can't shut up and it ruins timing, sours the crowd around them, and puts the comic in the awkward position of handling them. Smash them down and you look like an ass, be too easy and you lose control. It's a narrow, wobbly tightrope over a cavern of drunk chicks and d-bags.

Hecklers are weird because it's almost never a case of a comic being unfunny. Usually, it's the opposite. The comic is good, their set feels like a conversation (it isn't) and the audience feels like a part of it (they are... just not participatory) so someone who is drunk (and a little selfish/dumb) may start to feel that A) not enough attention is on them at that particular moment, B) they see this as a party and one person just happens to be talking through it, and/or C) just have no concept of human decency.

Now, if you've read my rant (thank you) consider yourself rewarded with a collection of some of my favorite heckler videos. I start first with the best explanation of heckling ever by Louis CK.

And the legendary Hicks freakout:

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