Please never come up to me after the show and tell me you thought you were helping my show. I promise you, I have plenty to say without your help.
Last night I was doing a show in a hotel bar where a company party had been there since happy hour. The bar stuff did their best to try to get this group to calm down but it was still pretty loud in the back of the room by the time the show started. Not much they can do since this group had spent a lot of money already and it wasn’t exactly a packed house of comedy fans without them.
The feature had to take the worst brunt of the silent roar in the back of the room, as by the time I hit the stage many of them were quieted down. I start doing my show and it is going reasonably well. Since many of them seemed tired from work/drinking, it was kind of hard to keep a consistent roll, but I was getting some big laughs. I knew what this show was all about. I’ve done quite a few like it. Being able to thrive in situations like this is what being a pro is about.
Then comes my heckler. He starts interjecting, which as those of you that have seen me know I handle fine. He was a more difficult heckler though, as he would tell me things about his life. It’s called non-sequiturs. (did I mention he was drunk?) It was one of those nights where my improv skills were on fire and I was getting huge laughs making fun of what this guy was saying. At one point he said he was from Corpus Christi. I mentioned that I figured that the people of his fine city must have had a telethon to raise money to send his ass away. Hmm, let’s send this jackass to Wisconsin in February.
I told him I had spent a couple of days in corpus Christi on my honeymoon and I was told by the authorities there not to hit the beach because the gulf was filled with jelly fish at the time. I told him currently I would rather be waist deep in the water being stung by jellyfish then to have to deal with him any longer. The guy continued on…
At one point he mentioned that his wife is the boss of him. She hadn’t said a word to me, as she sat next to him, as he blathered on. I said if that is the case would you (looking at wife) please tell him to shut his Texas sized pie hole. That got an applause break and then she got up and left with him following her.
After the show I am talking to another comic friend who had come by to catch up with me when my heckler buddy appears by my merch table and starts in with how he was just trying to help the show. He said his wife (they were staying in the hotel) was very upset with him. I told him I didn’t know what he wanted me to say to him, but if wanted absolution he wasn’t getting it from Father Scott.
I Never give a heckler any encouragement when they offer up they thought they had helped the show. Sure it might create less conflict but I also don’t want to encourage them to do it again. I always tell them that I am really good at my job and I never have their part in my script. He then says to me well you weren’t doing very well and you did a lot better after I started talking to you.
That made me pretty livid. I responded with I have tried to be nice to you, but that last comment is complete bullshit. I put on one hell of a show and the only thing that kept if from being better was your drunkass interrupting my flow. I stared at him for a minute then I turned away and started talking again to my friend. He tried to apologize, I told him what he said was totally wrong and I never let him off the hook, as he finally slunk away. Fuck him. There is a fragile thing going on when you are onstage, especially when you are in a hotel bar where there isn’t total concentration going on by everyone in the audience. To have to standup for an hour and make that work well is a tightrope. Some guy throwing out constant non-sequiturs has got a great chance of damaging this comedy ecosystem.
It is one thing to disrespect me onstage but you will not do the same to me offstage.
(CUE: All comedians reading this will now stand and do the slow clap while me, your triumphant hero walks out of the room.)