What The Heck Is Up With Hecklers at Comedy Shows?
Statler and Waldorf...the O.G. hecklers.
When it comes to the world of stand-up comics there is something almost all of them have in common. Hecklers. At one point or another, a comedian has shut a heckler down from the stage and now, we are calling them out. Hecklers are completely annoying but not just that, they're disruptive to the comic that's in the zone doing their job and they ruin it for the rest of the crowd that paid to see a show. Not cool. Census says that most heckling happens when someone is drunk but even if you aren't saucy and you are thinking about "getting your heckle on," you should pretty much think about shutting the fuck up. But you don't have to just take our word for it so we asked the pros what they think of hecklers and if they've ever heard of this breed of a-hole "fan boys/gals" that shout out for attention simply so they can brag about it later. Can you imagine? Maybe when you hear their side, you'll think first about adding your "two cents" in the next time you are out at a comedy show.
Fortunately, I've never experienced people seeking out to get burned but that's annoying because it then becomes a whole thing about that individual fan. That's the worst part about heckling. It's not even what you are doing to the comedian because 99% of comedians can handle it just fine. And 99% of the time the comedian will win. But really, you are distracting the rest of the audience from the experience and it's not about you. They're paying money to see the comedian on stage and they don't want to hear "Joe Fuckface" decide to try out his best material from the crowd when he gets drunk.
Wow. I haven't heard of people who heckle simply for interaction with a comic but it doesn't surprise me because well, people aren't asshole but...yeah, some people are assholes. Those people probably just like that person so much that negative attention is still attention. So if this person feels that if they jump up and say something nice, they won't have access to this person. But if they yell out, "You're a dick!" or they try to beat the guy to the punchline to his joke, then they'll have that guy's attention. Then the comic ends up turning his comedic energy onto the person and that just made their day. Then they'll go on-line and go, "Oh my god! Joe Rogan just talked about me and my mom and called me flaming ass weed! Oh my god my day was made!" How weird is that? I don't get it, but it doesn't surprise me. I will never understand people.
What's weird with hecklers is that sometimes they go against the wrong comic and then the comic rips them apart. But the bad thing is, a lot of these hecklers are drunk and stupid and if the comic calls them an asshole, they hear a laugh and they think, "Hey, I'm pretty funny!" And that encourages them to heckle for the rest of the show. They don't know that they were the butt of the laugh. I just it happened at my last show and after one joke this guy yelled out, "Boo!" And immediately another guy yelled out to him, "Shut the fuck up!" And that took care of that for the whole show! I thought, wow, that's more precise and to the point than anything I could've come up with. Sometimes it's the old classics that work!
Hecklers are pretty common because there is always someone like that. It depends sometimes if you are doing later shows too because the drunker people get, the more likely it is to happen. I got more of it when I was younger but there are definitely a percentage of people that feel like they're adding to a show by heckling. For some reason, people are fairly intimidated by me so I don't get as many hecklers as other people might. I don't know why people are scared of me but there's always been this weird thing where it's like, "Oh don't fuck with her! She's crazy or something!" So I have that going for me I guess!
The moral of the story here people? When you go pay your money to see a comedy show all you need to remember is that all of the people around you also paid money to see a show. And you aren't the main event. The comic on stage is. And that's their job. So what you need to do is just sit there, enjoy a drink and possibly some food, laugh, and repeat.
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene each week with music news, trends, artist interviews and concert listings. We'll also send you special ticket offers and music deals.