Splitsider

Monday, March 14th, 2011

Eight Types of Hecklers and the Comedians Who Shut Them Up

In the 2007 documentary Heckler, Joe Rogan says that “the number one thing about hecklers is 100% of them are douchebags." A stand-up comedian's act depends on the audience reaction by nature, but when someone attempts to derail the performer's work, well, that's something a douchebag would do. Still, heckling creates exciting moments of discomfort for the audience, and hecklers have instigated some great moments in comedy (Bryson Turner's comeback) as well as some terrible moments (Michael Richards incident). Whether the outcome is funny, awkward, or awful, the eternal battle between heckler and stand-up is always fun to watch. Here are eight kinds of hecklers, and fifteen different ways of dealing with them.

1. The Instigator
Some hecklers just want to start trouble, so they pick on comedians who are notorious for blowing their tops at hecklers.


Joe Rogan embraces hecklers like few other comedians, and his confrontation with this strange young woman is another drop in the bucket.


Instead of making a joke out of his heckler, George Carlin instead opts to unleash his fury.

2. The Non-Participant
Making an audience laugh is a difficult task in itself, but some hecklers go out of their way to be overly negative and non-participatory toward the comedian.


Rule #1: Always say yes. Jacqueline Novak's heckler must not be aware of this rule, but it makes for a hilarious response.


Zach Galifianakis deals with a girl who would rather be on her cell phone than pay attention to his act by letting her be the center of attention.

3. The Corrector
This kind of heckler thinks they're doing the comedian a favor by interrupting the act to bring up of some kind of ambiguity or inaccuracy.


They're called servers, not waitresses. Also, nobody cares.


Steve Hofstetter mentioned it was 60 below zero when he went to Canada when his heckler asks “Celsius?” Of course the joke would lose all its humor without this key piece of information.

4. The Uptight Fan
Much like The Corrector, this kind of heckler seems to think that right in the middle of the act is a perfectly appropriate time to present their grievances to the comedian.


Okay, this isn't a stand-up clip, but the way Kevin Smith handles a guy who tells him his recent movies suck is worth watching.


Because what better time to accost a comedian for selling his book at Barnes & Noble than right in the middle of his act? (Heckling starts right at 1:00)

5. The WTF?
Some hecklers don't have to say a word to create an awkward moment for everyone.


Take it from Laurie Kilmartin: If you make a joke about how much you love something, be prepared to have that something thrown at your face.

6. The Bringer of Awkwardness
These hecklers often don't have to say much to trigger a complete comedian meltdown.


Kenny Moore has a temper. And a guitar. That's about it.


Bill Hicks lets one "you suck" get the best of him, and his audience gets to see his pent-up venom explode.

7. The Drunk
Most hecklers are at least a little drunk, but some are really, really, really drunk, so drunk that they forget they're at a live show and not watching TV at home with friends.


Ari Shaffir integrates a belligerent female heckler into his act seamlessly. In his video description he says, "She tried passively apologizing after the show and I told her to die."


Amy Schumer came prepared for this lady who had been heckling all night. She aces it.


Some hecklers think about something then yell it out, and others just yell for the sheer thrill of being drunkenly inappropriate. Here’s how Patton Oswalt takes care of the latter. (Heckling begins a little after the 4:00 mark.)

8. The Fake
Some comedians get the best flow by being interrupted, so they actually recruit their own hecklers.


Probably the best way to combat hecklers is to do what Andy Kaufman did — plant fake ones in the audience.

Megh Wright is a writer, TV addict, and Harrisburg native. She currently resides in Brooklyn, New York and is a Gawker TV contributor.

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Tags:

hecklers, standup

  • jf3ig

    I'm at sxsw, and have seen three shows so far. Two of the shows have had audience members who continually interrupt the show. Even when the crowd turns on them! This phenomena should be studied closely, because we need to work hard on legislating their sterilization.

  • cooldude69

    Here's another classic for this list: Patton Oswalt going on an eloquent rant about an idiot who yells "Woohoo!" in the middle of a story. The whole thing is excellent but the heckling part in particular starts at around the 4 minute mark.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eDndsvjyIG4

    • Megh Wright

      Girrrrrl, that's in here.

      • http://www.facebook.com/eamontoplease Eamon Doyle

        Megh, your Oswalt link is dead. Would you please replace it with cooldude's (the hecklepoint is 4:03)?

        • http://twitter.com/megh_wright Megh Wright

          Done. Thanks!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Kris-Collins/1016633273 Kris Collins

    From "I'm Dying Up Here: Heartbreak and High Times in Comedy's Golden Era".

    Ringo Starr made a memorable solo appearance at Sunset one night, arriving so intoxicated that Mike Binder, who was working the door, had to help him to a seat in the back. Starr was seated just as David Letterman took the stage, and the former Beatle immediately began heckling him, which attracted the attention of every comic within earshot. Letterman had a reputation for eviscerating hecklers, and as word spread along the back hallway, other comics started filling into the room to witness the impending bloodshed.

    It wasn't a fair fight. In the spotlight, Letterman couldn't see who the heckler was, so he showed no mercy, and Starr was too drunk to appreciate how badly Letterman was beating him up. Finally, one of the comics took pity and called out, "Hey, Dave, it's Ringo."

    "Oh, that makes sense," Letterman shot back in the direction of Starr. "You ruined your career, and now you've come here to ruin mine."

    • Gratuitously violent

      @Kris Collins. Letterman is a bastard. Smarmy, sickly, pretentious, and unforgivably American. Has too many teeth, thinks he is some sort of god. Tedious, smart ass, sycophantic slime bag.
      Ringo, you say was drunk, he would need to be to be at a Letterman show, he is a real person, Letterman is a TV puppet.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/John-Thompson/589819387 John Thompson

    Pretty sure Andy Samberg was the heckler in this one (starts about 3:47) – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GZLava9q_Qw

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Harry-Cheadle/17401764 Harry Cheadle
  • IBentMyWookie

    I don't know…I think Ari Shaffir's rape quip was worse than anything even the most obnoxious of hecklers would come up with. And the crowd yukking it up with him over it? Blerg.

    • Agent Lana Kane

      Yeah, I got to that part and just quit watching…ugh.

    • ProudIndian

      @IBentMyWookie absolutely. he himself got raped and he doesn't tell others….

    • you suck

      Funny, you had no problem with Carlin's comments about a guy being fucked up the ass against his will. Fake outrage is almost as bad as hecklers.

  • heysuchandsuch

    Interesting article, but when I went to read more on the topic, the first hit I saw was this:

    http://unlikelyspeeches.blogspot.com/2009/03/top-ten-comedian-comebacks-to-hecklers.html

    Ripoff? Mmmmm….close…..

    • Megh Wright

      Wow, someone at some time has thought to compile heckler comebacks on the internet. Who would've thought that could happen!

      Side note: I've been on the receiving end of this (http://splitsider.com/2010/12/meeting-your-own-impersonator-10-great-snl-meta-moments/ vs http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/02/01/snl-celebrity-impersonato_n_816608.html#s233036&title=Sarah_Palin) and I can assure you three things: (1) I don't steal other people's work, (2) the internet repeats itself, and (3) you are a turd.

      • heysuchandsuch

        Both articles start off with the same reference to Michael Richards, and at least 4 of the clips are the same…if yr bringing something original to the discussion, what is it?

        Sure there's plenty of regurgitation and repetition on the web…I just expected more original thought from this site. If I want rehashes of other sites, I'll go to Cracked…..

        • Megh Wright

          Loving the meta-ness here.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Tim-Dufrisne/1468291345 Tim Dufrisne

            seriously. I was just thinking that.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Daniel-Hall/1605914261 Daniel Hall

    You left out the worst hecklers of all, Broad Street Bullies and one of the best moments when a comedian turned it back on a crowd of them and won them back: Bill Burr's legendary battle against a drunk Philly audience a few years ago. Philly hecklers are the most notorious hecklers of all time, they booed and hurled crap at Santa! Veterans stadium even had its own holding cell and courtroom. Bill Burr pulled one of comedic performing's most amazing feats after being booed for close to a half hour, he crushed a Philly audience into applauding him by the end of the night.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/James-Welsh-Williams/810675456 James Welsh Williams

    do all american comedians feel the need to congratulate them selves for inventing any sort of mediocre comeback? in britain when a comedian is not doing well 'heckling' is expected, it is not seen as hurting the delicate emotions of the man or woman you paid to see. These rebuttals are not ground breaking or even great, they mearly demonstrate the basic skills you should have if you willing to go on stage and entertain. because if you fail to entertain or keep the entire room captivated you should expect complaints in one form or another.

    • Youneedtoshutup.

      Hi, with all due respect, please learn proper English, and use it before you write anything up, your grammar and punctuation is complete crap, your sentences are poorly written, and you suck.  By the way, it is "merely," learn to spell.  

      • Noyoudo

        If you are going to be a grammar-nazi, it would be wise to use proper punctuation yourself.

      • Lamp

        The punctuation is poor, the grammar is fine (except for the poor punctuation), and the vocabulary is above what you normally see in comment-fields. When did we become so pedantic that we could not read a thought without criticizing its format?

        • AAAA

          WHEN DID WE STOP CRITICIZING FORMAT?
          The language is beautiful, and it is being butchered by people who do not care. It has gone so far so that poor punctuation and grammar are not merely a result of laziness, but rather of ignorance.

      • ANONYMOUS

        Your grammar is not so hot either.

        I think you meant to write this:
        "Hi, with all due respect, please learn proper English, and use it before you write anything up. Your grammar and punctuation. Your sentences are poorly written, and you suck. By the way, it is "merely". Learn to spell."

        Apparently someone does not know how to use a comma properly.

        In addition, I believe you meant to suggest that James Welsh Williams should lear proper English, and use it AS he writes anything up. It would not do him any good to use the language properly prior to writing, he must do so WHILE writing.

        I do, however, agree with your point. It is extremely annoying, and hugely embarrassing to make spelling errors with words like "merely".

    • Frankbird3

      Hey Limey!!!!! You suck!!!! You can't puncuate!!!!!!!!
      How do you like it???????

    • who cares seriously

       WTF are you talking about nobody is congratulating themselves.
      If you're so prejudice against America stay out of the American corners of the web
      instead of being a total knob.

    • Nona

      I don't really understand this either..

      I'm not impressed at all when a comedian tells a heckler, "I hope you're raped several times today" etc. None of these clips are very entertaining to watch and the comedians don't get any sympathy from me for having someone in the audience yell something out.

      • billdo

        you seem angry. were you raped by several comedians

  • Nx Doyle@facebook

    http://bigmouthery.blogspot.com/2010/06/comedians-vs-hecklers.html
    My contribution last year, featuring some of the ones listed here and a few British comics…who, it must be noted, also don't like hecklers.

    • Megh Wright

      @Nx Doyle@facebook Great post, love it! And the pic up top…you can't really beat that.

  • ProudIndian

    Ari Shaffir came once to India and did not know how to wash his ass. he kept fingering his ass and used the same finger to eat his sandwich. Holy Shit. I was a witness to it Ari. You better dont come, you filthy rotting american comedian!

    • Diaperhead

      You should show him how to do it, you must be good at it as it must be hard to get enough shit out of your ass to season your food.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1077754799 Dishant Sharma

        yeah just the same way you bring out of you're mouth

        • Better Hygenie Please…

          Nevermind the fact that the shit just fills the streets there. You know…nasty fucking country.

  • Joy Keefe@facebook

    I LV IT WHEN SOMEONE HECKLCES MAKES FOR GREAT EASY MATERIAL! But? I ask them:" Where do you work at? Yea, what time do you want me there?"

  • Ryan Arey@facebook
  • Albertine Watson

    I can't help but cringe and laugh simultaneously at the way Louis C.K. deals with hecklers. Amazing stuff.

  • Kathir Kathirvelu@facebook

    Amistad

    La amistad es el tesoro más grande que nadie que afectan a público debe estar bien. Amplitud y lado no hay nada que debe ser cierto de todos los beneficios la vida es el ilakkanamakum amistad es un kontala amistad. Amistad con todo tipo de perjudiciales beneficiosos no a él y vivir felizmente a través de mostrar. Tratar de manipular tienen acceso a la atención y el orgullo. para destruir cualquier tipo de vida sin tener una manera de mostrar que una forma de destruir el campo de fumarolas. Ese es el mejor amigo del aislante
    No estoy allí, así que usted puede pedir. Yo estaba dañado por los beneficiarios. Una gran cantidad de mal que estaba dañado y no hay nadie que le dice muy amable y divertirse. Junto con todo mi amor. En busca de una buena amistad, y vivir mejor.

    Su
    El verdadero amor y la amistad a todos
    Anmaneyan – katirvelu.

  • Kathir Kathirvelu@facebook

    Amistad

    La amistad es el tesoro más grande que nadie que afectan a público debe estar bien. Amplitud y lado no hay nada que debe ser cierto de todos los beneficios la vida es el ilakkanamakum amistad es un kontala amistad. Amistad con todo tipo de perjudiciales beneficiosos no a él y vivir felizmente a través de mostrar. Tratar de manipular tienen acceso a la atención y el orgullo. para destruir cualquier tipo de vida sin tener una manera de mostrar que una forma de destruir el campo de fumarolas. Ese es el mejor amigo del aislante
    No estoy allí, así que usted puede pedir. Yo estaba dañado por los beneficiarios. Una gran cantidad de mal que estaba dañado y no hay nadie que le dice muy amable y divertirse. Junto con todo mi amor. En busca de una buena amistad, y vivir mejor.

    Su
    El verdadero amor y la amistad a todos
    Anmaneyan – katirvelu.

  • Kyle Logan@facebook

    Bill burr was the greatest destroying Philly and all of them jackasses
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0S4nSzE4N-o

  • Emerson Dameron@twitter

    The drunks generally don't understand how stand-up works and often think they're helping with the show. Depending on how many friends they have in the audience, aggressively tooling them out can easily lead to a #6 experience.

  • Esat Yıldırım@facebook

    The drunks generally don't understand how stand-up
    http://www.filmdiziseyret.gen.tr/

  • Zahid55555
  • Kenneth Roggers@facebook
  • http://profile.yahoo.com/YUZKFB7TI6JIJPX7YT4TX4FQJQ avocat

    Jimmy Carr – best *ever* - 
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oY9mqrarjhQ

  • http://twitter.com/Albamedia_net AlbaMedia

    Check this site for cool softwares and games:
    http://albamedia.net/

  • Sweetestsadist

    #6 is more about a comedian type than it is a heckler type.

  • http://northierthanthou.com/ northierthanthou

    Awesome stuff!

  • Star87311

    Totally forgot about Jimmy Carr's compilation of destroying Hecklers. He is the MAN. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/vastwholesale Lucy Lee

    Philly hecklers are the most notorious hecklers of all time, they booed
    and hurled crap at Santa! Veterans stadium even had its own holding
    cell and courtroom.. ..
    The whole thing is excellent but the heckling part in particular starts at around the 4 minute mark.
    wholesale electronics

  • Noodle978645

    886753421354236000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000

  • Shohel Ahmod

    The author of this song called it the "National Anthem" of his country
    (Czech Republic). Just to tell you what the song is about, it is a
    "surreal tale of a mysterious man-eating (especially coming from Prague)
    monster living on a swamp". You may believe it or not :).

  • Comedian Spotlight

    Amazing Video :)

  • blumercury

    I enjoyed the heckling. I guess I'm cruel but I like it when people stand up for themselves in any way possible, even if it means saying some crude things. They're just jokes and some people ruin a comedian's show by being stupid so they deserve a little spotlight on them so they'll sit down and shut up. If they don't like the show, leave. Otherwise they're just wasting the comedians' time and the audiences' time and money having to deal with them. People come for a night of fun and relaxing, not to feel uncomfortable about some douche bag's outbursts.

  • somnathbhatti

    hi dear lucky lee as your frindship like this

  • http://www.facebook.com/xphile1002 Bridget Stute
  • kirby

    How is Sam Kinison not on this list?!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3tOcZz4m11A

  • jim

    Some of these comedian assholes sound like their 10 years old. Just gross, man.

  • SweetDublin

    I was watching through all these things and I strangely noticed I didn't find any of the comedians responses funny whatsoever, it was but a mere concentration of 50 times the word fuck combinated with some small not so great jokes about the heckler.
    Just my 2 copper coins.

  • Eric Oren

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=LI_-ltxifY0

    check out some no name club comic doin it too!

  • George

    jimmy carr is also awesome when it comes to hecklers

  • max power

    "Ari Shaffir :She tried passively apologizing after the show and I told her to die."

    Cool behavior bro.

  • Mickey

    Making fun of rape isn't fun if it's a man or woman. Funny thing is I never heard of most of these people who going to their shows?

  • Rob Rose

    There's a much better Amy heckler clip where she rips someone apart for calling her a whore.