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Literary Falafel
Tuesday, December 19, 2006   |    Fiction

Famous Comics Speak Out on Handling Hecklers

by Shap Sweeney

jerryseinfeldstandup.jpgJerry Seinfeld
If a guy heckles me, I never talk to him. I talk to the audience. Say something like, “Hey, what’s the deal with this guy heckling me?” Try to pick out something specific about the guy doing the heckling. Like, “Hey, did you ever notice how this guy heckling me always says, ‘You suck’ instead of something clever? What’s up with that?” Or, “What’s the deal with cellphones on belt clips? Are people now wearing them again to be funny or as some hipster thing, or did this guy just not notice when they went out of style before they were invented?”

Dane CookDane Cook
Whoaa! When a dude, heckles you, you just gotta be all: “Hey buddy! Be cool!” You know? It’s like when you’re with a chick and she’s going down on you and you’re all, “Whoa babe, how about I pull over to the side of the road first!” Remember when you were a kid and you got those annoying Kool-Aid moustaches! That’s what a heckler’s like! You just gotta be like, “Take it easy dude!” And flash him the Sufi! Rock ’n’ roll!

Robin Williams
Robin Williams
Hecklers. Ooooh. It’s all about not missing a beat. To the gentleman in question, (Deep booming voice:) “Good sir, please, American Reject auditions begin tomorrow, you’re a day early … (Voice of old British lady:) Oh dear, you naughty, naughty boy, you naughty heckler, come to the stage for your spanking … (Arabic voice:) Yes, this is your friendly taxi driver. Ahmed, I will kindly drive you somewhere where people give a shit what you have to say … (Voice of little kid:) Please, daddy, please stop embarrassing us in front of all these people … (Voice of Frenchman:) Au contraire … This ese ridiculous … I challenge you … En garde!

Lewis BlackLewis Black
What the hell is going through the minds of hecklers?! They’re like a bunch of Republicans debating GAY MARRIAGE on the Senate floor while the COUNTRY is under ATTACK! You just wanna look at the them and say, “YOU … DAMN … IDIOT! It’s people like you that DUMBED this country down so much that a typical American kid couldn’t FIND the U.S. on a map if you SHOWED it to him! Apparently we need government-issue comedy clubs for the idiots: the Halliburton Ha-Ha Hole anyone? Because this shit … AIN’T WORKIN’! Having idiots like you in here makes about as much sense as attacking the one country that DIDN’T HAVE NUKES!”

Yakov SmirnoffYakov Smirnoff
America is wonderful; here hecklers are gentle and only shout at you! In my country, sometimes hecklers would drag comics off the stage and into the night, never to be heard from again. In America, when someone heckles me, I say, “Please, keep shouting insults at me! What a wonderful country!” In my country, hecklers were allowed to shoot comics dead right on the stage. See, in my country the hecklers were always K.G.B.

Bill CosbyBill Cosby
The thing about hecklers, see, is the hecklers are the hecklers, and they’re going to keep goin’ till you figure out how to make ’em stop, see. One time, I was onstage, performing, see, and this big fella stands up and starts to heckle. Well this fella was about the size of a bear, coulda passed for one, and he starts shoutin’ all kinds a this and that and the other. Well my youngest, Camille, was on stage with me that day, see, because it was Bring Your Daughter to Work Day. And she gets startled like little girls do. And she loses her favorite doll there on the stage, see. Well, about this time, I draw the fella into a discussion. I ask him what he does for a living, and he says he owns a bike shop, see. I ask him, “Have I ever been to your shop and disrupted your workday?” And the fella says no. I say, “Well, then kindly don’t disrupt mine.” Well that quiets the fella down. And just about then, Camille comes crawlin’ out from under the stage with her doll in her hand and a big smile on her little face.

Larry the Cable GuyLarry the Cable Guy
When I git heckled, which I done got once or twice when I done got in a pickle, I told a somnabitch, “Hey feller!” I stopped fer a minute so da feller’d catch up to me and wut I’s sayin’. I continyed, “Git’r-done!” I says, and the crowd charred fer me. Then I says, “Hey feller, wut cums ’tween yer Mama and her skivvies?” ’Fore the feller could answer I says, “Me!” That shets him up right quick, so I says, “Git’r-done!” That got her done.

Sarah SilvermanSarah Silverman
When you get heckled, your comeback all depends on whether the heckler is white or black. Or Asian. Or Jewish. Or a Nazi. Or pregnant. Or has a fatal disease. Or is gay. Or transgender. Or is an illegal alien. Because if you do it in an ironic way, you can totally say whatever you want to anybody, including a gay mixed-race Jewish crack baby with AIDS. You can even rag on one of those if it were to heckle you. Provided you do it in an ironic way. In fact, I really ripped one of those a new one once. I mean, it was heckling me first, of course.

Shap Sweeney is a New York based person who works in creative development for television. He is also a writer. He has to spell his first name out for people pretty much every time he meets anyone. This has made life quite a struggle, which is why he plans to retire at 29.