I have been thinking of my next blog post for a few days and last night I was presented with the perfect subject: Dealing with Hecklers. At my gig last night there was a gentleman in the crowd who would add his own comment onto the end of every joke that the other acts peformed.
Drink may have been an influcencer but it is highly likely that he was just an ass. So...what should you do?
Naturally, you can ignore them and try the best you can to weather through the torrent of shite coming out of their mouth and continue with your set. OR you can attack them. So here are my tips for Dealing with Hecklers.
1. The Audience Is On Your Side
This is very useful to know. The Audience has come to a comedy show...to watch comedy. They're not there to listen to some random dude try to demonstrate why he thinks he's funny. If the audience is on your side, they will cheer when you deal with the heckler. They will really love it if you put him down so hard his grandchildren still feel the burn. Use the audience. You're not alone.
2. What Are They Saying/Doing?
If they're heckling throughout the gig, watch them. Study them. Maybe they're walking around, raising their hand, talking to people around them. The more you know about them the more you can use against them. Make it personal.
3. Their Appearance
It seems low, but it isn't. Hecklers should be dispatched with quickly. If you can smoothly cut down a heckler and then get on with your set then you've done your job. The easiest way to do this is to have a go at them. Their hairstyle, their clothes. The gentleman from last night had a beard and a shaved baled head, so I asked him "Are you going for the upside-down look?" and people loved it. Easy, but devastating.
4. Ask Them Questions
If you're struggling to pick on them, talk to them. Don't be afraid of the heckler: Remember Point 1. Ask them what they do for a living. I'm sure you can find a way to twist it to make them look like the idiot that they are.
5. Insult Them
Sneaky insults are cheeky and easy. Maybe later on in your set you can have little jabs. The consistent insults will slowly deflate his self-esteem as he begins to realise that he isn't welcome in the comedy gig and that his parents probably didn't love him.
6. Move On
This is probably the most difficult tip. You might be tearing the heckler a new arsehole but at some point you're gonna have to go to your material or get off the stage. If you get a big cheer, consider him beaten, and move on. If he continues, there's a fork in the road where you can decide to go super saiyan on him or just move on. Chances are though, he'll have been put in his place so well that he'll just be looking down, staring at his tiny dick.
OK, this blog post became personal. I don't mind though. Hecklers are welcome at my gigs because I think I can handle them appropriately, but when you pick on a newbie or someone not as able, I am the guy people refer to when they say "Go pick on someone your own size".