Five types of hecklers you’ll find at every comedy club

Hecklers are the Lord Voldemort to a comic’s Harry Potter. Even Voldemort was defeated in the end, but there is just no shaking off the hecklers. Even the most awesome of comics have their fair share of hecklers who make it their life’s purpose to add their unsolicited and oft unpleasant gems of wisdom. So, whether you’re the amused audience, or the new-comic-on-the-block, these are the five kinds of hecklers you’re destined to see no matter where you go.

1) The Alpha-Male

This man is the grown-up version of the high school kid who walked the school corridors, like he’s the uncrowned king of the universe. His problem is that he isn’t used to sitting in the sidelines while someone else (here: you, the comic) hogs all the limelight, applause and adulation. Every time the audience guffaws at your witty jokes, his over-inflated ego is threatened. So what does he do? He leans over to his neighbor and makes a snide comment that will prompt a loud AND distracting snigger. And then, he’ll retort your retort with a “carry on” wave of typical condescension. A wave that says, “Carry on, mate. While I just sit here and poop all over your next awesome joke. Nothing personal, but I need attention every 5 micro-seconds”.

2)   The Telephone Operator

You’ll find this person everywhere, be it golf, a funeral or your gig. Just when you’ve created an epic build-up, and are about to strike with your punch line, the telephone operator arises. And in the loudest of manner, mind you. This heckler will mostly be sitting in the front row and yapping away to glory. His/her ringtone and volume will be super-loud. Loud enough to distract you, anyway. Everything about him/her screams, “I booked front row seats to this awesome comic gig, because answering every phone call I get while you put up an amazing show is, like, the purpose of my existence. No offence.”

3)   The Drunk

This heckler can be identified even from space and s/he would still be just as annoying. Ideally, The Drunk walks into your gig directly after getting kicked out of the last bar whose inventory, he singlehandedly emptied. He’ll laugh his guts out during a setup, but maintain a stony silence during the punch line. He’ll doze off when the whole room is cheering at your joke, but will give you a standing ovation right in the middle of nothing. What’s worse, the only thing that can silence this heckler is another kick on the butt, for what could be the nth time in one evening.

4)   The Sensitive

You know those religious fanatics who go full retard at every religiously offensive joke on the internet as if you stole their kidneys when they weren’t looking? Yep. Those people and The Sensitive heckler could very well be siblings. Hell, they could even be the same person. It isn’t their sensitivity that’s annoying. It’s their absolute hypocrisy and ignorance. This is the same person that was guffawing to the point of peeing his pants when you cracked a joke about the Holocaust five minutes ago. And now, they’re the unofficial defenders of their religion at the mention of the most subtle religious joke.

5)   The Naysayer

There’s the tough crowd and there’s The Naysayers. The thing with a tough crowd is that they tend to challenge a comic’s caliber. Put him under pressure to come up with better stuff. The Naysayer? Not so much. Every comic has that joke that starts with “You know those moments when…?” or “I’m sure you know how it feels to…” As a golden unwritten and unspoken rule of the perfect audience, ALWAYS say yes to the comic. But this heckler never quite seems to understand that. The Naysayer will go out of his way to be either the cold iceberg that sunk the Titanic or an overly negative responder. And he does it with such dedication;he could be doing it for a living.

Today’s featured writer, Arthur Wean, is a stand-up comedian and regularly holds comedy workshops across Australia. When he’s not doing gigs, he entertains people through his funny and witty blogs.

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10 Jun

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