Heckled by helicopters | Tiff Stevenson recalls her most memorable gigs

Heckled by helicopters

Tiff Stevenson recalls her most memorable gigs

Gig that changed my life

Show Me The Funny Final 2011

None of it should have worked. It was at the Hammersmith Apollo, live on TV, I was five years into my stand-up career, I had exactly five minutes timed and no room to over-run or my mic would get cut. Yet it did, and the laughs came in glorious waves in that room, although my style is much more long form now I’m still proud of my first stand-up TV spot.

It opened lots of doors for me and I got to play in front of 3,500 people in the room, the biggest audience of my career up to that point. Off the back of that show I got booked for Never Mind The Buzzcocks, my first TV panel show, and Live At The Comedy Store. It also got me booked into a few clubs and festivals that I wasn’t playing before the show, which was incredibly freeing. Freeing because I had built a little bit of a fan base and I cared less about what I did in the clubs and was much better for it.

Most unusual location

In Dubai, at the side of a tennis court, under a giant umbrella. This was ill-conceived and we got heckled by helicopters and cats screeching the entire way through the show.

It was sauna hot as we were outdoors with no air conditioning and at one point a Mynah bird shat on my leather jacket, which I stupidly left under a palm tree. That’s not to mention the drain smell which floated up about half way through the gig, prompting the immortal line from Gareth Richards: ‘It smelt of shit BEFORE I got up here right?”’

I hate Dubai. If you’ve never been let me describe it for you. Imagine a fairy has sneezed in a car park. The car park may be covered in glitter but it’s still a car park – that was built by slaves. Anyway, if you go, enjoy the Friday brunch which is basically a plastic surgery trade fair.

Best heckler

Justin Long in The Slipper Room, New York

He wasn’t technically heckling, but ‘co-hosting’ the show from the sidelines. I opened with a joke about being pregnant and not keeping it, then turned to him and said ‘Sorry, Justin’.

Then the majority of that set became about my pretend relationship with Justin Long and how he wasn’t ‘Hollywood’ enough for me because he spent too much time in New York. He then came at me telling me that we actually finished because my New York accent was more Long Island and then I challenged him to do a Scottish ‘rap-off’.

There is a video of him doing it somewhere and he was pretty good at it. That show also had Nick Kroll and Chris Gethard on so I was the least famous act on the bill but I tried not to let it bother me by being incredibly arrogant and showing off

Strangest audience members

Marysville in rural Victoria, Australia.

Most of the audience in Marysville had a Twin Peaks vibe about them. If I had seen someone talking backwards I wouldn’t have been surprised.

It was part of the Melbourne Comedy Festival Roadshow and I had loved pretty much every gig on the tour even the lairy ones. But this crowd was by far the strangest/most aggressive from the start. A teenage girl in the audience heckled me with 'whatever' before I had even finished my first sentence. This same girl tried to chat up the first act whilst he was onstage.

This was in 2014 when I was doing quite a lot of material about my depression and suicide. After the show a different woman came up to me and said: ‘Did you know a lot of people here killed themselves after the forest fires?’ I said no. She said: ‘If you did, would you have still done that material?’ I said yes, as it was about my personal experience and probably more important in a place where it is an actual issue.

Then I said some of my stuff could be considered taboo: suicide, gun control, abortion etc… She said she didn't have a problem with the abortion stuff. I said: ‘Of course you didn't because it didn't personally affect you and do you realise how much of a hypocrite you sound right now?’

Then she went away, came back after five minutes apologised and bought loads of stuff at the merch stand. After at the local bar we all nearly had a fight after a guy came over to Nick Cody (who is brilliant) and said: 'I thought the other guy was way funnier than you.’ Nick said: 'Cool comedy is subjective, he's great. Thanks for coming out to the show’, to which the dude went: 'Don't thank me - it's my fucking town'.

Then the MC tried to get off with one of the hecklers. The next day, the tour managers couldn’t get us out of there quick enough. Memories.

Most exotic gig

Croydon

Tiff Stevenson: Seven is at the Assembly Roxy at 19:10

Published: 13 Aug 2016

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