A word to the hecklers...

Comic Brian Damage says what he really thinks of you

I’ve got no time for most hecklers. Good hecklers, yes, idiots, no. A good heckler can be wonderful – simply because they listen. They want you to do well; they just want to be a part of the show, too.

My favourite hecklers were at Up The Creek. They’d wait for the right moment, that careless question you shouldn’t have asked, and then bang! They’re in with a killer punchline.

Then they’d wait for your response - and if it wasn’t good enough they’d hit you again. True professionals. They get a laugh, you get a laugh. Extra laughs.

There would often be a few idiots at the back who genuinely thought it was funny to shout out ‘bollocks!’ at the wrong time, but with a decent PA it’s possible to just talk over them. I never stop to talk to anybody unless they actually have something of relevance to say.

I don’t do put-downs. It’s not that I can’t, I’ve got hundreds of them, but to be honest, I just can’t be bothered. You spend years working on an act, making sure that it works, so I’ll be buggered if I’m going to stop and chat to some drunk to see if something funny occurs to me.

Bad heckling is when a dickhead interrupts one of your better jokes just at the wrong moment simply because they want you, the comedian, to stop doing your job and have a little chat with them. It’s me, me, me, me, all the time. Hello I’m here, talk to me. Look at me, I’ve got a shit shirt on. Listen to me I’m as pissed as a fart so obviously I’m funnier than you, Talk to me, I’m as thick as a plank. I’m really funny when I’m pissed. No don’t talk to him, I’m thicker than him. Me, me, me, me, me!

Well, I’ve got news for you. Tonight, Matthew, I am the comedian! It’s NOT you, it’s me. I’m the bloke on the stage, I’ve got the microphone, I’m being paid. It’s not you, it’s ME! Me, me, me, me, me. And if you don’t like it, you can fuck right off!

Sorry about the language but I tend to get quite irritated…

Put-downs are rubbish too. All you need is a couple of hundred put-downs, one for every conceivable situation, and hope you can remember them when required. It’s simply a matter of picking the right one at the right moment, leaving the audience with the mistaken impression that you just made it up on the spur of the moment.

That makes the heckler look like a twat. And makes me, the comedian, look really clever.

I’ve got news for you. I’m not that clever, and we already know you’re an idiot, so the whole exercise is pretty pointless.

Believe it or not, comedians don’t just make it up as they go along. Even those who are famous for making it up, don’t make it up. There are tricks involved and the most important trick, oddly enough, is to make it look like… you just made it up.

You wouldn’t expect it from any other profession would you? Imagine going to the doctor for a cancer scare and finding out he’s just ‘improvising’, or a brain surgeon who’s ‘just trying out a bit of new stuff here, could be shit, could be brilliant!’

I’ve got news for you: comedians practice. They practise spontaneity

If you go to a comedy club, pay a fiver or more to get in, then surely, you should be bright enough to realise that the bloke on stage, standing in the spotlight, with a microphone in his hand and his name on the flyers, is probably the best qualified person in the room to tell a few jokes.

You might not like what he does, but at least you know he’s been practising.

Just because you feel you’ve wasted your fiver, doesn’t give you the right to waste everybody else’s time and money, finding out whether you might be funny or not.

If you really think you’re that funny why don’t you go to a small club and do five minutes and see what it’s like when you’ve got some drunken idiot in the audience who doesn’t know when to shut up?

If you did a survey in any comedy club I think you’d find that 99 per cent of people would rather listen to the bloke on stage than some drunken idiot in the audience.

It may be a difficult concept to grasp, but all you have to do as an audience member, is sit back, enjoy your drink, shut up – and listen!


Published: 29 Apr 2008

Live comedy picks

We see you are using AdBlocker software. Chortle relies on advertisers to fund this website so it’s free for you, so we would ask that you disable it for this site. Our ads are non-intrusive and relevant. Help keep Chortle viable.