Hecklers - Dealing With Them While Keeping It Playful
In this video, you get to see a comedian, (me, in this case), weave my material through a conversation with the audience.
This particular audience is a bit on the talkative side. It's my goal to keep them laughing and still make them feel included. I'm not creating enemies, I'm engaging with them.
A lot of what we focus on in the early stages of stand-up comedy deals mostly with writing and structure.
There's an entire performance element that needs to be visited too.
Hecklers are a fact in this business. We perform live comedy and once in a while members of the audience feel like they want to participate.
My approach to hecklers is different than a lot of comedians. When I was first learning comedy, my teachers and mentors called hecklers "the cancer of comedy."
I think calling them "the cancer of comedy" is a bit extreme. My approach to hecklers is a little different. In my years (close to 30 now), doing comedy around the world, I've found that in the vast majority of situations, hecklers aren't trying to disease your show. They're just looking for attention. The moment you give them that attention and you outwit them, they shut up.
I try to treat hecklers playfully. Think about it this way: In your personal life, who are the people that really hit you with the worst insults and heckles? Your best friends! Isn't that right? Your best friends know more about you and they love you, but they will hit you with the most brutal insults. When that happens, you laugh and hit them right back.
That's how I try to handle hecklers, for the most part. I try to deal with them and blend it with my act, by including them in the material. Basically I modify the material sometimes, as I go and the heckler can be inserted in certain parts of the story to continue to move the story playfully, all while making my point of who is in control.
In this video, notice how instead of jumping all over the heckler right away, I listen intently on what they are saying.
Why do this?
Because everything they say is possible fodder for a joke about them.
Watch the video then leave me some comments in the comment section below.