Every comedian has been heckled. And every heckler has the same misconception: that the show is somehow better with the addition of their idiot blather. Their warped worldview convinces them the audience wants their input and the comedian onstage must be put in his place.
I’ve dealt with hundreds of hecklers over the course of my comedy career. Some I’ve ignored, some I’ve destroyed with a quick put-down. A rare few have gotten the better of me – usually because they’re part of a large group and are backed up by the communal ignorance of their drunk fraternity brothers or obnoxious bachelorette party.
Once, I made the gravest error a comedian could make. I was doing audience warmup for a sitcom in Los Angeles (the worst job in comedy, thank God I only did it twice). The taping was going slow, and as the night pressed into its fourth hour, I sensed I was losing the crowd. A kid raised his hand for a question, and as I tried to reach the microphone to him, it was yanked from my hand. The kid smiled: “Here’s my question: Why do you suck so bad?” The audience immediately responded, half encouraging the heckler by laughing, the other half just pitying me. Neither derision nor pity are good reactions for a comedian.
Donald Trump is a heckler with a microphone. Under the cover of darkness, he tells people they suck, or are fat, or that their show sucks. He attacks comedians for joking about him, reporters for printing what he says, and suggests any woman who doesn’t like him must be on her period. Then, when he’s trapped by his own words, Trump relies on every coward’s retort: “I was only joking.”
No, Donald, you were heckling. Big difference. No one buys a ticket to a comedy show with the hope that the tool in the baseball cap interrupts the comic.
Like a heckler, Trump is too big a coward to spew his hateful crap to someone’s face. Even at debates, when he called his opponents “little” or “liar” or “low energy”, he delivered his lines to the camera. Too bad Jeb Bush didn’t cold cock him a year ago. Our national nightmare never would have happened. There’s no doubt Trump would be out with a single punch. He’s nothing but a spineless rich kid who was born with a silver Twitter account in his mouth.
So, who the Hell gave the heckler a microphone? The press deserves blame for treating every idiotic utterance like it was something more than the rantings of a pathetic, lonely man. The GOP gets some blame for not derailing his campaign when they had their chance. But the real blame goes to that half of the audience whose communal ignorance encouraged him with their laughter and their votes.
Everyone’s got a way to describe Trump. Bully. Blowhard. Cheetohead. But to a comic, there’s no classification lower than heckler. What America needs now is a club manager to cut him off and toss his ass to the curb.