Hecklers: Next Day Regret?

In my line of work--stand up comedian--you deal with people who are drinking. As a whole, people are good and can handle their alcohol, but every so often you run into someone who would have done society a favor by staying home. Sometimes they heckle; other times they're simply belligerent. Either way, they usually have to be kicked out of the comedy club.

I've always wondered what they thought of their behavior the next day, when they sobered up. Were they embarrassed? Any decent person would be. When dealing with the unwashed masses, however, you don't always get decent people.

Case in point: I worked a club where a table of four had to be removed from the showroom. They talked all through the host, talked all through the middle comic, and were still talking when I hit the stage. Fortunately, by that point, management had lost their patience. After I had turned to them twice and said, "Hey, be quiet," they were asked to leave.

There are two ways to exit such a room: silently, with head hung low, or boisterously and defiant. On this particular occasion, it went 50/50; two people quickly slinked away, embarrassed by the attention. The other two at the table were stunned.

"What? We were just talking!" a woman shouted.

After the manager explained talking isn't permitted during a live performance, they grew even more agitated. The manager pointed out that they were annoying every table around them, which seemed to stun the couple.

"They don't have to listen to us if they don't want to!"

(Apparently she didn't understand how ears work, and that you can't really ignore sound.)

To accelerate their exodus, the manager asked the audience, "By a round of applause, who wants these people to leave?"

The whole crowd erupted.

After several minutes of back and forth, the couple finally made their way out, throwing some snarky parting shots my way since I had dared tell them to quiet down.

As the collective rest of the audience cheered the departure, the thought I mentioned earlier crossed my mind: what would those people think of their behavior once they sobered up?

Lucky me, I got to find out.

The next day around 5pm, a post from the argumentative woman, Cindy, appeared on my Facebook Comedy Page: "Don't go see this guy. Our table were laughing and talking and we were asked to leave as we left he had the audience clap to see us go. The comedian before him had no problem with us and encouraged the noise and laughter."

As I made my way through the grammar and syntax errors, I had to give a combination laugh and sad head shake. As stated, this post popped up around 5pm. That means Cindy had all night to sleep it off and come to terms with her behavior. And when all was said and done? She doubled down.

I didn't respond to her post; there wasn't any point. But that doesn't mean I didn't wonder how some people make it through life with such attitudes.

Dissect her very own words: up front, Cindy admits they were talking. She doesn't even bother to lie, or say "We were kicked out for absolutely no reason!" Nope, she says they were laughing (lie) and talking (truth).

Next, she isn't self-aware enough to understand that the audience applauding her departure means they were happy to see her go. It's unlikely she made it her whole life without hearing spontaneous applause, which means she willfully denies the fact she wasn't wanted there.

Finally, the opening comic wasn't appreciative of her at all. I know, because when he walked off stage he was furious. He even, and somehow Cindy missed this, yelled "Shut the fuck up!" at her table. Twice. I'm not sure how Cindy interpreted "Shut the fuck up!" as encouragement, but I think we can determine from her writing skills she's not the brightest light on any Christmas tree.

That night, when all was said and done I thanked the manager for his actions, and he laughed: "Oh, that wasn't anything. If you thought they were bad, you should have been here for Screech."

He described how during Screech's set, a man who identified himself as a lawyer got into it with the Saved By the Bell star. The lawyer was exceedingly drunk, and started heckling. This set Screech off, and the two went back and forth for several minutes. Screech got in jab after jab and the lawyer got angrier and angrier as the audience laughed and applauded at his expense.

Eventually, realizing he was on the losing end of the verbal jousting, the lawyer stood up, hoisted twin middle fingers into the air, and shouted "FUCK YOU!" before storming out.

A fitting end to his derailing of the comedy show, but that's not the conclusion to this story.

Several days later, the lawyer interviewed for a job; he was looking to move up in the world, and presented himself as a clean-cut, no-nonsense straight shooter. The potential employer took the man through every stage of the interview process, all the way to one final question.

After jumping through the myriad hoops of the interview process, the lawyer probably felt he had a great shot at being hired. Until the potential employer said, "Well, I think we only have one question left. Would you like to explain this?"

At which point the lawyer was shown a video of his actions at the comedy club. Someone at the firm had been at the show, recorded the whole event on his cell phone, and realized it was the same person coming in for an interview later that month.

Job = denied.

I should start filming all my sets.

Just in case.

I would love to have a video of my "Cindy Doe" from that evening on film, if only to embarrass her to the world. Then again, given the actions of the other couple at the table with her, I'm guessing they already know how obnoxious she is.

More nonsense can be found at nathantimmel.com