A field guide to the five worst types of hecklers

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At some point during their comedy careers, every standup comic has to deal with a heckler. A truly annoying heckler can derail even experienced comedians, and also make audiences uncomfortable. While most hecklers think they're being funny and can be shamed into silence with a pithy rejoinder from a talented comic, there are a few heckler sub-species that simply refuse to shut up, regardless of the comedian's reaction.

Continue reading for our guide to the five worst types of hecklers.

See also:
- The ten best comedy shows in April
- Demetri Martin on Woody Guthrie, prop-comedy and not being a hipster
- Chris Tucker: Five reasons why we love him

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5) The drunken princess
Gender: Usually female
Native habitat: Bachelorette party
Drunken princesses often congregate in packs, drawing strength from their numbers. Though more inclined to engage in loud, giggly side conversations, the drunken princess will balk if asked to be quiet. It's her special day, after all, and she believes it's her prerogative to shout slurred invective at a comic, despite the fact that her idea of comedy is limited to novelty items shaped like penises.

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4) The shameless lout
Gender: Usually male
Native habitat: Colfax
Clearly identifiable from the moment he lumbers into whatever bar room hasn't 86'ed him yet, the shameless lout may be the most difficult heckler to keep quiet.
This pickle-skinned XXXX guffaws at a joke's setup, but stares blankly during a punchline; he spills drinks and shouts non sequiturs. Acknowledging a shameless lout is a fool's errand. While the audience's sympathies typically remain with the comedian during an exchange with a shameless lout, it's impossible to break through to him. He lacks fundamental understanding of the social order and accordingly feels no shame, even when publicly mocked.

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3) The offended patron
Gender: Either male or female
Native habitat: Anywhere
The worst thing about offended hecklers is their hypocrisy. While these squeaky wheels were heartily chuckling at a rape joke mere moments ago, they're now outraged when a comic mocks religion, however gently. Also frustrating is the selective hearing of the easily offended. While they may have been ignoring the comedy up until the point when their precious brains had to process unfavorable information, a barely overheard key phrase is enough to set an offended patron off to the heckle races. Be careful making fun of this heckler, however; he/she can easily evolve into the next sub-species.

Continue reading for more hecklers to watch for.


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2 comments
williamoconnor85
williamoconnor85

Pretty disappointed that N.W.A. is listed at No 1. Especially because the are a group a not an individual "RAPPER" ... I'm cool with Cypress Hill being there because most people only know who B Real is and consider him Cypress Hill

Horse & Cart
Horse & Cart like.author.displayName 1 Like

Love this! We're working on a show right now set in a karaoke bar... we've got four of the five types of hecklers in the show!

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