Hecklers don’t always mean to heckle, per se. They usually just think they’re so funny that their interruptions are a bonus to the show. Maybe a relatable premise comes up, or your uncontrollable love for the comic on stage takes over, and you interrupt them in the middle of their set without even meaning to. That we kinda-sorta understand. But if you’re the sort of person who attends standup shows just to give comics a hard time when they’re on stage, here’s some golden advice: don’t.
These are five examples of what happens when you don’t take our word for it, and proof of how comics will almost never let you win.
1. Manik Manha
At a show at Canvas Laugh Club (Mumbai), Manik Manha did a bit about his education, which he set up by saying, “Mere dimaag mein aise question wagerah aate the jisko teacher ko pata hi nahin hota tha…” An audience member with zero chill and/or patience pipes up before he’s even finished the sentence, “…LIKE?” Manik Manha turns. Does Manik Manha let it go? Nope. Enjoy his hilarious tackle. (The video opens with his setup, leading to the heckle starting at 0.18.)
2. Sumit Anand
In this clip from That Comedy Club (Bengaluru), Anand asks if anybody in the audience gives money to beggars, to which someone responds with a hoot. This amuses Anand greatly. And now he’s in the mood for some crowd work. It’s lovely. Watch. (The heckling starts at 4.49.)
3. Sourav Ghosh
Don’t be that guy. Don’t be the guy who races to shout out a comic’s punchline before they can get to it. Contrary to whatever fantasy’s playing your head, the comic and the rest of the audience aren’t going to give you a standing ovation. More likely is Ghosh’s reaction right here. (The heckling starts at 7.40.)
4. Aakash Mehta
What happens if your phone rings loudly during a show? Wrong answer. Your phone should’ve already been on silent. If you have the audacity to actually pick up a call, it better be worth the humiliation a comic will put you through for being such a solid douchebag. Mehta shows us how it’s done. (The heckling starts at 0.48.)
5. Papa CJ
Heckle at your own risk. A seasoned comic will have no qualms about putting his set aside for a quick minute or five to take you down if he’s in the mood. And boy, is Papa CJ in a mood. In this show, he’s barely stepped onto the stage when someone from the audience heckles him. Papa CJ asks for a minute to tell a joke, which he completes, before turning the entire show into an “audience roast”. He checks with them first: “Is it ok if I chat with him or do you want jokes?” They don’t want the jokes. CJ abandons his set altogether (it all starts at 21.00). Here you go:
During the annual Bollywood-theme live show that the comedy collective East India Comedy (EIC) was famous for, EIC vs Bollywood, the group was interrupted by a man in the audience who shouted Calendar Girls rocks! “Oh really,” they turned to him. He then proceeded to invite himself onto the stage, a request that the comedians responded to sportingly. What followed will blow your mind. Or not. But it’s sweet as all hell. Or not. You watch and tell us. (The heckling starts at 0.45.)
7. SNG & Daniel Fernandes
From a heckler in Shanghai who challenged Danny and a crowd ganging up on Varun Thakur for making fun of Andheri East, to Aadar Malik’s nipples being threatened and Kautuk being cornered after a show… catch this (former) comedy group and their guest sharing stories of all the hecklers they’ve ever had to deal with. Are they proud of themselves? Only slightly.