What the heckle?

Last night I went to see my friends perform as Los Desperados, a comedy group specialising in sketches and improvised comedy. Having worked with all of them at one stage or another as part of the Improv group I attend I know how talented they all are, how funny they can be, and exactly the kind of atmosphere you want from an audience in order to achieve what you’re setting out to do; to entertain. Unfortunately this wasn’t a possibility last night because a group of people insisted on trying to jar their every attempt by heckling. The fun part about attending an Improvised comedy gig is that as an audience you are given the chance to join in, to add ‘gifts’ for the performers, the tools that they then use to perform a scene but that is where the interaction ends.

I have a massive issue with heckling and hecklers, I struggle to work out the purpose behind it is. It doesn’t seem to add anything, it detracts from what is going on onstage, and in time it gets to the ‘players’. I can only assume it is an attention-seeking method, maybe the fact that someone else is in the spotlight is too much for these people, that maybe they can’t stand the thought that they could have been a star, that they could have been somebody. If they took the time to turn their oh so clever heckles into something worthwhile or constructive then maybe they would hold some merit, but the fact of the matter is they were like an airhorn during a golf match.

Luckily my consummate pals were able to turn it around in the second half of their show, they took the time to show that they meant business, and eventually were able to get on with their show but from talking to them afterwards I realised that it had got a lot deeper than they would make it seem onstage, it wasn’t that they were hurt by individual comments, it was that the show’s impact had been lessened by pissed up wankers who for some unknown reason can’t keep their mouths shut for two hours. That’s what bothered them, the fact that their hard work might have got lost before it reached the audience, at least somebody was bothered about that.

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One thought on “What the heckle?

  1. How galling that your friends were subjected to this – as you say, if the audience members had been slightly over-enthusiastic but witty, that’s do-able (albeit annoying) and can be worked with. Just ‘air-horning’ over someone who’s had the guts to get up and perform an act that they’ve taken the time to prepare is ridiculous and weirdly pointless.

    I did a reading of my work last night and the audience was lovely – really warm and engaged. I’m sorry your friends didn’t have the same experience but glad to know they pulled it back in the second half. Guess it’s a sad but necessary learning experience.

    x

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