Comedy clubs are a sanctuary for laughter, a place where people come to forget their worries and immerse themselves in a world of humour and fun. Yet, there's one aspect of comedy shows that can quickly turn a delightful evening into an awkward situation: heckling. Let's delve into the world of heckling and understand why it's frowned upon at comedy clubs.
What is Heckling?
Heckling is the act of interrupting or shouting uninvited comments, usually negative or provocative, at a performer during their act. While some might view it as a way to engage with the comedian or become part of the show, it's often disruptive and unwelcome.
Debunking 3 Common Myths About Heckling:
let's address some widespread misconceptions about heckling and set the record straight once and for all. Here are the top 3 heckling myths.
1. Hecklers are Planted in the Audience
A common misconception is that hecklers are planted by the club or the comedian to add spice to the show. This is far from the truth. Comedians spend hours, days, and even years perfecting their material. They don't need artificial interruptions to make their act engaging.
2. Comedians Enjoy Heckling:
Another myth is that comedians relish the challenge of dealing with hecklers. While many comedians have honed the art of handling hecklers with sharp comebacks, it doesn't mean they welcome the interruption. Most would prefer to deliver their set as intended without disruptions.
3. Heckling is Encouraged:
Some believe that heckling is part of the comedy club culture. This is not the case. Comedy clubs, including Comedy Lounge, do not encourage or endorse heckling. It's seen as disrespectful to both the comedian and the audience members.
Why Heckling is a Problem:
1. Disrupts the Flow:
Comedians craft their sets with a specific flow and rhythm. A heckler disrupts this, making it challenging for the comedian to regain their momentum.
2. Ruins the Experience for Others:
An audience member has paid money to attend a show where they can sit back and enjoy the show. They haven't paid to listen to a heckler shout out and interrupt interrupt the show. Heckling is very distracting and can spoil the experience for everyone.
3. It's Simply Rude:
At the end of the day heckling is disrespectful. Comedians are professionals and deserve the same respect as any other performer.
How Comedy Clubs Handle Hecklers:
At Comedy Lounge, we prioritise the experience of our audience and the comfort of our comedians. Here's our step-by-step-approach to handling hecklers:
1. Comedian's Response:
Initially, the comedian will attempt to deal with the heckler, often using humour to put them in their place. This is usually effective and resolves the situation.
2. Issuing Warnings:
If the heckling persists, the individual will be given a warning by the venue staff.
3. Removed From Show:
If the individual continues to disrupt the show after they have been warned by venue staff, they will be asked to leave the venue.
In extreme cases, the show might be halted, and the individual removed from the venue. This is our last resort as it disrupts the flow and vibe of the show. While rare, it has happened.
Comedy is an art form, and like all arts, it demands respect. Heckling is not part of the comedy club culture, and it's essential to understand its negative impact. The next time you're at a comedy show, remember to sit back, relax, and let the professionals entertain you.