Hecklers, Rain and Girl Scout Cookies

The torrent of rain is a good backdrop to etch out a ‘comedy’ blog.  On this Soggy Saturday, I have no place to be but a coffee shop to be interviewed about comedy, in the afternoon. I have no need to go out in this downpour.  It’s beautiful, it’s needed and it’s definitely a change from the drought.  My Midwest family/friends hears this, and maybe calls into question my lack of ability to brave the tons of tons of snow and ice, like I used to, in my youth, as a scamp back in KC and Chicago. I like to remind them that it’s just weather, we have yet to see weather’s true impact, AND that I may not have to dodge snow and ice, but earthquakes, brushfires, mudslides and gunfire are a constant here in LA, rain or shine!

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

Flapper’s Comedy Club – Main Room

I had a 10pm comedy show, on a Tuesday, in a very quiet downtown Burbank comedy club.  I got three minutes, brought two people and was heckled throughout the entire thing, but the table (which was front and center to the stage) was heckling everyone.  I think it might have been my first official heckling, but since it was a mass heckling, I’m not sure it counts, nor was it really that bad for me. I used Drunk-Buxom-Middle aged-Latino lady to my advantage.  There was one 12 year old boy doing stand-up (FO REALZ) who shut her down a couple of times, which was fun to watch because we all wanted him to succeed.  Who doesn’t want the adorable 12 year old to win at comedy? And he did! ON HIS OWN! He was fantastic!  Some comics got buried by her table.  The house manager did nothing the entire show until one comic, during his set, told him to intervene. This comic, who was a normal main stager, and got 15 minutes made his entire set about shutting this table down, and succeeded, kinda.  Public shaming, seems to have the opposite effect when used in a comedy club.  It makes the hecklers louder and the rest of the audience becomes resentful towards THE COMIC for parking the show.  It became a panel discussion with the audience and this comic. The audience seemed to think that he could continue his act without the peanut gallery. “Why are letting this table bother you?” they’d say. His response: “Why AREN’T you bothered that this ‘horrible person’ is ruining your experience.  You paid money to hear your friends and other comics tell jokes, why are you letting this table take that away from you?” then he turned to us comics sitting in the back: “Hey comics, do you like performing for hecklers?” A solid “NO” shot from the back. The entire experience was uncomfortable for most. I reveled in it. I shook the guys hand afterward. It’s part of the big social contract folks.  Buying a ticket to a comedy show does not mean you will be doing comedy ‘with’ the comics, it means you are to listen, laugh and get home safely after having your two drinks.  I could tell you to “shut the fuck up”, but it seems obvious, common sense that you should do just that. If you are a heckler and believe you can be more funny than said comic(s) then I welcome all those hecklers to try stand-up and experience the nerves, the doubt and the truth about just how bad your material is.  If you think you can get up there with some potty humor and survive, you’re only partly right.

I got my yearly 4 boxes of ‘Thin Mints’.  It brought back great memories of my sister’s times in the GS. We have a room in my childhood home called the ‘breeze way’. Ironically it’s poorly closed in, so it’s more of a ‘draft way’. Regardless, at this time of year it would be stacked high and tight with orders, upon orders of cookies either being picked up or delivered. My parents used to get so into it. Mom and us kids would separate the orders, and Dad and I would deliver them to people. Delivering GS cookies, is one of those fond memories of my Dad, supporting his children and giving service.  It’s amazing just how much joy a cookie brought to him.

March is improv month for me!  I recently joined an improv group (which I haven’t done in 6 years) The Reconstruction is our name.  We have 2 shows, March 10th and 14th in Hollywood.  I’m looking very forward to this and I am excited to be exploring Stand- up and Improv, at the same  time, ever. The two camps are still quite divided, but I see cross-over now more than ever, especially in LA.  I understand the difference, obviously, but I don’t understand why there is a difference. Seems to me all comedy needs Point Of View to be successful, whether you are perfecting your written bits or making up a piece on the spot.

Finally, I will also be teaching a very fun 4 week short form musical improv class in Hollywood!  Details to come!