I get heckled by Limp Bizkit's one remaining fan

So I'm at a mic at The Pit. Late night, kinda dismal, tired crowd. I get up onstage and girl is talking in the front row. I comment on it and move on. Then I start in on this joke about a band I saw. I say they sound like Limp Bizkit but less talented and I'm getting on to the rest of the bit when the girl starts talking again.

Turns out she likes Limp Bizkit. I ask her if it's the lyrics or Fred Durst's charm she likes. She also likes Linkin Park. And Nickelback. I told her that made sense. If you like the smell of shit, you'll love the smell of farts. I then ponder if she's a teenage boy who likes to lift weights. Here's the audio:

I dove right in because I was happy to have something in the moment to riff on. It was the sort of room where written stuff wasn't gonna fly very well anyway. So I chose to view her talking as a gift, not an insult.

She kept talking throughout the night and someone else yelled at her hard later. It got applause but I don't think that's the way to go. I think anger usually equals fear. They smell the same to me. The calmer you are when handling a talker/heckler, the more you seem like a pro.

Besides, she fucking likes Limp Bizkit and Nickelback. Life has been tough enough on her already.

Paul F. Tompkins on dealing with hecklers:

When I first started, I had enormous difficulty dealing with hecklers. Any time anyone in the audience said anything, I instantly went on the attack, and in a rather inelegant fashion. I just tried to shut people down with insults. What took me forever to learn was that you have to give these people enough rope to either hang themselves or show that they are not actually a threat.

Bill Burr's take is to just say whatever you're thinking:

I would just say when you’re getting heckled, just really go with what you’re thinking, because even if it isn’t funny, it’s going to be something hateful. If you just really tapped into how sad that person was making you, you could turn it into something. There’s no formula for it. I would just go with what the hell you’re thinking.

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3 Comment(s)

Blogger PK said...

Do you drink during/before a show? are you more on point with or without a buzz?

8/28/08, 10:15 AM  
Blogger Abbi said...

On Bill Burr's advice (just really go with what you’re thinking): if I did that I'd lose all credibility with the audience. "You're distracting me. I can't remember what I wanted to say. I am failing now. It's really quiet in here." Must be easier to say what you're thinking once you're completely comfortable on stage, and you know it will make you think of something funny.

9/4/08, 10:51 AM  
Blogger Abbi said...

On second thought, pointing that out has potential to be funny. Seinfeld once said he likes to treat the heckler like they're in therapy. "Are you okay?"

My problem is mistaking a distraction for a heckler. It's best to roll over those.

9/4/08, 10:54 AM