"You're funny for a Jew"

"You're funny for a Jew." That's what one girl shouted out at me during a recent show in San Diego.

Let's backtrack. There's a table of chatty drunk girls in the front. Very drunk. Shouting stuff out at comics all night. Said something to the black host about him being black. Apparently shouted out something about Mexicans at some point too.

Then it's my turn to go out on stage. Knew they'd be trouble but tried to disarm 'em up top by commenting on it. Still they kept yelling things out. One of them had her legs up on the chair in front of her and so I made some comment about how relaxed she looked. She said, "You make me feel at home." I replied, "I don't believe that. When you're at home, do you feel like people really dislike you? Oh, you probably do." Laughs/applause from the rest of the crowd (who pretty much hated 'em).

A few minutes pass and I'm back into my set and then the chatting starts again. So I go after 'em again. One yells out, "But we like you. You're funny for a Jew." Rest of audience gives one of those whoa-groans. I repeat what she said so everyone knows it.

I told her that actually that's one of the things us Jews have figured out, ya know? It's kinda like saying, "You're pretty good at basketball...for a BLACK guy." Get your stereotypes straight, sister!

But hey, maybe she thinks Seinfeld was Mexican: "¿Cuál es el trato con gorditas?"


Anonymous said...

I think you made a mistake by trying to defuse the situation with humor. I think you would have gotten a better reaction from the crowd by just saying, "why don't you just go home you filthy dumb ignorant cunt. You are so fat I am becoming nauseous." Making a corny joke would leave the audience feeling disatisfied and as if the drunk heckler got the best of you.

I guess I am a student of the Bill Hicks school of dealing with hecklers.

londoncalling said...

you handled it well with grace and humour . Drunk women are tricky very tricky .You go in too strong you come off looking like a bully .

myq said...

If audience members are constantly spouting off and the venue doesn't have security or anyone to quiet them down or escort them out, then sometimes you're just in a shitty situation.

Making them look stupid with jokes the rest of the audience enjoys is good, but they still might not shut up.

Calling them cunts might be fun, but they still might not shut up.

I think the only thing that really works is suicide. Then you can't hear anyone anymore at all!

Andrew Hess said...

I think Myq is right. But then again, he could be mad about your earlier twitter burn.

myq said...

Why would you say that?

I was just trying to offer a viable solution to the problem of a chatty audience, and you think I'm trying to get revenge on Matt for coming up with wordplay that I didn't think of first?

Nice, real nice.

I'm a helper.

PS Matt, good blog post, for a guy with a good blog. Jew.
(See? Helper.)

Cody Hess said...

Since all a heckler needs to do to 'win' is refuse to quit talking, I find it's usually best to ignore them and talk louder. Especially because I'm patently incapable of making off the cuff, witty comments like Matt's in the story.

I find the c-word faaaar too risky. Especially in a no-bouncer situation where the drunk people, in a group, have made the show about themselves and nothing will change the fact. Best case scenario: if they like you they'll decide to shutup and laugh for awhile, but they'll never be cured.

And I'm uncomfortable with their being another Hess in these comments.

Kate Hendricks said...


From what you describe, I think you handled it very nicely. As I see it, your/our job is to be in control, and to be funny: you showed you could be in the moment and still respond to the room, and even if they didn't stop, that's a hazard of the job (or as Myq better put it: a shitty situation).

I'd argue that calling a woman the c-word does nothing but demonstrate one's own inability to find anything more creative and effective to say. Anonymous, I don't mean to come at you directly on this, it's just something I've been thinking about recently. A lot of comics say that we're not respected. Well, if the default response any time things go slightly out of order in a set is to scream out the c-word, or, as you put it, "Why don't you just go home you filthy dumb ignorant cunt. You are so fat I am becoming nauseous," we aren't really painting ourselves as a group that trades on professionalism. That same woman who is called the c-word at one show then goes to every show and assumes comics are brash, crazy, and will just unleash. So she'll never be respectful. Of course, she's in the wrong by chatting during a set, but that's not a perspective anyone REALLY has until they are the one performing and can see how terribly disruptive it is.

Moreover, I'm not sure an audience would feel "satisfied" by hearing the c-word screamed at a woman. If there were women there, I'm pretty sure they'd turn unfavorably against the comic. If there were men there, maybe they'd laugh, but my guess is it'd be waaay more awkward than allowing the comic (here, Matt) to do what he is supposed to do, and did: be funny.

Unknown said...

Yeah, I agree guys, the audience would turn against a comedian who called this woman a cunt. Because, as we all know, historically cunts have had to suffer so much persecution and oppression and Jews, well they've just had it easy.

londoncalling said...

i watched a documentary about the baeder meinhoff group .The west german police were always instructed " to shoot the womem first "as female terrorists were waaay more unpredictable and dangerous then the male . My advice to male comics is to leave the laydeez alone much as they deserve too be shot . Ignore the yappy cows ,deny them the oxygen of your attention and they might hush up .Calling them cunts is just too brutal and will turn the crowd against you .

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