“OH MY GOD! You’re that comedian! From Grandma’s Basement!” exclaimed a random girl. That was my major victory on the Fourth of July. For the first time in history, someone I didn’t know recognized me, and was very excited to see me going into a subway station. “It was so funny the way you dealt with that asshole heckler! I watched Star Wars yesterday, and I laughed cause it made me think of the thing you said to that guy!”
Two weeks ago, we had this arrogant, answer every rhetorical question, yell out during set ups, interrupting everything,”I think I’m funnier than the comedians!” type of guy in the audience. I was really frustrated with the dude, cause the host had done some great crowd work to build a rapport and ask him to be quiet. I had personally asked him and his friends to be respectful of the comics. And, as I ended up saying onstage later, “I would have kicked you out already if your wife and friends weren’t some of the sweetest people I’ve ever met.”
Grandma’s Basement is my and Benny’s room. We want it to be a place by comics, for comics. However, this dude was with some of the first regulars at our weekend shows. Being the idiot I am, I was freaking out in the back of the room all show, trying to figure out what the “right” thing to do was.
I avoid shitting on audience members at all costs. It’s an easy laugh, and I have horrible guilt because my objective is not to make people feel terrible for no reason. For all I know, this guy is unappreciated at work or at home, and just wants some attention by making people laugh. Basically, he’s no different than me. A misguided human being who thinks his thoughts need to be heard by strangers. Of course, right before I go onstage, one of the other audience members comes up to me and says, “If you’re the last comedian, please rip this guy a new asshole.” Dear God. Why can’t we all just listen to my puns?
So I go up, and this guy starts yapping almost immediately, and I’m trying not to lose it. “Hey man, you’ve been kinda rude this whole show. There’s people other than you here.” Audience applauds in agreement. Then his friends chime in, “Nooooo! He’s just adding to the show. That’s it, just adding to the fun!” So I say, “By a round of applause, how many people wish he’d stop adding fun?” Audience applauds and cheers in agreement. That shuts him up. So I go back into my jokes, and then go into a somewhat personal story about my relationship with my Dad, and of course, the first time I use the word “father,” this ridiculous man yells out, “Luke, I’m your father!” And I lost it. I went on this long, frustrated rant about how if he were in the movie Star Wars, he’d be some lowly storm trooper who kept pretending he could use the force to the annoyance of all the other storm troopers. And it somehow ended nicely with the line, “How are you this annoying when we’re all clones!?!”
And apparently that garnered the respect of a random person. One down, seven billion to go.