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- The end of Lenny Henry's graphic novel Lenny Henry and the Quest for the Big Woof portrays comedy as a warzone, with "incoming fire" of "Who writes your jokes? Noah?" and Lenny returning fire with a lobbed grenade and "Sit back in your chair, pal — We'll plug it in!"
- Shadow of the Bat #38, Tears of a Clown, The Joker celebrates his anniversary of the day he was a still sane, but hapless comedian, and was thrown out of an exclusive Stand-Up Comedy club for an unfunny act the patrons mercilessly heckled. Being desperately poor, this marks his Start of Darkness as he agreed to provide to his family by pulling a job for the Red Hood gang. So The Joker kidnaps all the patrons and reenacts his act with control collars that will kill them when they laugh. The funny thing is that the patrons are really hardcore Stand-Up Comedy fans, so they have seen (and heckled) so many acts that nobody remembers the act of a bad comedian. Given The Joker has a Multiple-Choice Past, he cannot even be sure that this Start of Darkness really happened.
Joker: They throw me out, and I had a wife and an unborn child… or it was two cows and a goat? Sometimes it's so confusing…
- Andy Kaufman did a bit where he got heckled for repeating material, including the heckler informing the audience that he was a plant and the whole thing was scripted, including the part where the heckler tells the audience that he's a plant and it's scripted.
- Comedian Billy Connolly went to town on a heckler at one of his recorded gigs. His comeback was "I'm the man up here with the microphone, Jimmy. You are the one that's got to shout yourself hoarse. Nae contest. In fact, the only reason why I'm talkin' to ye now is so as the bouncers can get a fix on ye. You've only got one line left before you're oot on your arse, so you'd best make it a guid one!"
- In the audio recording of Christopher Titus' special "Neverlution" he went on to talk about America's obsession with medication for everything and in response to his comment "We all have highs and lows" an audience member called out "This show is a low." Titus' comeback was "Wow, you must have a lot of stock in Pfizer." His subsequent mockery of the guy for trying to heckle him was met with rapt applause.
"I love when somebody nuts up and thinks they're gonna heckle me. I do this for a living, motherfucker!"
- Monty Python:
John Cleese: What the bloody hell's this, Bruce?
- During a performance in New York, a fan let a firework off in the theatre. This ruined the act until the security guards hustled the pyrotechnician out of the theatre, Graham Chapman reminded everyone that they were doing the Argument sketch by going into the bit where you walk into the office and the man behind the desk starts abusing you. "Snotty-faced heap of parrot droppings!" was the least of it, as an angry Chapman really went to town with some of the most fulsomely obscene insults ever heard, even in New York.
- On another New York performance, the Pythons were in the middle of the Bruces sketch when an eighteen-inch long sex aid was thrown onto the stage. John Cleese picked it up, examined it from every angle, and said in an Australian accent:
I think from the look of it, it's one of those tiny American penises, Bruce!
You could be right, Bruce. Blooody small, isn't it?
- Bill Burr is famous for his swift and brutal responses to hecklers. After an audience booed every other comedian offstage and pissed him off something fierce, one set in Philadelphia consisted of nothing but Burr tearing the crowd a new asshole for his entire eleven-minute set, even counting down each minute to let them know he wasn't leaving 'til he was done. By about the halfway mark, most of crowd had started cheering him on.
- Bobcat Goldthwait tends to attract a lot of (usually drunk) hecklers. Including this gem.
- David Cross also tends to attract drunk hecklers, for some reason.
- Michael Richards (of Seinfeld fame) became embroiled in a major scandal when his response to a heckler veered off into hardcore racist territory.
- Rodney Dangerfield's trademark rapid-fire one-liners were very easy to turn around from insulting himself to insulting the crowd. Forget about hecklers, if he felt a joke didn't get a big enough laugh as it deserved or was met with a disgusted groan, he'd start mocking the crowd for being a bunch of prudes. If you actually did try and heckle, God help you.
Heckler: What do you do for a living?
Dangerfield: What do I do for a living? I get guys fer yer sister, okay? Don't be a wiseguy. Just remember, don't fuck around with a comic who can't get laid.
- George Carlin despised hecklers with the white-hot fury of the sun. Depending on where he was in his set, he would go off.
Carlin: Somehow, "Pope Corky the first" doesn't command a lot of authority. Now —
Carlin: Would somebody just put a dick in that guy's mouth, please? Cause that's what he wants, he's a cocksucker in disguise. He's got his mouth open 'cause he wants someone to cum in it. Now do you wanna keep making noise, motherfucker, and we can FIND you that way, or are you just a punk coward asshole bullshit loud motherfucker, and you're gonna shut up now so we don't find out where the fuck you're sitting? Cause if you keep it up, we'll grab your ass and throw you on the fuckin' street where you belong, with your MOTHER! And I'm fuckin' her in the asshole every night anyway, so fuck you and your sister and your wife! If you got a kid, I hope your fuckin' kid dies in a car fire! How do you like that, you stupid cocksucker? Shut the fuck up and get the fuck outta here!
Audience: [cheers and applause]
Carlin: See? See? You gotta use psychology! You gotta be a bit of a psychologist up here and know how to appeal to a person.
- Robin Harris would do this as well, including once on his landmark Be-Be's Kids album.
Harris: All a' ya'll could be from Compton, but I'm from a small town called "Freshoffanigga's ass". And ya'll all makin' me homesick!
- Jimmy Carr has a weirdly casual relationship with hecklers, usually only being mildly surprised when someone did it and laughing it off. Half the time he seems to find hecklers Actually Pretty Funny and will gently egg them on for some back-and-forth. Once particular heckle he got early into his career was such a harsh burn he later told the anecdote in his stand-up.
Jimmy Carr: Was about eight, nine years ago, still pretty new to the game. Then this guy from the side shouts, clearly, loudly, confidently, just as I'm halfway through a joke "MY MUM DIED OF CANCER!" I thought "shit the bed, what the fuck?" So I deal with it logically and in order; I said "Firstly I wasn't talking about mums, secondly I wasn't talking about cancer." And he came back with the epically harsh, "No, but it was funnier than this!"
- Adam Hills has told a few stories about hecklers in his routines. In one case, he was complaining about a sports commentator trying to coin the word "bouncebackability" and get it into the dictionary by getting enough people to use it. Adam stated that this wasn't an appropriate criteria for a word making it into the English language, to which someone in the audience pointed out that he meant "criterion", the singular as opposed to the plural. Adam says his is the best heckle he's ever received: being called on his misuse of the English language in the middle of a rant bemoaning the misuse of the English language. The heckler replied "Yes. That's irony."
- A problem faced by politicians in more than one instance in Bloom County.
- All That Dwell Within Your Gates: A righteous Crusader calls Miri a godless heathen for singing the Hedgehog Song. She responds by cheerfully informing him that he left out the part about being a bastard half-breed.
- In Ultra Fast Pony, every time Mayor Mare gives a speech, a voice in the crowd shouts insults at her. When she tries to call the heckler out, he goes quiet and blends into the crowd.
- Used to good effect by George in The Keys Stand Alone: The Soft World when he and John heckle a really terrible bard at the Border Crossroads Inn. George proceeds to get onstage and massively show up the guy, which leads to some interesting consequences regarding their secret mission at the BC.
Films — Live-Action
- The Eddie Murphy remake of The Nutty Professor has his character have to deal with the same Insult Comic (played by Dave Chappelle) twice. The first time the comic goes on a "You so fat" monologue that he is too shy and mild-mannered to fight back. Following his transformation, he encounters the same comic and proceeds to heckle him, having such outlandish energy nobody can keep up. After the comic uses a "Your momma so fat" joke, he responds by exhausting all possible fat jokes to the point the comic is about to cry.
- In the film Mr Saturday Night, young Buddy Young goes on the vaudeville stage and gets heckled, almost chickening out until he starts heckling back. This becomes his stage persona. He and his brother were supposed to go on as a team, but his brother did chicken out before even getting on stage and ends up becoming his manager.
- In Happy Gilmore "Shooter" McGavin hired one of his rabid fans to heckle Happy while he golfs, knowing Happy did not have the discipline to ignore him. This leads into the most beloved scene of the movie where instead of taking his anger out on the heckler, Happy ends up in a fight with his golfing partner Bob Barker.
- When Steve Madden steps up to the microphone at Stratton Oakmont during The Wolf of Wall Street and holds up the latest model of his shoes, one of the female brokers calls out "They're fat girl's shoes!"
- A Night at the Opera: Driftwood heckles the opera shamelessly while Tomasso and Fiorello are disrupting it in the pit and on stage. Boogie boogie boogie!
- In Tokyo Godfathers, one of these was the reason Hana ended up homeless after she left the bar her foster mother owned where she worked as a Drag Queen. The heckler called her an old fart and after she attacked him she was too ashamed to stay there any longer.
- Great Expectations: After Mr. Wopsle moves to London to pursue his dream of professional acting, Pip and Herbert go to see him as the title character in a terrible production of Hamlet. The rest of the audience — particularly "a sulky man" in the front row of the gallery — heckles the players mercilessly, to Pip's embarrassment.
On his taking the recorders, — very like a little black flute that had just been played in the orchestra and handed out at the door, — he was called upon unanimously for Rule Britannia. When he recommended the player not to saw the air thus, the sulky man said, "And don't you do it, neither; you're a deal worse than him!"
- Famously made into an entire series through Mystery Science Theater 3000. The show is staged as though the audience members at home are watching a bad movie in a theater, with the characters silhouetted in the bottom corner cracking jokes at the expense of the movie's poor writing, acting or production values.
- In an episode of Home Improvement Randy wrote an article in the school paper based on the poor pollution record of Tool Time's sponsor and Tim's employer Binford Tools. It was a rather damning article that eventually got the Tool Time audience riled up during a Q&A session because of one insistent person. One particularly funny response was one person complaining about "all that smoke coming out of that stack" and Tim and Al glance at each other before exclaiming together "It's a smoke stack!"
- In one episode of Seinfeld, Kramer takes his Girl of the Week to see Jerry's act and she starts heckling him for no reason. Jerry can't bring himself to deliver any comebacks or insults to Kramer's girlfriend with Kramer right there next to her, so his show bombs as a result. Later, George brings up the usual response comedians give to hecklers — "How would you like it if I went to where you work and heckled you?" — and convinces Jerry to actually do it. He goes to her office and heckles her until she runs out in tears, becoming a legend amongst his fellow comedians as a result.
Ronnie: Jerry, you're like Rosa Parks. You opened the door for all of us. I can't wait until the next time somebody heckles me!
Jerry: Yeah, well, won't be long.
- WKRP in Cincinnati: During an Imagine Spot Venus becomes a famous tv comedian a la Johnny Carson and gets heckled in his opening monologue. He realizes partway through that it's Johnny Fever, his fellow DJ, who is heckling him.
- In an episode of Welcome Back, Kotter Mr. Kotter goes to an Open Mic night at a club to try his hand at standup comedy. He gets heckled and loses his nerve, until he starts talking about his students.
- Subverted on an episode of Bones, where a repeat heckler who seems like he might have been stalking a murdered comedian turns out to have been part of the act.
- Bo' Selecta!: When Richard begins to describe his difficulties with the Bear. The Bear seizes a perfect opportunity.
Richard: My name’s Richard—
Bear: —and I’m gay.
Richard: I recently—
Bear: —found out I’m gay.
Richard: Anything I say or do, he thinks I’m a—
Bear: —That he’s a bender.
- Spanish late-night show Buenafuente had its own recurring heckler in "El Follonero" ("The Troublemaker"), played by Jordi Évole, who was a snarky plant who would interrupt Andreu Buenafuente to voice his displeasure on something that had happened recently on the program. Évole stopped appearing on the show in late 2007 and has moved on to bigger — and more serious — things ever since.
- The song "The Heckler" by Primus.
- Live audiences, clearcut good guys and bad guys, and an audience where half of them think they're in on the joke... the heckling ranges from signs to chants to shouted comments. Most of the wrestlers just roll with it unless an audience member is trying to mess with kayfabe or is using family-unfriendly language at a family-friendly show.
- Munster Rugby fans are famous for taking pride in averting this trope, maintaining a respectful silence (and even hushing each other) when kicks at goal are being taken by either the home or visiting teams, and even applauding if they score. However it's possible that a stadium packed with 26,000 people staring at you in complete silence might be even more unnerving to someone who is not used to it than a roaring chorus of boos and jeers.
- Statler and Waldorf from The Muppet Show. Their whole schtick is to make fun of how bad the show is, and it is implied that it's the only reason they go to the show at all. Usually they keep their comments to themselves, except when Fozzie takes the stage; their insults get more laughs from the audience than Fozzie's jokes.
- In Cirque du Soleil's Mystère, which has No Fourth Wall, the Non-Ironic Clown Brian Le Petit is this rather than an actual resident of the Magical Land the show is set in (All There in the Manual material explains he wandered into the theatre by mistake, and he's the most "normal"-looking character in the show). He mocks the emcee during the "No Talking or Phones" Warning and disrupts the show several times with Screwy Squirrel hijinks, culminating in a Disappearing Box act with an audience participant that turns out to be his ploy to woo the man's date while he's locked up. In the end, he's not only escorted out of the theatre, but does not participate in the curtain call.
- Steins;Gate: Okabe attends Dr. Nakabachi's and Kurisu's speeches at the beginning of the story and upon hearing something he doesn't like instantly begins heckling them. The difference between the two is obvious: His objections to the former are completely valid and is nearly escorted out before Kurisu pulls him aside, and the latter knows exactly what she's talking about, stops someone from removing him and turns it back around on him to make him look like a complete fool.
- In the climax of Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker, Terry was struggling to fend off The Joker and asked Bruce for advice, being told about Joker's love to talk, and to ignore it. Terry opted for the complete opposite, becoming a heckler to mock the various tricks Joker used and calling him pathetic for fixating on the original Batman for so long.
Joker: Funny guy...
Batman: Can't say the same for you. [shoves the Joker so that his gut hits a table]
Joker: Impudent brat. Who do you think you're talking to?
Batman: Not a comedian, I'll tell you that.
Joker: [draws a laser pistol] Shut your mouth!
[Few lines later, Batman is hiding in the shadows]
Batman: I mean, joy buzzers, squirting flowers? Lame! Where's the "A" material? Make a face, drop your pants, something!
Joker: Show yourself!
Batman: You make me laugh. But only 'cause I think you're kinda pathetic. [mimics the Joker's laugh]
Joker: Stop that!
Batman: So you fell in a tank of acid, got your skin bleached and decided to become a supervillain. What, you couldn't get a job as a rodeo clown? [laughs mockingly]
Joker: [grabs some grenades] Don't you dare laugh at me!...
Batman: [laughs harder] Why? I thought the Joker always wanted to make Batman laugh!
Joker: [throwing grenades] YOU'RE NOT BATMAN!!!
- Batman: The Animated Series:
- In the episode "Feat of Clay", Roland Daggett is promoting a new miracle facial cream that can turn your face into putty on an infomercial show. During the Q&A a woman from the audience goes on a long rant about its rumored addictive qualities and becomes violent over it, eventually revealing herself to be Clayface.
- In "Joker's Favor", Charlie Collins realizes the only way to truly inspire fear into the Joker is stealing his act by menacing Joker's only dream: his The Only One Allowed to Defeat You Final Battle with Batman.
- The Simpsons:
- Bart, and often Homer act as such, usually for petty attention-seeking reasons or one of their rivals being in the spotlight. In "Bart Star", Flanders becomes coach of Bart's football team, leading Homer to chastise him relentlessly during each game, until Flanders finally snaps and makes him coach instead.
- Another Simpsons example shows Reiner Wolfcastle doing stand-up comedy. Hecklers are killed off with various ordnance.
- In "Judge Me Tender", Moe heckles Krusty's lackluster judging stint at an ugly dog contest. Krusty responds by letting him be the judge, and Moe ends up being praised for his punchlines.
- Done by Peter in an episode of Family Guy after he gets completely drunk during a comedy show. Similar to the above, the comedian finally loses patience and goads him to give it a shot himself, with the expected results.
- Classic Disney Shorts:
- In "Magician Mickey", Mickey Mouse is a Stage Magician being heckled by Donald Duck. Mickey responds by making Donald part of the act and performing humiliating magic tricks on him.
- The 1930 short "Fiddling Around" has a Running Gag of an offscreen heckler laughing at Mickey's violin performance. Finally, Mickey mocks the heckler's laughter, and he razzes him in response.
- Drawn Together did this occasionally, with an off-screen man's voice answering rhetorical questions with a loud "YOU SUCK." He also interjects in the episode where Toot says she knows what will fix her problems: "Yeah, ice cream, lardass!"
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
- In the episode "Boast Busters", Applejack, Spike Rarity and Rainbow Dash all heckle The Great and Powerful Trixie's act (or at least complain about it loudly in audible distance), believing her to be an egomaniac. She retaliates by daring them to better her in feats, of which she humiliates them all one by one.
- Applejack acts as a more playful variant in "Sleepless In Ponyville", pointing out the plot errors in Rainbow Dash's campfire story sentence by sentence.
- "Make New Friends But Keep Discord" has Maud Pie doing this to Discord's Epic Fail of a stand-up routine. To Discord's consternation, her deadpan wisecrack is the only thing getting the laughs.
- Brickleberry: Woody becomes one at a rally for a female governor candidate. His behavior results in her approving a highway that runs straight through Brickleberry.
- Metalocalypse: In one episode one causes Pickles to have a complete breakdown.
- Thomas the Tank Engine: Diesel is usually to be found making fun of whatever the spotlighted engine is doing, often triggering their insecurities.
- The flies at P.T. Flea's circus in A Bug's Life.
- The House of Mouse episode "Jiminy Cricket" opens with Pain and Panic heckling Mickey's opening monologue.
Statler: You know, it's a great honor to be included alongside the world's best hecklers.
Waldorf: Too bad we're stuck with the rest of them!
Waldorf: Too bad we're stuck with the rest of them!