Friday, March 22, 2013

Interactions With A Heckler - By: Kyle Scanlan

Kyle Scanlan
For the last several years, the only thing I’ve really cared about is performing comedy (stand up, improv, whatever) There is nothing that makes me happier than doing it.

That being said, it’s amazing that I still give a shit about comedy. Comedy is the abusive step dad to your self esteem. It’s allows you stay up late and have fun and laughs with your friends, but then doesn’t come to any of your baseball games and smacks you too hard when your mom isn’t around.

Some nights your five minutes (or whatever) you get on stage are the best five minutes of your week, more often than not though, you wondering why you’ve been waiting for three hours to do jokes you wrote on the train in front of 6 people.

One of the most frustrating things is when the comedy odds are in your favor and you get real stage time, a real paying audience, and sometimes even money, and then some drunk asshole decides he is going to be a part of the show and that seems to happen more than you would think.

I help run a showcase show at a bar called Sully’s House. I also run a weekly an open mic there with another comic (every Thursday 9pm, no shame), so it’s safe to say I usually know what to expect with this room. There won’t be an 50 year old couples that slowly sipping on one drink throughout the night while they avoid eye contact with me during jokes and quietly shake their head in disapproval to my jokes about wieners and poop. This is my crowd. They’ll most likely be on board with whatever.

Enter Andrew: Andrew is your normal mid 20’s River North Chicago kid. He dresses like an asshole but has a haircut like a 13 year old homeless girl. He likes Blue’s Traveler and yelling at me during my comedy sets. And guess what? Andrew is drunk. Really drunk. And he’s already listened to Blue’s Traveler tonight.

So 15 seconds into the show I’m hosting, this happens:

Andrew decides to start yelling “KEANU!” at me anytime I’m on stage for the rest of the night. This goes on all night as I host this show. Keep in mind, I’m pale with a red beard, I don’t look a lot like Keanu Reeves, like barely at all, like maybe in Constantine, but only because no one has seen that movie.

Andrew and I go back in forth a few times, I never really get him good enough for him to shut up for the rest of the night. He hasn’t quite grasped the idea that he is in fact not helping the show. He’s like a cat that keeps trying to crawl onto my lap and doesn’t get the fact that I don’t want anything to do with it. I calmly say “no kitty, you can’t come up here, I’m allergic to cats” but since I said it like a pushover he keeps trying to crawl onto my lap until my eyes are puffy and I have to go home.

I’ve spent most of my night trying to calmly deal with him as he wastes my entire night by heckling me during my set. I have a girlfriend I could be hanging out with, I have a job I have to go to in the morning, I could even hang out with normal people (or “norms” as we call them in comedy *no one calls them that*). Instead I spent my night setting up a show, moving chairs around, making sure all the comics are there, keeping track of everyones time, checking the sound, making sure comics are ready to go up when they are next, making sure the bar sells enough drinks to keep the show going, handing out flyers so people show up to the actual show, getting my jokes together, and then when the payoff finally comes for all that hard work…… Andrew screams “KEANU!” at me 15 seconds into my set.

Fuck you, Andrew.

Andrew approached me after the show with the confidence of a man who hasn’t tried to sabotage my entire night. I ask him why he kept yelling at me, he laughed and changes the conversation to what he wants to talk about.

“I’m Andrew. I really liked your stuff up there. You’re very funny. You remind me of Seth Rogan,” said Andrew.

“Thank you?” I replied.

This guy is obviously really bad at comparing me to other people.

Andrew is pretty drunk at this point, he’s swaying a little and slurring words. He stands up straight for a second and says “I’m from California. I’m only here for a few more days. I’m a talent scout from NBC.” Obviously Andrew is full of shit. His breath smells of draft beer and pizza rolls. He is not an NBC talent scout. No NBC talent scout is going be drunk at a bar in Lincoln Park heckling comics from the back of the room. I smile.

“I’d like to fly you out to LA for some auditions. Do you think that’s something that would interest you?”

I almost laugh out loud at how big of an asshole Andrew is being right now. Not only did he heckle me all night long and ruin my set, he is now pretending to be an NBC talent scout that could launch me into a successful comedy career changing my life forever. He, of course, doesn’t have any business cards. I take advantage of his drunkenness at this point and tell me just to give me his cell phone number and I’ll call him in a few days. Without thinking, he rattles it off, I call him, we both show each other our phones to confirm we have the right numbers. One hour later, he sends me this text:  "NBC"

At this point, Andrew thinks he has got the best of me. He’s heckled me, he’s pretended to be an NBC talent scout offering me the opportunity of a lifetime and I’ve called him out on little to none of this being bullshit.

Little does Andrew know, I hold grudges and have plenty of spare time. Today I posted an ad on Craigslist claiming that Andrew is what he says he is and provided his name and cell phone number in the ad and even offered $100 cash to anyone who auditions with him.

So please feel free to text or call Andrew and ruin his day. He ruined mine.
Andrew: 816.803.1516

Kyle Scanlan
Contributing Writer