[Part 1 of this post can be found here]
After you've properly addressed that first heckler comment, then you've done your job. You remained professional, read the audience, and used your "stock line" to address the situation. You were a true standup comedian in every respect.
Your stock line should be polite enough to not sound rude, but assertive enough to put the heckler in his place, letting him know that he's treading upon dangerous waters, and that an outburst like that is not appreciated and to not be repeated during your set.
Remember, you own the stage. And you're renting that microphone in the meantime. You should not allow any unruly neighbor to let their dog piss all over your lawn. You've mowed and pruned, and watered that lawn. So you need to assess and take charge! That's what 'Step Two' is about.
You remember the look your mother gave you when you were a child, and she suspected that you were about to get out of line. Not only should you study that look, be able emulate it and unleash it at will, but that deadly look should be translated to a stock line. It should be ominous, biting, stinging, and stays with the heckler forever so much that it haunts him in his dreams. And it should be funny enough to make the audience laugh. That look should be able to penetrate even the most inebriated and belligerent of drunks, stopping them in their tracks before they even had a chance.
Understanding the Heckler's modus operandi
If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles ---Sun Tzu, The Art of War
So I know it's trite and cliché to quote Sun Tzu's, The Art of War. (I've never been a fan of war, and the idea of living that as a lifestyle or business tactic (yes, I mean you, Donald Trump) makes me want to puke.)
Be that as it may, this quote sums up how to approach a heckler after 'Step One' has been executed, but has failed. Like Sun Tzu says, you need to know the heckler--know your enemy inside and out. So then, we ask the question:
What is the heckler's motivation?
According to Wikipedia,
Thank you, Wikipedia---I've never thought about it that way. But yes, the heckler likes the idea of being on stage just as much as you do.
I would also include somewhere in that definition, "to put an end to your set." There is nothing more satisfying to the heckler than to bring your performance to a dead halt, completely burning your set to a crisp. An even more satisfying feeling to him is basking in the idea that he was the sole cause of your "Towering Inferno.' And the only evidence of your demise are the embers floating above the stage. He revels in your downfall, hoping that you will never to rise again from the ashes. Because then his job is done .
- Step Two - Understand that at this point, once the heckler decides to open his mouth for a second time, he no longer represents the audience. He has now crossed the line from diplomatic representative to power-hungry dictator. Also keep in mind that the first comment may have been a dare. Yeah, he got suckered into it by his frat boy buddies, with the hopes that he will receive approval and acceptance as a result of his stupidness. And you're there as the worthy opponent to put him back in his place. Or it may have been a testament to what the audience was feeling. Maybe the first comment was his way of testing you, just to see how you would react. Perhaps, he's jealous and wants to trade places with you. All these are valid reasons--for letting that first comment slip by.
But the second comment: ah, now onto the second comment--the table have turned. Fortunately, they have turned on the heckler. He took a few too many liberties that he shouldn't have otherwise taken by opening his mouth the second time. In fact, the audience is beginning to turn against him, especially if the audience was enjoying your set.
How does one deal with the second comment?
Simply the same as the first, but you're a little more stern this time. The first time your response is "not out of anger." The same goes with this one--not out of anger.
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