Comedy

Heckler horror stories: Steve Patrick Adams vs. bagpiper

Stories from comedians about their worst heckling experiences

A heckler is a person who interrupts a performer with jeering or even abusive comments. There's nothing more stomach turning than watching a comedian and heckler go at it. 

This heckling horror story is brought to you by comedian Steve Patrick Adams.  Steve tells a tale of when he was living in Toronto. He was a younger comedian hustling in the city working open mics. On evening Steve makes his way to Kensington Market where he found himself up against a bagpiper. 

"I was booked on one of the dingier open mics. The clientele of this establishment was bit more rough-around-the-edges than usual. One man, in particular, felt it necessary to bring his bagpipes with him which in any other bar would seem like a bold choice. 

I started my set by making fun of the paintings on the wall (low hanging fruit, never do this). From there I discussed the atmosphere of the bar, mentioning the man with bagpipes in a way that was fairly neutral. He heard himself addressed from the other room and stormed in. 

He was furious. He ran up to the stage and berated me. He said I was full of crap, smug (fair) and some other things that weren't flattering. He had one hand behind his back and came closer. It looked like he was about to stab me but I had a strong feeling that I was fine; a man with casual bagpipes wouldn't stab me would he? Or is that exactly the kind of person who stabs you? 

The man demanded I tell him a joke. He claimed I wasn't telling jokes all night and he was right. I was selfishly trying to riff (improvised joke comedians are very proud of if executed well) through a set without subjecting pre-written jokes to a small audience of largely other comedians. I remembered the one joke I wanted to try. 

It was about an old War Amps commercial (War Amps weren't the butt of the joke, don't get mad!). I asked him if he wanted to hear a joke about a War Amps commercial. He lifted his pant leg revealing a wooden leg, and explained, "I am a war amp!" 

I let him tell a joke on the mic as comics looked on in horror. You are never supposed to hand over the mic according to the sacred handbook of the comedian, but I think everyone was fine with this exception. 

All and all though, not a bad set! Pretty decent Tom Waits song too."

Originally from Beamsville, Ontario, Steve Patrick Adams is an award winning comic. Steve initially studied philosophy at Brock University and then went on to the Humber College comedy program. He is always an awesome cartoonist.

FOLLOW STEVE PATRICK ADAMS