It’s very hard being in front of an audience and it’s even more fucked up when they think they have the upper hand.
Please, audiences have power, too. Don’t let sleazy fucks ruin everything. If there’s a fucking heckler that seems like a rapist monster, get a bouncer. Get the owner. It’s up to everyone in society to not let fucks like that ruin it for everyone. Man, woman, or not.
I also wish I had more to say for this comic. I struggle constantly with issues on feminism and male privilege. I never want to upset, hurt, or offend anyone. I wish things could have been better for her, and I don’t know what she could have done in this situation.
But any number of other people could have. The other comedians? The other audience members? The club promoter, the bartender, the servers? We, as a society, are all in this together.
Fuckin’ act like it sometimes.
Part of me thinks it’s too soon to be writing about this because I don’t think I’ve completely processed how I feel, but I also think maybe this has happened to other women and I should talk about it in as raw a way as possible. I’m still really embarrassed and ashamed and garbled up inside, but maybe this can start a helpful discussion in terms of women and comedy.
Last night, I was on a stand up show in the East Village. The show started out with a small crowd and the host did an amazing job interacting with them and riling them up. By the time I got on stage, there were about 20 or so more people in the audience and the place had really filled up. The show was still kind of loose because of the back and forth between the host and the audience, so when I got on stage, I riffed a bit about the stuff that had happened before and then talked to one guy on the side of the audience who the host had dubbed “Banana Republic.” All joke-y. All in good fun.
Then, I start my actual set and do my first two jokes, which go pretty okay. I start another joke that is vaguely sexual - not crude, not crass - mainly silly and that goes well too. The next joke I do is about my boyfriend.
At a comedy show, when you’re on stage, usually you can’t see the audience because of the bright lights. So I’m looking into pitch darkness. As I start the joke, someone yells, “Does your boyfriend know?” referring to the sexuality joke I’d just told. I stop, laugh and say that he does because I think it’s just more of the loose environment that’s been going on at this show. I attribute it to an audience member just having fun.
I start to tell the joke about my boyfriend again, and at the midway point, the same voice yells something else derogatory about my boyfriend, homophobic and misogynistic towards me. I stop, confused. I can’t see who is talking to me so I make a HUGE mistake and say, “Sir, if you’re gonna talk to me, you need to come to the front because I can’t see you.” I think calling him out like this will shut him up.