How 10 of the Best Stand-Up Comedians Handle Hecklers

If we learned anything about stand-up comedy last fall, it’s that when a Hannibal Buress video goes viral, you should probably watch it. This time, his YouTube hit isn’t going to end an icon’s career; it’s just an enormously entertaining three-minute destruction of a boorish heckler. Said hecklers have been the bane of many a comedian’s existence — drunken assholes, bachelorette party morons, and would-be comics have been mistaking stand-up for interactivity since the form began. So on this April Fools’ Day, we thought we’d take a look at how Buress and a few other comic greats handled these particular fools.

Hannibal Buress

“You, sir, are a social terrorist.” So says the Broad City co-star to an audience member in Wilmington, Delaware, in this recently released clip, brought to our attention by Slate’s Aisha Harris. What’s great about it is how the drunken idiot can’t even begin to break Buress’ laid-back stride; his insults and criticisms still pour out in his distinctive purr, and he resists the urge to show his anger or irritation. Instead, he boils down heckling to its essential offense: it’s rude. “I’ve done shit when I was drunk,” he admits, but “not interrupt a show that 1100 other people are watching…” And, giggling and smiling all the way, he indulges in a razor-sharp session of psychoanalysis, dismissing his heckler as sadly attention-starved. “If you want attention,” he explains, “you’ve gotta do what I did, and work really hard for 13 years.”