Read that someone was collecting retorts to hecklers, asking for contributions but instead reminds me of witnessing performers die from heckling. Saw a solo musician enter into a nervous breakdown in Edinburgh many years ago. Had a bag of cassettes with him (was early 90s) left them on stage screaming they could all fuck off, stormed off crying and indicating the cassettes were something he had prepared for the audience…..
Saw another guy, a stand up, freak out at the Rivoli, tell off the audience for being entitled Queen street Torontonians and then started shouting jokes that nobody laughed at. What’s the point of that? Maybe it was performance art and I didn’t clue in.
Most amazing response to hecklers I ever saw was Sahara Spracklin at a coffee house in a church basement. Always a very visually interesting person, guitar covered in stick on hardware store letters and numbers, a Jewish tallis around her neck, tall white leather boots, fishnet stockings, dramatic eye make up, sleeveless red leather jacket and somebody yelled something at her, interrupting her opening verse and instead of being shook up, insulted or annoyed she looked out at the stranger and acted towards him like his old aunt charmed to meet him again.
“come here” she curled her index finger, “come here. What’s you name?”
Guy looked around for support but had none. “come come” Sahara again beckoned
He walked over to her, she brought him on stage and into the mic said, “So what’s your name?” and put the mic into his lips
“Victor” he said now seeming shy
“Ok everyone this is Victor. Victor this is everyone ok?”
He nodded. Maybe someone in the audience said Helloooo Victor. “So did you want to tell the people anything Victor?”
“No I’m good”
“Ok I’m going to go back to my song and maybe you can listen ok?”
“Uh huh”.
so satisfying, so amazing.

1 Comment

  1. Hi! I’m Sahara Spracklin and I just happened to read this DEC 13/17, It is so refreshing to read Bobby Wiseman’s anecdote because it feels like Life Has Heckled Me To Death, but, unlike some of the others mentioned, I cant run screaming from the stage! I remember once, in the summer of 1977, at The King of Hearts Club over George’s Spaghetti House, I was singing a song, when a fellow yelled from the back of the dark room: “Show us your asshole!” I said, not missing a beat, “I don’t have one–but I know you do—cause you’re talking out of it!”. Later that night he came up to me and apologized–I guess for being ….an asshole!Wherever you are now,sir, I forgive you. Sincerely, Sahara Spracklin. 6;59 pm.


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