I have seen Sean Sullivan do stand-up and sketch comedy for years. I've always enjoyed what he has to say, and feel he's a funny person onstage and off. But just about every place I've seen him play has been friendly ground. So when he came onstage to host the Doug Stanhope show at the Hard Rock Cafe Friday and the crowd got a bit rowdy, I was pleasantly surprised to find how well he handles that. I learned that the normally congenial Sullivan is not someone you want to mess with from the audience as tore apart two people in the front row who wouldn't shut up once the show started.
Then I remembered someone had told me about this clip of Sullivan at the Sally O'Brien's open mic, in which a heckler kept pushing him while he was working on an audition set. So I thought I'd share it.
Let me praface this by saying hecklers are generally awful and ruin the show -- one guy kept yelling at Stanhope "keep going," breaking his concentration and causing Stanhope to yell back the question, why would you interrupt someone to yell at them to keep going? It disrupted the show, it didn't help the show, and Stanhope was abel to save it because he's quick on his feet. Heckling should not be encouraged at a comedy show any more than it should be encouraged at an art museum or the ballet. If you're considering it, ask yourself if you would scream at "The Scream," and if not, shut up.
But, for those times when it's necessary, some comics can deal with it swiftly, brutally, and without losing their wit. Sullivan is one of those. Enjoy.