On Saturday night, loyal reader 3D offered this comment on my post “My take: Eddie Izzard “Stripped” in Austin”:
“Who in their right mind would go to one of Eddie’s shows and then heckle? That’s just madness!”
I also couldn’t believe that not one but two people decided to just shout out from the audience during Eddie Izzard’s second of three shows this weekend in Austin. Neither one of the hecklers said anything mean, but I contend that heckling in any form is both disrespectful and distracting.
The first heckler spoke up while Eddie was talking about monkeys; she shouted out twice “The monkey is on the branch,” a reference to Eddie’s bit about learning French from “Dress to Kill.” He handled it like a pro, sarcastically inviting people to just shout out bits from his DVDs at random times and making good-natured fun of the faux-French way she said the line. Still, it was an awkward moment that interrupted his flow.
Apparently, his sarcasm was lost on some guy in the upper balcony, and he became the second offender. (And after Eddie repeatedly said during the show that he has told Europeans that most Americans get irony. Sad.) Eddie was doing one of his riffs on language, a favorite topic, commenting that instead of the confusing “thou” and “thee” of old English, we now just use the word “you” in all instances, including singular and plural.
The second heckler shouted down “Y’all. We use y’all,” essentially correcting and interrupting Eddie during his own show. Did the guy never think that Eddie was maybe going to make that very point himself?
Eddie works a lot of regional humor into his shows, he’s a pretty smart guy, and it isn’t exactly a well-kept secret that Oklahoma-Texas residents say “y’all.” But we’ll never know now if that’s where he was going with that thread because, again, interruption to flow.
Sure, it was funny to hear Eddie say “y’all” in his British accent, but I would have preferred to listen to him roll with the topic he threw out there. I mean, can you give him a chance to do his own show?
When people describe Eddie’s comedy as “conversational,” that means his shows are very loose and cover weird topics you might get into a conversation about with a friend. It doesn’t mean that you should actually attempt a dialogue while he’s trying to work and the rest of us are trying to listen and watch.