I hate hecklers. All of 'em. The drunk ones, the "helpful" ones, the birthday party "I need to be the center of attention" ones. Even the ones who don't realize they're actually heckling by too emphatically agreeing with premises or answering rhetorical set-up question out loud. But that didn't stop me from heckling someone at a bar show in The Village last week.
I was with two friends on our way to a comedy show when we got barked into a different show at the back of a bar. The guy who barked us in* knew we were shithoused, but there was only one other guy in the audience at that point and he probably figured three drunk idiots were better than an empty room. The guy onstage did not agree and said something along the lines of "thanks for coming in and interrupting my set" before we even sat down. And that's what set me off.
[* For those not familiar, barking people into a show is where you stand outside the show and basically beg random passers by to come in and watch]
He then sighed and said, "Where are you guys from?" and I said, "Don't bother crowdworking us," and then we proceeded to be rude to each other for the remaining two minutes of his set.
Here's the thing, despite having probably said those exact same words on stage at some crap bar myself, I didn't feel bad about my heckling at all. At least while it was happening. The combination of demon alcohol and being barked in made me feel like HE owed US and how dare he take out his frustration at being in this position on the three people who just quadrupled his crowd, completely forgetting we came in like a bunch of loud drunk idiots and he absolutely nailed it that we were going to be disruptive and probably worse than having an empty room.
We settled down for the last two comedians and by that time, remorse had set in. I apologized to the show producer and tried to get that other comedian's name so I could apologize electronically, but I guessed way wrong at the spelling and gave up.
For the next 12-ish hours, I alternated between feeling indignantly justified and full of regret. Then that night, I watched three drunk people, a pair of snobby parents visiting their daughter in the city and a bachelorette party just ruin the first 30 minutes of a very good show. Coincidentally, a friend from LA had just messaged me, suggesting I get in touch with this comedian he knew and when I Facebooked him, it was the guy I had heckled!
So, that was fate reminding me which side of the tracks I live on and I apologized to him. And I still have zero empathy for hecklers and still enjoy the shit out of watching one be destroyed by the comedian onstage. But at least I finally understand a part of the question that has always vexed me - "What is wrong with these people and why do they think this is acceptable behavior???" Booze & entitlement.