The 7 Best Comedian Heckler Smackdowns—From Bill Hicks to Joe Rogan

The word heckle, a derivative of an Indo-European phrase, meant “to till or comb hemp or flax.” Nowadays, a heckle, or a heckler—a term reserved for those glaring examples of public hospitality who insist on making this act of idiocy habitual—is an individual with enough gumption and/or foolishness to provide an audience with their opinions despite said individual’s sole responsibility of shutting the f*** up so that the REAL entertainment—you know, the act everyone paid to see—can take the stage and perform according to the goddamn itinerary. Why anyone would spend money on a show only to ruin it for him- or herself and others is a question that not only defies logic, but God’s plan, because, as we all know, the man upstairs hates hecklers (hellooooo…Satan, anyone?). But the only thing God hates more than hecklers is men who allow the hecklers to win, so consider this list the G-MAN’S favorite compendium of comedic smackdowns through the years.

If you had your choice of comedians to heckle, Bill Hicks—a legendary comic known for his intense and enraged monologues on the hypocrisy of society—would be the very last man you’d want to incense. Apparently, the lady in the front row of this show didn’t get that memo, and boy does she soon regret it. In what can only be described as an outburst and diatribe of epic proportions, Hicks blasts this woman with every verbal insult known to mankind. And, along the way—in between physically flailing around the stage like a demonic pastor—the audible hiss of this poor woman’s deflated soul causes Bill to take a small reprieve after the oral assault: “I dug a real hole on this one, didn’t I?”

Usually when someone threatens to pummel you in the facial area, your first inclination is to shield your subpar features with the nearest child or feeble geriatric. But, when it’s Richard Pryor doing the threatening, you take it like a man and hope the comedy legend actually follows through, because—let’s face it—it’s probably the closest you’ll ever get to such greatness. As for what he’s striking your face with…well, I’ll leave that for him to explain. What I will say, though, is that only Richard Pryor could make a potential sexual assault both charming and hilarious.

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