Every comedian gets heckled. It’s the nature of the beast. Comedians have the only job in the world, where some people think interrupting or disturbing the comic’s rhythm, is helping. No comic, no matter what they say, looks forward to, or likes to be heckled. Even though the experienced comic will out-wit, and dispose of the heckler with huge laughter and applause…most of the time.
The spontaneous, from-left-field-heckler, is a very rare animal. Most hecklers are spawned by the comic themselves from playing around in the audience, comics most commonly call this “crowd-rap,” or “playing in the sandbox.” In my case, I like to play around with some audience members while I’m doing material about my family. Usually, I get in, then I get out and move on. But sometimes, the moving on part is delayed because the guy I had a little fun with wants to keep having fun. Kind of like the dog that won’t stop playing fetch.
His name was Miles. He’s an Englishman in his 60s who’s been living in Ireland for over 20 years. His wife’s name is Lorain, and together they have 4 kids, and 6 grandchildren. I know these, and other “Miles-facts” through a fun little back-and-forth we had where he in jest, called me a typical American, and I countered by telling him his mixed English/Irish dialect made him sound like a Minion. After a couple of more barbs my comedic senses told me that Miles’s wave was washing ashore, so I began to segue into a new bit. But Miles had other ideas, Miles was planning to ride that wave as far up the beach as he could…and he did. With a big smile, and a barely legible dialect he said, “I got one for ya!” He then took his left LEG OFF!! I’ll let you reread that last sentence and digest it for a second. Miles was sitting in and aisle seat in the 5th or 6th row. So, from my vantage point from the stage, all I saw was a man sitting in a seat, and suddenly his foot and leg magically appeared from behind the seat in front of him. I was shocked!! After 20+ years of performing this was a 1st. The audience was expectedly howling with laughter as Miles tossed his LEG onto the stage. I just stood in front of Miles’s prosthetic leg with Miles smiling at me and the audience is rolling in the aisles with laughter, and simply said, “you win.” A second wave of laughter erupted as I delivered Miles’s leg back to him. We shared a hug and a fist-bump and I tipped my hat to Miles for being a great sport and a great guy.
Two-weeks later Miles emailed me a picture of him using his leg to get something off a high shelf.
I now have a story that starts with, “this one time, I had a guy throw his leg on stage!” For that, I’ll always remember Miles, and be thankful.