Heckling is such a negative word.
Instantly, you may think of the inebriated loudmouth, the one who won't shut up all game. At all the wrong times, this person's cackling, jeering and cheering at the oddest incidents during the game. They may even spill a drink or cause a fight at some point.
This isn't my definition of heckling. It's actually an art form. When done right, heckling is a form of sideshow entertainment. It can elevate the mood of the fans in your general area.
Generally, heckling at its best is somewhat tasteful, and it works better if the game is a rivalry. If the game goes poorly for the home team, it can also elevate moods, if you're a fan of the home team.
Some warnings follow careful notice. If someone becomes quite irate, that's a good time to shut your cake hole. A night in jail or personal physical injury is not worth standing up for yourself in front of an angered patron or security. You never know when someone just doesn't get what you're trying to do, or if they cannot deal with what you have to say.
The best and most important ingredient to successful heckling is confidence. That's easy to point, but it's hard to accomplish. Some people, like myself, although very shy at parties and sometimes quite mute most other times, find it quite easy to bellow some comment at a sporting event. If you're not familiar with this type of confidence, allow me to break it down for you.
The best way to build confidence is to know something about the game. This involves having a thorough understanding of the main points of the game. In other words, if you're at a baseball game, and you do not know what a strikeout is, you need to learn a few more things. Practice involves watching with educated others on television.
Personally, I do enjoy my sporting events. My elders watched sports, and my grandfather, father, mother, and other elders would impart and reinforce my understanding of the game. There's no better person to practice heckling with than your peers, around that big ol' tv set, in the comfort of a private residence. It takes time . . . you may never decide to heckle, but at least you'll understand a bit of what goes into the process of a heckling artist.
You know confidence, and when you're pretty familiar with the game and the rules and the sound of your voice at a shouting level in front of other people, then it's time to prepare for that sporting event.
There's no substitute for a quick wit. You can't beat someone with a whip-smart ability to react. When a ref makes a bad call, and you hear some person scream . . . "Oh COME ON! I guess the ref is REALLY LATE for dinner. Hey, ref! How 'bout if you LEAVE! WE'LL HANDLE IT FROM HERE!" . . . chances are they're a heckling artist.
I set some ground rules. If people are swearing around me in the general area, I'll swear too. However, if the crowd's generally well-behaved or filled with children, the last thing I need on my hands is some parent, telling me that their kid has never heard those words, and on and on.
In order to heckle, you have to get your audible voice above the crowd noise. The best time to heckle is when everyone is not cheering. In other words, you wanna be heard. Your ears, after time, will begin to notice the levels of ambient noise. Timing is the key. There is a statute of limitations. You have to get off a comment about a call within a few seconds after it happened, otherwise you move on. You might find yourself holding your tongue more often than not. Think high school cafeteria, with plenty of kids at a long table. More than a few of your friends are with you. Remember how you had to wait your turn to speak on those chatterbox days? That's about a good estimate of the heckle artist's challenge.
Remember, if you make a mistake, don't back down your confidence. I once stuttered about 4 times in an extended cat-call to a referee. If you're familiar with Stuttering John from Howard Stern's show, that's about what it resembled. I calmly finished. Don't give up! Get it out, let it out, shout, shout, let it all out, just like the 80s song by Tears for Fears. Get ready for the next opportunity.
2003-10-29 07:40 am (UTC)
Extra Credit Heckling.
Extra credit involves exclusive, miniscule information. If you're rolling, you can pull out little tidbits. For instance, I knew from a co-worker that a particular sports star used OnStar to find a strip club. Now, I wouldn't admonish him in person, nor would I think poorly of him. It is humorous that this sports star would use such a crappy service to find one, however . . . so I filed that nugget away for the upcoming game.
During a faltering moment for that player against our home team, I screamed out "Hey STRIP CLUB! I guess that night at the cathouse was a little too much fun, huh!"
My friends died laughing, as they knew about the player and the story. General laughter ensued from the surrounding crowd. The noise level had been low enough for everyone to hear it, and it was a successful heckle.
Mind you, only I knew about the player and the strip club incident. Who cares, you say? People will laugh . . . for no reason! They won't even know why they're laughing. Who cares if they're laughing at you, anyway? You're gonna toss out a nugget from your heckles that they'll appreciate. If they ask you what in blazes you just uttered, you know the story, so you can tell 'em.
Not all artists are equal. Some shine above others. I generally pay little heed to the other hecklers. I only respond to my friends while performing the art. If someone addresses me, I will interact, but I act as if I'm the only heckler there. I'm not in competition with the other hecklers, either . . . I'm just there to entertain, especially when the game goes bad for the home team. People appreciate a skilled heckler at those times.
You can also practice some silly buffoonery, but that's very situational. Be warned on obviously silly statements. Those are the moments where it could turn ugly for the non-appreciative in the crowd.
If anything, the next time you're at a football game, and some person is screaming, "THE TIGHT END IS WIIIIIDE OPENNNN!" with a big coy grin, you'll know a bit of the effort behind the heckle. :D
What a way for me to wake up at work this morning! You are too good.
I'm glad you enjoyed.
I tried going to the website where they had those urban legends flash movies, but man, it was down the other day. I wonder if they're still on the web . . .