What a champ.
Being a comedian (unfortunately) means having to deal with a heckler or two. It’s essentially a required skill set of the craft, right there along with delivering zinger call-backs and tongue-in-cheek observations about society. Some stand-up performers have practically made a career out of their clever on-the-spot comebacks to jabs from audience members.
Of course, insults are the least worrying thing to be hurled at a performer. It’s mind-boggling to think that literally throwing solid objects at a person would be deemed OK in someone’s mind, but clearly it’s a sad fact of life. And it’s no secret that comedians aren’t the only ones to deal with this—singers are also often on the receiving end of this truly inappropriate behavior.
While it isn’t fair to have to engage with this less-than-stellar display of humanity, when someone expertly reclaims control of an unexpected situation, it makes for a great story.
During her recent Saturday night set at Vinnie’s Comedy Club in Point Pleasant Beach, New Jersey, comedian Ariel Elias had a response to a heckler that was so badass, she became an instant online legend. It’s pretty much a masterclass on how to turn unfounded hatred into delicious comic gold.
The now viral video clip shows Elias doing her best to thwart a heckler’s political leaning jeers. Just as it seems like maybe, just maybe, the show can move on, a beer can sails through the air and smashes up against the wall behind her.
Without missing a beat, Elias picks up the wayward can, and begins to chug it.
Like. A. Boss.
Here's the clip pic.twitter.com/soeG3dixP4— Ariel Elias (@Ariel_Comedy) October 9, 2022
In an interview with BuzzFeed News, Elias and fellow performer Gianmarco Soresi shared that there was a foreboding sense about the crowd that night. “I was like, ‘I hope they get thrown out during your set instead of mine,’” Soresi joked. “Sure enough, it was worse than either of us could have possibly imagined.”
The hecklers might have run rampant that night, but Elias was on her A-game and able to act fast.
“At first I was in shock. Did that really just happen?” she told BuzzFeed. “And then I saw the beer can and I was like, ‘I mean, I have to drink this. Like, there's nothing else I can do with this. This is the only way to recover. I have to drink it’…So I drank it!”
Her split-second decision got not only love from the crowd, but once the clip went viral she even got the attention from stand-up celebrities. Beloved names in comedy like Patton Oswalt, Whitney Cummings, Jim Gaffigan and Jimmy Kimmel (that’s right, two Jims!) showed their support online.
Ariel wasn’t even doing political material. The drunk heckler was craving what every MAGAt craves — grievance and revenge. And they’ll alter the reality before their eyes to get it. “You SOUND like you voted for Biden.” https://t.co/rDCF9Cmoc1— Patton Oswalt (@pattonoswalt) October 9, 2022
As for Elias, the situation left her sense of humor even stronger than before.
“This experience has really taught me to trust my gut, and to fill that gut with beer,” she quipped on Twitter, adding that “I’d really appreciate it if anyone could please just let my teachers know that chugging a beer has in fact been great for my career.”
It sucks that she had to deal with that, but at least Elias is getting some well-deserved positive attention for her hilarious take on “the show must go on.”