Laddism be damned…

by Michael Schultz on May 19, 2015

I must confess that when I heard about the Toronto FC soccer fans who yelled obscenities at journalist Shauna Hunt recently, I rejected the idea that the offenders had indeed ‘heckled’…clearly they had bullied and perhaps even committed sexual assault. I wasn’t even going to address it.

Oh dear. As I used to say to ‘potty-mouthed’ students …’ you don’t kiss your grandmother with that mouth do you?’ Who are these guys….? Might be awhile before I take my grandkids to the soccer stadium….although I hear the TFC games at BMO Field are still family friendly.

The Toronto Globe’s John Doyle came out with a good assessment in his piece on May 19th called “What’s needed: The feminization of sports coverage.” In it he introduces the reader to the English soccer world and ‘Laddism’.  As he puts it, Laddism is ‘ the blithe, unthinking sexism of the lewd remark, the grope, the joke about rape, the intimidation of women in places where they have the right to feel safe.’ This is NOT heckling.

Good on the reporter Hunt for standing her ground and confronting the ‘goons’. Doyle’s contention, and a good one I think, is that ‘the Internet has created spaces for vile behaviour’. But this was not the Internet. This was a public space.

Doyle goes one step further and suggests that the sports stadium venue may be  in a state of change from one where fans release rage, frustration and anger into one that confronts sexism and other forms of intimidation in public places.


Party of One

by Michael Schultz on May 11, 2015

Canadian Green Party leader Elizabeth May spoke at a press gallery dinner recently but didn’t exactly ‘kill’.

She was taking an opportunity to say – I think – that Omar Khadr is not so bad….even better than those Conservatives.

In this clip, she tries a little “Welcome Back Kotter” on the crowd. The ‘hook’, in the form of Lisa Raitt on stage, comes out and she’s encouraged to leave….but not until after she tears a strip off a certain group of politicians.

Holy fuddle duddle Batman! Not a lot of heckling going on – only a few jaws scraping the floor. May has apologized for her unsuccessful attempt at humour on stage. (something about 5 hours sleep in 48 hours)

I can see this kind of thing in ‘closed quarters’ but I think May may be in over her head here. On the other hand – she’s brave for speaking up.


That’s Fair

by Michael Schultz on May 5, 2015

Politician Ben Konop from Toledo faces the drone of a heckler shouting a chorus of ‘boo’ and ‘liar’ in the following clip of ‘How to Heckle a Politician.’

Here’s what Wikipedia had to say about Mr. Konop:

Ben Konop is a former Lucas County Commissioner. He ran unsuccessfully for Mayor of ToledoOhio in 2009, after a heckler booed him and called him a liar for going back on his pledge to remain in his county commissioner seat until his full term was up. If he had won the mayor’s race, he would not have been able to complete his term. A video of the booing incident became an internet sensation on YouTube and was even spoofed on Comedy Central’s South Park.

He’s a young guy – seemingly well-intentioned…..but, like most politicans, faces the wrath of the public. He takes a page from Obama’s approach – he declares that it’s only fair if they both get a chance to speak – just not at the same time.

In other news – this came through about auditions for political hecklers in England. Quite unusual.

On 3-7 May we are performing a highly political play at Brighton Fringe. The ‘politician’ will be ‘campaigning’ during the day in public. A documentary will be made about this political campaign. We are looking for extras to come along and heckle. No script. You can say anything you like.

This is how it will work.

If given the role you give us your mobile phone number. Then whilst we are ‘campaigning’ round Brighton we will text you telling you where we are.

The ‘politician’ will be on a soapbox.

You then come along once and heckle – and you are filmed at the same time.

This is PAID but UNSCRIPTED and you get a copy of the film of course. Your heckling is not expected to last longer than 10 minutes.

It’s an interesting experiment.

Brighton is a MARGINAL seat – this may even affect the outcome as the play is very very critical of certain, um, political parties!

Have  look at this website for further details:

The Show Must Go On…

by Michael Schultz on May 1, 2015

It’s an old saying –  ’the show must go on’. So it was in Baltimore Wednesday as the Orioles and White Sox played to an almost empty house, just a media gallery – no fans except a few hundred across the street or just outside the gate….all a result of civil unrest in the city.

The only cheers came from just outside the gates –  45,000 fans were muted when the decision was made to go on with the game but not to allow the large crowd to potentially get ornery.

Apparently it was the only time in MLB’s 145-season history that the game went on without fans.

During batting practice, one fan hollered ‘let us in’ to no avail.

A few oddities – they still played the organ rendition of Take Me Out to the Ballgame during the seventh inning stretch. Comical.

One player actually threw a ball into the stands – no one was there to catch the ‘reward’. Another player could be heard to shout “I got it!”. Normally you wouldn’t hear that.

Even the players in the dugouts had to be careful what they said because it was so quiet and voices travel inside the stadium.

When I was a kid at summer camp, we used to have something called a “monk’s meal”. The whole idea was no one could talk through the entire dining experience. It worked – the silence was ‘deafening’. Maybe this is the future of sport – 45,000 well-behaved people keenly listening to the players. They ‘mic’ some athletes – e.g.: curlers….maybe ballplayers could wear something ( or not).

The Orioles took a hit by losing a ton of revenue and concession sales. But, hey, they entered the record books doing it!

The score?…Orioles 8 – White Sox – 2, Fans -0.

In this clip, the Oriole’s catcher signs imaginary autographs:

Not much room for players to get heckled in this situation.

The Heckle Therapist

by Michael Schultz on April 28, 2015

Comedian Jerry Seinfeld realized early in his career it is easier to deal with a heckler by using therapy instead of ‘verbal weaponry’ and counter attack. In a post from a ‘non-violence’ site, Seinfeld was quoted as saying:

“Very early on in my career, I hit upon this idea of being the Heckle Therapist. So that when people would say something nasty, I would immediately become very sympathetic to them and try to help them with their problem and try to work out what was upsetting them, and try to be very understanding with their anger. It opened up this whole fun avenue for me as a comedian, and no one had ever seen that before. Some of my comedian friends used to call me – what did they say? – that I would counsel the heckler instead of fighting them. Instead of fighting them, I would say “You seem so upset, and I know that’s not what you wanted to have happen tonight. Let’s talk about your problem” and the audience would find it funny and it would really discombobulate the heckler too, because I wouldn’t go against them, I would take their side.”

Maybe this would work in the world troublespots – instead of engaging in huge military and human life expenditure – Jerry may be on to something here.


Speaking Freely

by Michael Schultz on April 21, 2015

I came across a fabulous series yesterday called Speaking Freely – which is hosted by Ken Paulson. It showcases a multitude of Americans talking about freedom of speech. The show is tied in with something called the “First Amendment Centre”.

Bravo to the producer – it is entertaining and looks to prominent Americans to assess the nature of free speech….a good barometer of our collective freedom. Here’s a sample of the show with guest Kris Kristofferson:

You Suck!

by Michael Schultz on April 20, 2015

Chicago Cubs apparently have a new phenom by the name of Kris Bryant – #17. He can be seen tagging the ball with plenty of poise and strength in this clip:

You’ll see Will Farrell about halfway through the video as an outfielder for the Angels.

But in his debut as a Cub last Friday, he had to endure the taunts of the hometown fans… striking out three times at the plate:

It’s a long season ahead – I think fans should be a little more patient – this guy will go places….and maybe fans can be more creative in the heckling department than “you suck”…..

Chariot of Eggs

by Michael Schultz on April 10, 2015

Wow – here’s a ‘sleeper’ – Bobby Bittman (Eugene Levy) runs into a studio heckler while he’s on SCTV’s Sammy Maudlin:

It speaks for itself – you might hang in for the remainder which shows Hall and Oates playing a tune and then starring in the movie – a take on Chariots of Fire.


Oh No! – Heckling May Be A Dying Art Form…!

by Michael Schultz on April 9, 2015

I suppose it had to happen – or did it?….heckling’s days may be numbered. At least according to the following article.Too bad. So sad. Here’s a terrific little article that captures the essence of heckling and its current status:

Much of it is covered in my book…that said, I was pleased ( since it is a British source) that Joseph Strick’s fabulous documentary , The Hecklers, is referenced.

Etiquette at a Broadway Show

by Michael Schultz on April 5, 2015

A comedian by the name of Kirk Noland ( see his “Minute With….) puts his heckling research to work in this episode. Mr. Noland calls a theatre source and asks the questions of what would happen if they ‘heckle’ the performers in a theatre? The response is that they will (like a character named Shia LaBeouf) get hauled away. Having electronic devices turned on might result in a similar way.

He’s establishing that if it is not OK to heckle in the theatre then it should not be OK at a comedy club. People vote with their feet and with their critiques but nothing is as immediate as the groans and jeers that come from the audience at the moment.

I do like what he’s saying here – a little more self-control is needed so we aren’t afraid to go out in public.