Brief Encounter in the House

by Michael Schultz on February 21, 2015

NDP MP from Manitoba Pat Martin boosted his profile today by making a revealing comment in the House of Commons.

When challenged about why he had to leave the house on an important matter by the opposition, Martin explained that it was due to his ‘tight underwear’. Most of us know the agony. There were a lot of heckles,guffaws and chuckles in the house…levity isn’t such a bad thing. Decorum is also important.

Something tells me we may see CBC’s satire show 22 Minutes use this event as fodder on an upcoming show…

In the Ukraine

by Michael Schultz on February 21, 2015

The Ukraine is definitely a ‘hotspot’ in the geopolitical landscape these days with Russia breathing down their backside. Leader Poroshenko has been taking heat for his role in the events of his country – if they kick him out he can always apply for the Leaf’s coaching job.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko was heckled by crowds with calls of ‘shame!’ at Kiev’s Maidan Square as he stepped up to speak, Friday. The president received the reception before delivering a speech at a ceremony marking the one year anniversary of the Kiev riots in February 2014 that left over 100 dead.


Ah yes, I remember that heckle….

by Michael Schultz on February 16, 2015

One day after class, while strolling the halls where I taught high school, I came across 2 rather loud students by their lockers. They were having some sort of quarrel and the ‘f’ word was involved. I approached them and suggested that they not use that kind of language in school. “But sir”, the one student said, ” the word is on our Oxford dictionary.” “Show me”, I said. Sure enough – there it was…the ole ‘for unlawful carnal knowledge’, or something like that.

Seems the ‘f’ word has lost its sting. Strange, when I was growing up ‘Hell’ was something you didn’t say.

We saw former SNL cast members Jon Lovitz and Rob Schneider at the Milton Cultural Centre this past Saturday. It was, in a nutshell ( and as the program warned), a rather crude show. There were comedic bits in between a great deal of profanity ( at least that’s my take). Schneider suggested that the ‘f’ word no longer has power. However, he said the ‘c’ word is what the ‘f’ word used to be – use it with caution and discretion….if you use it at all.

Which leads us to a collection of heckles remembered by comedians. One remembers performing in Australia at a fairly high brow theatre when he uses the ‘c’ word. He apologizes to a 70 something year-old lady in the audience. She heckles back that ‘if I can use it in Scrabble, I guess you can use it too.’

Here’s a link to some colourful heckles. Makes for great reading….always fun to know how the comedian responds too!

Knowing When to Flipper…

by Michael Schultz on February 9, 2015

Oops, Don Cherry has himself in hot water once again. Talking with CBC Coach’s Corner co-host Ron MacLean on Saturday night in St. John’s, Newfoundland-Labrador, Cherry discovers Ron has eaten a seal flipper burger at a local restaurant. Don calls him a savage and a barbarian for eating baby seal.

The reaction in Canada’s seal community was immediate and Cherry is even being called a racist for his remarks. Not sure when seals became a ‘race’. Anyways, folks in the seal industry were not amused.

Ron even gets in a quip about the the chef who had to decide ‘when to flipper’….the burger that is.

All in all pretty innocent and nonsensical – somewhat surprising that it created an uproar. Actually I think it reveals the real Don – gentle as a lamb…but always heckling like Statler and Waldorf in the balcony.

Meaning of Heckling?

by Michael Schultz on February 4, 2015

I came across this site called Albert Jack with a nice summary of heckling’s origins:


Heckling (Wonderful Word History)


heckler is a person who can be found loudly interrupting a performance or speech with what he or she assumes to be hilarious or relevant commentary. The original hecklers were to be found in the textile industry, in which ‘heckling’ involved straightening out and removing the impurities from flax fibres, prior to spinning and weaving into linen, using a special combing device. And it was the hecklers of the politically militant Scottish city of Dundee who in the early nineteenth century developed the delicate art of heckling as we know it today. In the factory, the senior heckler, possibly the only literate one present, would read out the day’s news while the others toiled at their looms, shouting out their particular opinions and getting embroiled in furious debate with fellow workers.

By the nineteenth century, heckling had become a largely tolerated part of popular theatre performances: some vaudeville shows even had heckling written into the script. More recently, The Muppet Show famously featured two grumpy old hecklers, Conrad Waldorf and Jerry Statler, while any stand-up comedian worth his or her salt has had to deal with the odd heckler over the years. Billy Connolly is a master, once telling a heckler, ‘You should get an agent, pal, instead of sitting there in the dark handling yourself.’ The brilliant Bob Monkhouse knew how to deal with them too, once firing back at one particularly irritating member of the audience: ‘Half a million sperm and yours had to win.’

But the best responses to unwanted interruptions are usually off-the-cuff political ones that cannot be rehearsed. Nancy Astor, the first woman to sit as a Member of Parliament, once challenged Winston Churchill with the words: ‘Winston, if I were your wife I would poison your coffee.’ To which Churchill famously retorted: ‘Madam, if I were your husband I would drink it.’ Or take the celebrated riposte of Labour politician Dennis Healey, during a debate in Parliament in June 1978, in which he likened criticism by Conservative minister Geoffrey Howe – the mildest of hecklers – to ‘being savaged by a dead sheep’.

In the sporting arena there have been some great one-liners too. Cricketer Ian Botham once came up with a quick response when Australian batsman Rodney Marsh tried to put him off his stride with a well-aimed heckle. ‘How’s your wife and my kids?’ Marsh taunted. ‘The wife’s fine,’ Botham replied coolly, ‘but the kids are retarded.’


Ha ha….makes me imagine someone, somewhere must be reading my book!

….and take Obama with you

by Michael Schultz on February 3, 2015

Yikes, Republicans in Texas are getting nasty with the Muslim population there. Heckling took place recently at the state capitol in Austin. Folks aren’t too crazy about Sharia Law in the U.S. ( or Canada for that matter). I think we knew that.

The one Muslim gentleman makes a good point – that more Muslims have been killed by Islamic terrorists that anyone else.

The old NIMBY approach ( not in my backyard) might be remembered. After all, there is a very strong North American- European military presence in Muslim nations. The Christian – Muslim tension is a bit of a powder keg  reminiscent  of the civil rights days of the 1960s.

Heckling God – Fryed!

by Michael Schultz on February 1, 2015

I like English actor Stephen Fry very much and have enjoyed his acting in episodes of Kingdom (2007)where he plays a small town lawyer. He is exceedingly bright and intelligent and gifted.

He has some rather surprising comments and , if you will, ‘heckles’ about God. It really isn’t complimentary. Seemingly an agnostic – perhaps an atheist – Fry applies the age old criticisms of a God who would let harm come to children.

Colourful always – this is a good one to start off the month of February!


It’s Not Easy Being a Referee……

by Michael Schultz on January 29, 2015

There has been much to heckle about lately. One site I viewed had heckles for referees. Most sports have some sort of official, referee or umpire. These ‘heckles’ have to do with hockey:

“You may be striped like a zebra but we all know you’re a horse’s ass.”

“Hey ref, get off of your knees – you’re blowing the game.”

“Hey stripes, how long have you worked at Footlocker?” ( where all the employees look like refs)

But seriously – you need these folks in the game…look what they put up with – it’s not easy being a referee:


The End of Satire?

by Michael Schultz on January 10, 2015

Perhaps the foremost reason I write in this space and why I wrote HECKLE: NOTES FROM THE PEANUT GALLERY, is to talk about ‘protest’ and ‘satire’….seriously.

I was not aware of Charlie Hebdo until all hell broke loose last week in Paris. Now the world is an even ‘tighter’ place questioning the act of protest and everyone knows about Charlie….the world is holding its ‘breath’ a little more often. Perhaps the best cartoon was one showing a terrorist with a gun in front of a fallen artist…..the caption? ” He drew first”. Even in tragedy – satire and protest.

One of the quotes from the Muslim side of the equation bears repeating – ” The prophet said that at the end of time, the blood of a martyr will be weighed against the ink of a scholar – and the ink of the scholar will be more heavy.” As much as that might favour the freedom of speech and protest, the most frightening context is “at the end of time”.

Are we headed to an all out religious war? Is satire blasphemous? Many democratic countries have their own version of Charlie Hebdo. In Canada it has been FRANK magazine. These acts of violence are troubling because they are happening more often and with little predictability. Will going out in a crowd be a liability in the future – or even now? Will we be safe?

There is a line of thought that suggests that using this satire through cartoons is the provocation. That said, it might be time to take a look at what tends to stir up the ‘pot’. But can you ever placate the ‘extremist’? And what’s with all these young guys opting for this as a career choice?

Bill Maher provides an interesting slant on Jimmy Kimmel – the day of the shooting in Paris at Charlie Hebdo:

Cosby at the Bud

by Michael Schultz on January 9, 2015

Bill Cosby rolled into London, Ontario with his warm hat in the cold weather for a show last night. There was protest outside and inside the Budweiser Centre. A member of the audience yelled out that he was a ‘rapist’. Cosby managed to placate and otherwise diffuse the situation. The heckler was led out of the building. Obviously the ushers had been warned and readied. Here’s the CBC rendition:

As someone pointed out, protesters are trying to be both ‘judge and jury’. It will be interesting to see how his other Ontario shows go. One ultimate message is that ‘disruptive’ hecklers will not be tolerated. Apparently there were a few empty seats in the house but the tickets were probably already paid for and Bill leaves town with his contract fulfilled.