In this week’s episode of FIRST, comedian Pax Assadi tells us about the time a heckler beat him to the punch – literally.
The late, great westie Ewen Gilmour was at the peak of his comedy powers when Pax Assadi was starting out on the stand-up circuit. So when Gilmour came up to him after watching his fourth gig and told him, “hey, you’re pretty funny”, Assadi felt like things were going well. He had no idea how badly his fifth gig was about to go.
Gilmour invited the fresh-faced young comedian to open for him at a packed out rural community hall. “I go on stage, I start talking, nobody cares,” Assadi remembers. “Nobody’s listening, nobody’s laughing. It’s dead silent.”
It gets worse. “Then a lady in the back has just had enough. She stands up and goes, ‘mate, get off the stage, you’re not funny.’” This is not the bad bit. Pax Assadi, having just encountered his first heckler, decides to take her on.
“Now, when you learn the craft, you learn that this is not the response that you should do,” he admits with the benefit of hindsight. He tells her, in slightly more offensive language, to say it to his face. So she does.
“She looks strong. She looks like she could destroy me,” Assadi remembers thinking as he stood frozen on the stage. She gets [up] and she takes a full-blown swing – doesn’t say a word, just takes a full-blown swing at my head.”
Pax Assadi’s fifth gig ends with him scurrying off stage like a cockroach while his heckler stands triumphant, arms raised in victory, basking in the applause of the crowd – including Gilmour.
“Ewen doesn’t give me any advice, he doesn’t say anything, he just walks on stage,” Assadi laughs. “He was meant to do an hour, but he [went on and] crushed for like, almost two hours.”
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