Friday, September 13, 2013

Heckler (2007) - Review

In defense of the genre
Jamie Kennedy gets an inordinate amount of hate.  He definitely seems a little on the immature side, and I don't think he's one of the funniest people out there, but I kind of feel for the guy, actually.  There are points in this funny but riveting documentary where you see a lot of comics show some genuine sadness and hurt feelings.  There is a particularly uncomfortable scene where Carrot Top gets all emotional, and any movie that makes you feel bad for Carrot Top has to be good.

Most of the film is simply interviews with comedians, footage of hecklers from shows, and the occasional interview with a critic (ie. professional heckler).  There's some funny stuff in here, but it also brings up a big problem I have with criticism, and that's attacking the person directly rather than the work.  You can hate Son of the Mask all you want (and you should); you can say that Kennedy's performance in it is awful (and it is).  But why the need to visciously attack the man himself?  This documentary proves that even the most smug of comics have feelings and that those can be hurt like anyone else's.

Feel compassion!

Beyond the critic aspect, the idea of heckling at a show is simply disgusting.  It's nothing but disruption and childish distraction from the person that people paid (or at least got free tickets on the radio) to go see.  Usually comics can rebound from this, see Patton Oswalt's great rebuttal on Werewolves and Lollipops.  But in some cases it can derail a whole show, turn the audience against the comic, and worse.  And they don't deserve that.  Even the smug ones.  Well, except maybe for Tom Green.

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