Voices in an Audience (a story) – the heckler and speaker dynamic


Voices in an Audience  – the heckler and speaker dynamic

Bob stood up at the front, on the stage. He was full of puff and swagger. And everyone heard him. You’d think that this meant that everyone listened to Bob’s opinions. But many didn’t.

They were too busy listening to Jimmy, the dufus in the back who was mocking Bob. Though some of what Bob was saying was made obvious due to Jimmy’s help. Due to the broadcast loop of a heckler. It didn’t mean they liked Jimmy better, or that they didn’t like Bob. They just didn’t want to think seriously about anything that day. They wanted to have fun.

So Bob paid the heckler to do specific things in his mocking of Bob’s words. If he was going to broadcast, at least Bob had a reign on his words.

Like the kings of old. The court’s fool and singers were paid by the king. If they wanted the gig, they had to be good and not bite the hand that fed them. Bob made one warning to Jimmy. If he ever made Bob mad, he’d tell the crowd that Bob was paying Jimmy and prove it with his checks. So Jimmy was trying to keep that in mind as he laid out his tomfoolery about Bob. He could poke the bear, but not humiliate him.

And, for awhile, this worked.

Till Jimmy got too complacent…

Bob was beginning to get irritated. And gave Jimmy a few warnings. But Jimmy didn’t take heed. So Bob delivered on his threat. And Jimmy was booed down the next times he opened his mouth. He didn’t know that Bob had followed thru on his threat. And he couldn’t figure out why the crowd had turned on him. So he stopped speaking. Asked a friend to take over the heckling of Bob’s speeches. His friend refused. Because he knew about the checks. Esp when Jimmy asked for a cut of anything Freddie got from his heckling. So the checks weren’t faked then. Freddie had given his friend the benefit of the doubt till that moment. Jimmy lost a friend that day.

Bob went back to the days of being the sole voice in the crowd, but he wasn’t listened to anymore.

Moral of the story? Sometimes having a heckler gets your message out in a way you can’t. But it’s a good idea to keep a reign on them. Then they are a good tool for any orator or comedian.

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