Because of how naturally funny/charming I am, I decided to pursue a career in comedy by being a hedge fund manager who is a bit wacky (on occasion, I include memes in my company emails). Unfortunately, my twisted sense of humor is what got me into trouble on a recent flight.
I was traveling first-class flight from Orange, Connecticut back to JFK (I was at the PEZ Visitor Center in Connecticut because I am considering investing in the company after I got a tip that the guy who made the sexy mudflap silhouettes was designing something for PEZ, and I want to get in while I still can). When the captain misspoke and said “tur-buh-lence,” instead of “turbulence,” I was like a shark smelling blood in the water. I did what I was put on this earth to do: belittled someone who was just trying to do their job.
I stood up and said, “I’m not saying our pilot has a drinking problem, but when they were fueling up before takeoff, I saw him ask if they could save some kerosene for him.” The other passengers didn’t like that one. They seemed confused, and a little worried that the pilot was drunk. So I launched into my pre-written material about what it’s like to fly first class vs. what I imagine it’s like to fly coach vs. what it’s like to fly to the horse track to explain to the jockey that if the horse you own doesn’t win today’s race, you’re going to break his legs. They didn’t give me a single chuckle for that one.
When I realized that my jokes weren’t working with this crowd, I panicked big time and started doing plagiarized material. Problem was, in this frantic state, I couldn’t think of any comedians to rip-off, so I started repeating Freddy’s one liners from the “Nightmare on Elm Street” movies. I was saying things completely out of context like, “No running in the hallways!” “Better not dream and drive!” and “How’s THIS for a wet dream?” The audience really hated those. That was when the air marshal deemed my comedy stylings “hazardous to those aboard” and got involved.
He started with the classic “boo”’s, and the “you suck”’s, but then came every aspiring comedian’s nightmare; he began reading excerpts from my rejected SNL submission packet. I have no idea how he got his hands on that, but boy was my face red when he started reading the sketch I had written for Michael Shannon called “The Shape of Water-Boarding.” I’m embarassed to admit this now (not because I’ve grown as a person but because I only now know how toxic it is to publicly hold this opinion), but the sketch is pretty unmistakably pro-torture, which the air marshal said was ironic because everyone was being tortured by my jokes.
I pretended to laugh and then I tried to excuse myself by saying I thought I left my phone in the cockpit. This was a ruse to get close enough to the captain so that I could get a look at him and be inspired to tell funnier roasts.
Unfortunately, I found out the hard way that when you attempt to go to the cockpit on an airplane after bombing a stand-up set, the air marshal is allowed to go “sicko mode,” and “roast your ass like glazed pig.” He really let me have it. When you look like me (7 feet 4 inches, size 6 shoes, and a chin strap beard that’s so thin you can only see it if the light hits it from the perfect angle, like a fishing line) you’re an easy target. I tried to roast him back, but he informed me that roasting an air marshal is a form of assault and I could go to jail for it. I already have to go to jail in a couple days for embezzlement, so I really wasn’t looking to add any time to my sentence.
The most devastating thing about all this was that there was a talent scout on board and because of his performance, the air marshal got an HBO special, which should have been mine. Now all I have is my six figure salary to comfort me. Life truly is unfair.
Heckling a comedian is ALWAYS wrong. It doesn’t matter if they’re in big theater, a little club, or 20,000 feet in the air and the comedian clearly has never performed in front of a live audience before. We are artists and deserve the respect you’d give to, at the very least, the umpire at a little league game or an Army guy.