He did it in front of my friends as well as a bunch of other people, and he did it without my consent: Judah Friedlander made me heckle him in May, 2012.
I was wearing a tight skirt, and I’d had one too many Heinekens, so some might say I was asking for it.
In a crowded and trendy NYC club, the comic wore a bright, boxy trucker’s cap that looked more at home on a dusty Midwest highway than in a damp Manhattan basement.
“Who here has always had a hankering to upstage public figures?“ Judah queried the increasingly drunk crowd.
“I have! I have! By the way, love your hat with that shirt, Judah!”
His dilated pupils zoned right in on me. Inexplicably dilated, what with that gigantic hat brim barely protecting his eyes from the bright lights.
“Oh, I see we have some disrespect for the lid, here. What are you, a snooty haberdasher?”
It was at that moment that I saw red. Mostly because Judah’s hat was a bright shade of red.
A gear shifted in my brain. I was compelled to respond to the man up on the stage. The voices in the crowd parted like the Red Sea, and a rant learned in childhood to deliver against bullies reflexively came pouring forth from my lips:
“Why, you insignificant piece of humanity born in the depths of ignorance! Your language is too vulgar for my intellectual capacity. Get that into your cranium!“
My Bronx-born and -raised mother had long ago taught my brother and I to give that speech, and oddly, each time, she’d say it with a British accent. And every time we delivered that diatribe to a bully, we got thrown under a bus.
It was no different in the situation with Judah in the Manhattan club. He shredded me to pieces in front of that drunken crowd.
The one positive enveloped in the excessive Heinekens is that it mutes the memory and renders the lesson:
Don’t. Heckle. Despite the enticing siren song of a capped comic.