Toronto-based comedian Christina Walkinshaw landed what seemed like a decent gig last September– $500 for four feature spots at Yuk Yuk’s at Casino Niagara in Ontario. Upon arriving at the club, however, she became suspicious of the venue’s odd heckler policy, which read, in part:
…the use of profanity, name calling or abrasive comebacks towards hecklers should be strongly avoided. If you feel hecklers are not being handled in a proper manner during your show, please voice this to the management.
During her first show Thursday night, Walkinshaw writes in an essay posted on XOJane.com today, a table of guys began shouting, “Show us your tits! Show us your tits!” which eventually gave way to “Show us your bush! Show us your bush!” Not cool. Even less cool? The club did nothing about it. Instead of walking off the stage, Walkinshaw somehow finished her set.
As someone who despises confrontation, Walkinshaw explains, she struggled with the idea of saying something to the manager— another woman, by the way. In the end, Walkinshaw told her, “Hey. The next time a bunch of guys are shouting ‘Show us your tits! Show us your bush!’ you might want to tell them to shut up.”
“I thought you liked it,” was the manager’s response, according to Walkinshaw. And then an apology came and Walkinshaw accepted.
Despite the incident Walkinshaw remained on Casino Niagara’s booking list – no hard feelings! – but then was informed that she would not be booked again due, to the above fiasco (hard feelings, after all). A spokesperson from the casino emailed a statement to the Globe and Mail, saying, ”Based on post-show comments from our staff (following the September, 2012 show), we decided not to re-book Ms. Walkinshaw at this time. Ms. Walkinshaw’s recount of the evening was outlined using social media. We’ve reviewed all of the details of the evening and stand by our decision not to re-book her.”
It’s beyond obvious the situation should’ve stopped no more than five seconds after the first heckle. Unfortunately, this is yet another reminder that there are still people in the live entertainment industry who think comedians – unlike those who perform in theater or in movies or television or play in a band – are simply clowns and should be treated any way the audience deems appropriate.