Comedian Christina Walkinshaw endures sexual harassment onstage, club won’t book her again

By | May 23, 2013 at 4:13 pm | 6 comments | News, Opinion | Tags: , ,

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.

You can read Walkinshaw’s full account here.

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Dylan P. Gadino

Dylan is the founder and editor in chief of Laughspin. He launched Punchline Magazine in 2005 (which became Laughspin in the summer of 2011) with childhood friend Bill Bergmann. Dylan lives in northern New Jersey with his wife and two sons. He hopes the Shire is real.

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  • steve

    Hecklers aren’t usually nice to male comics either. It’s always wrong to heckle but if you’re going to do stand up get used to it.

    • Steven Kilpatrick

      That’s a really dumb take on this topic. Ideally we should teach people who are going to watch stand-up that if they’re cunts about it, they get tossed in the street. It’s the trouble makers and useless dregs that need to be acclimated and retrained, not the other way around.

      That said, you missed the entire point of the article. It wasn’t about the heckling, it was that the club didn’t allow the comedians to defend themselves in kind, and then chose to defend the assholes rather than the talent.

      If you show up to a place and start screaming at anyone, comedian, waitress, perfect stranger, you ought to be tossed the fuck out. If the club owner isn’t going to do that, at the very least they can avoid punishing the comedian for someone else’s bad behavior.

    • Tom Brady

      You clearly don’t have any kind of appreciation for good standup. It should be expected that any room where a heckler is going on, they should be told to stop and removed if they don’t. People don’t pay to see hecklers unless they are in a shitty bar where the comedy doesn’t matter. Even then, learning how to deal with hecklers is no way to foster creativity on stage. If I paid to see Maria Bamford do standup, and a heckler started up, how she dealt with it would not add to the show for me…I would want to see what she planned because I’m sure that that’s better.

      This is society. If someone started doing this in a movie theater or at a play, they’d be kicked out. Why should this be any different? Treat comics like people.

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