Thought Theater's Heckler Handbook genre: Tongue-In-Cheek

Yesterday, while speaking outdoors at the White House, Chinese President Hu Jintao was heckled. Try as I might, I have been unable to find a guide book for the proper etiquette of a heckler. I decided I would come up with my own list of the do’s and don’ts of heckling. I've also provided some novel suggestions.


1. When you determine it is time to begin heckling, do not raise your hand in hopes of being called upon.

2. Do not begin your heckling with, “sir, excuse me…may I say something?"

3. Do not ask security for a copy of the speech so you can find a point in the speech to cue your heckling.

4. Unlike with the exit row in an airplane, do not ask those seated next to you if they feel comfortable with their role of being seated next to the heckler.

5. Do not ask those seated at either end of the aisle if they mind tripping security when they race to remove you from the room.

6. If asked for your press credentials at the door, do not say, “Oh, I’m just here to heckle."


1. You must yell and screech in a shrill and inaudible voice…otherwise your incoherent message may be understood.

2. Check with all the cameramen in the room to assure they have had time to get a preliminary focus for your seat…your time will be limited and you don’t want to miss out on a good photo-op.

3. Provide your credentials and a brief synopsis of your rant to the press in advance so you will not be misquoted.

4. You must appear outraged and emotional…if you are having trouble getting prepared, ask the person seated next to you to administer several bitch slaps.

5. Once captured, continue to yell but be sure to look back at the person you are yelling at…it’s rude to avoid eye contact.

6. Whenever possible, speak in a foreign language…it heightens the curiosity of the media.

Novel suggestions:

1. Once you stand up to heckle, do not remain in the same spot…begin running immediately to avoid quick capture…this will assure more of your message will be delivered.

2. Try interesting disguises…Groucho Marx is always a crowd pleaser. A good second choice is a troll doll wig.

Groucho disguise

Troll wig option

3. If at all possible, hold and kiss a baby in the audience…you want to seem likable.

4. Throw in a couple good jokes…you want your audience to connect with you.

5. Shake as many hands as possible as you are being rushed from the room.

6. If Joe Lieberman has an aisle seat, kiss him as security pulls you out of the room.

Daniel DiRito | April 21, 2006 | 9:12 AM
AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Post a comment

Trackback Pings

TrackBack URL for this entry

© Copyright 2024


Read about the Director and Cast

Send us an email

Select a theme:

Critic's Corner

 Subscribe in a reader


Powered by:
Movable Type 4.2-en

© Copyright 2024

site by Eagle River Partners & Carlson Design