The It Factor Productions and CEO Alycia Kaback are working on an anti-bullying campaign that will present real-life stories and new ways to address the bullying problem that has crossed the physical border and entered the cyberworld in a very disturbing way.
Our first Anti-Bullying Campaign Interview Series was with comedian Geno Bisconte.
Bisconte has been described by fellow comics as a “fast talking wise guy that you just have to love.” This five-year veteran of the Philadelphia and Washington DC comedy circuit now brings his talents to the New York City club scene. In addition to being a regular panelist on The Artie Lange Show, he has been the opening act for Artie Lange’s standup across the country.
Comedy is a cut-throat industry. Being a comedian, you must constantly deal with online and on-stage hecklers.
It’s funny, there’s a distinct difference between on-stage and online. For example, there are different kinds of hecklers on-stage because it’s based on where you are and how it’s said.
What are some examples of online hecklers?
Online, the only heckler I deal with, really, is Twitter. Perfect example, whenever people tweet something terrible about me, or mean or not funny, immediately I favorite it and retweet it – that’s how I respond to them. The last thing I want to do is let them think they’re gonna win. And half the time, they become my friends and followers…well, for lack of a better word, [laughs] because I favorited their tweet. And the other thing is, like, they have 27 followers! Am I really going to be bothered for 27 followers? So, that’s how you deal with it online, in my opinion. When you’re confident enough in who you are, just favorite anything like that. I can’t talk for Facebook or Instagram, or whatever else there is cyber-bulling on, because I think it’s ridiculous. There’s always haters out there.
What are some instances of heckling while you were on-stage?
When I’m getting heckled at a show, it varies. Perfect example, I can give you two instances in the past week where I got heckled. I was doing a catering hall in New Jersey, like the big star that I am. It was for South Jersey’s Vineland High’s tennis team, like 100 people, it’s my old town, so I was down there doing it. There’s this one guy that was just making a lot of noise, a meathead. Then finally, I say something to him. The first thing I said was that it’s a comedy show; don’t take it seriously. Some woman said it was the football coach. I said, “Oh, you’re the football coach, I get it! You’re the alpha male! Let me assure you, you’re still the center of attention. If you could just let me do my job for 20 minutes, you can go back to being the hero everyone needs and worships.” That’s an extreme case of a heckler you cannot win with, ‘cause I didn’t want to do that, you know? You never want to scar the overall show like that, but some of the hecklers you can’t win with.
The other way, and this is the perfect way, sometimes they think they’re helping, and if you handle it the perfect way, you look like a star. For example, I opened for Artie in Detroit this past Saturday, and whenever you open for Artie, you get these people that think they’re helping by chanting, “Artie! Artie!” So, I go out there, I’m like 10-15 minutes in, I’m doing great ‘cause I’m great, then some woman toward the front row yelled, “Artie! Artie!” Right in that split second, that’s a heckler. I could’ve gotten mad, but I was ready for it and said, “Honey, you’ve got the rest of the week to shout out a guy’s name.” It was perfect; the whole crowd laughed, and the girl, she loved it.
These scenarios can be applied to the “average” person’s life, too.
Sure! It’s like this one comic – the more I work with him, the more I started realizing he was one of these guys that think if they try and belittle you and bring you down, that makes them better. Nothing you say bothers me. I bother myself – I’m crazy, you know? My girlfriend’s yoga teacher said today, “It may be his fault, but it’s your problem.” If someone says something to make you look bad, it’s their fault, but now it’s your problem, if you care.
If you’re interested in seeing one of Geno Bisconte’s gigs, check his website for a full list of upcoming performances. You can also follow him on Twitter at @GenoBisconte and be sure to check out his videos on his YouTube.
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