Patton Oswalt Declares War on Pro-Heckling Columnists
With his hilarious observations on pop culture and life in general, 43-year-old comedian and actor Patton Oswalt has established himself as one of the most essential voices on Twitter. But now his million-plus followers have gotten a dose of what happens when you get on his bad side.
The transgression? A defense of the ancient practice of "heckling" -- i.e. when an audience member, often emboldened with the help of one-too-many cocktails, rudely interrupts a performer in the middle of their act -- published last Thursday in the Chicago Tribune.
In "A field guide to hecklers," Tribune writers Nina Metz and Chris Borrelli defend the practice. Borrelli says he enjoys heckling "as someone who wants an event to be memorable."
"I have seen countless comedians and forgotten most of them," he writes. "But I remember each and every time I have witnessed a performer get into it with an obnoxious audience."
Metz wholeheartedly agrees, saying she's "always secretly thrilled (and nervous!) when someone else does it... Heckling throws a big, honking wrench into that and suddenly -- record scratch! -- here's a moment that feels unpredictable. What is going to happen?" she asks.
Metz then goes on to call Statler and Waldorf -- the cantankerous duo in the balcony seats of every episode of The Muppet Show -- her "spirit guides."
And so on and so forth.
Oswalt, a hard-working and hugely sucessful comedian who has had to face down his own share of wiseasses over the years, isn't having it.
"F--k you@chicagotribune for knowing zilch about comedy," he writes in one tweet.
He then goes after the writers directly:
"Hey @NinaMetzNews & @borrelli," he continues. "You know as much about comedy as @JoseCanseco knows about spelling & I know about staying thin. Dipshits."
And then: "BTW, @NinaMetzNews & @borrelli: if my last Tweet was a bit harsh? Tell yourselves it was 'memorable.' See? All better. Cretins."
Neither Tribune writer has yet responded to Oswalt, who next stars in an arc on the new season of FX's Justified, on Twitter. Quick, snappy comebacks are, after all, probably best left to the professionals.