Karen Koren: Big Yin shrinks from hecklers

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IT’S ironic that during the run of my TV series, Late ’n’ Live Guide To Comedy on BBC Scotland, the stand-up scene should explode due to the most talented stand-up in the world cutting short his shows because of hecklers.

I speak, of course, of Billy Connolly, the father of stand- up, who has ruled the comedy scene for nearly 40 years.

He has always been the best in my eyes and I was so disappointed to hear that he is being intolerant of hecklers. Is he really that old that he cannot take it anymore? Has he really forgotten his roots?

I read that Billy has never liked hecklers (who does?), however, when you are as good as he is, you can handle anything – or maybe we just love him so much that we believe he can.

I understand why, at his age, he doesn’t have to tolerate them, but being as cool and funny as he is, I thought he would give them short shrift and get on with it.

He has said that heckling is okay in wee clubs but in a concert hall or more sophisticated venue there is no need for it and hecklers should be ejected.

That’s rubbish; it’s just that hecklers are more likely to say their piece late at night after a drink, than in the early evening in a concert hall.

It speaks volumes when you consider that it is one of the more experienced comedians who has become intolerant of hecklers. Normally all it takes is a good put down line to shut them up and the audience are more likely to cheer and get behind the comic.

Personally, I prefer being in a smaller club watching a working comic give as good as they get. Such a shame Billy feels the way he does.

I’ll always think he is the best, but maybe it is time for him to hang up his microphone.