Thank you for coming to see a live stand-up comedy show. You as the audience member are my bread and butter, so I’m grateful that you showed up and paid the money to sit in the seats.
I have some issues with your behaviour, however.
I know that stand-up comedy is less formal than other forms of live entertainment, but please bear in mind that you are still expected to TURN OFF YOUR FUCKING CELL PHONE. Jokes are a lot less funny when they are interrupted twice by the “Hockey Night In Canada” theme.
Furthermore, if your cell phone goes off once, and it’s just silly absentmindedness that you forgot to turn it off, fine. Turn it off NOW and we’ll forget it. But if you just answer it and START TO TALK? You are an ass-hat of the highest order, and I hope you get scabies.
Now, moving on. As I said, I do understand that it’s less formal than other forms of live entertainment, but do you think that if you suddenly feel the pressing need to talk to the person beside you about your children/weekend plans/latest dream, perhaps you could GO OUTSIDE? I’m onstage trying to do my set, and you’re not only interrupting me, you’re interrupting the rest of the audience trying to enjoy my set.
Please don’t forget, when you watch stand-up on television, they can’t hear you. When you watch it live, we can.
Hey, you’re on stage, work it into your routine, call them on it, embarress them. All the funnier for the rest of the people. Paula Poundstone and some of the other improv’s are pretty good at making this kind of stuff work.
I would have walked off the stage, grabbed his phone and then start talking to the other party, asking personal question about the audience member for instance, or claiming that he’s at a gay/bondage strip club or something embarrassing.
There was a street magician I saw a couple times at Faneuil Hall. One time, someone was on a cell phone. (This wasn’t even someone watching the show, just someone passing by.) The magician asked for the phone and started talking to the person on the other end.
“What has little balls and hangs down?”
“What has big balls and hangs up?”
And then he hung up.
Wouldn’t quite work in your case, but you might want to have something prepared.
Like I said, I have my own ways of dealing with it, but it’s still REALLY annoying. Cell phones have been around for awhile. Live entertainment has been around even longer. Shouldn’t people know by now that a) you don’t talk to your date loudly in the middle of the show and b) You TURN YOUR CELL PHONE OFF?
<aside to audience> “Hang on a sec, this might be my friend calling…”
<extend hand to coax away the phone>
“Bob! Hey, what’s up?..No, I always turn it off when I come onstage, it kinda DISTRACTS the audience…Oh, shit! Really?! Damn, I’m glad you found me! Look, do me a favor and call the fire department. I’ll be there as soon as the show’s over.”
When cellphones were novel, I could (sort of) understand why people would get ‘caught’ (discreetly) answering, once, at somewhat inappropriate times, then doing the faux-embarrassed “Sorry, I forgot my new cellular phone was on” thing. Nowadays they’re common to the point of who-gives-a-shit?, and anyone who answers twice during your show deserves to have it yanked from their head and bitch-slapped with it.
But look at the bright side: Interrupting your act is probably as close to famous as that asshole is ever going to get.
Last year when Hubby was lecturing in class (university level), a student’s cell phone rang. Hubby paused and gave her a pointed look. She fumbled in her purse, retrieved the phone and proceeded to answer it.
“Hello? Hey, Sara! . . . Nothing much. Just in class.”
Hubby stared at her. Every head in the room craned to do the same. She then held up a finger in that “Just a sec,” gesture and kept on yapping. “He DID? No way! He said that?”
Hubby pointed to the door. “Get out of my class room.” And she actually had the nerve to be huffy about it.