Columnist Tom Taylor: I survived being heckled in Liverpool!

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In Harrogate comedian Tom Taylor’s latest column, Room for a Laugh, the 40 stags and hens in three different parties seemed less interested in football results and more interested in throwing anatomically debasing insults to and fro...

Comedy wise it has been an exciting month of firsts for me. What with my twitter critic, photography opportunity and ‘accommodation available’.

Most recently, on Saturday, I encountered my first group(s) of stag and hens and my first proper heckler.

Liverpool is comedy marmite. You’re unlikely to do okay insomuch as you’re unlikely to ever delicately brush your toast with a fine coating of yeast extract and say: “Yeah it’s marmitey but I’m not going to fall of my chair because it’s so marmitey.”

You’re either going to storm it and walk off stage dripping in beer by-product or die a dry toast death. (I’m not quite sure where I’ve gone with my marmite metaphor there, reading it back it all seems a little convoluted.)

The Scouse are typically very warm and friendly people and often very funny. And herein lies the disparity.

If you are funny, they will be generous with their laughter and you’ll have a lovely time (this happened to me last October).

If you’re not funny, they will speak their mind and, in so doing, they will be funnier than you. You have offered the assorted gathering a marmite smeared flap of processed white bread and some wag in the audience has come out with some delicately spiced scone layered with Bonne Maman, Chantilly cream and lashings of wit.

This sort of happened to me on Saturday at the Holiday Inn, Lime Street (accommodation not offered!)

There was a weird atmosphere. Everton had lost to Man City so Everton fans were disappointed though also delighted that their loss heaped misery onto Liverpool fans.

The 40 stags and hens (in three different parties), who had travelled from as far afield as Ireland, Newcastle and Liverpool, seemed less interested in the football result and more interested in throwing anatomically debasing insults to and fro (or incredibly forward chat up lines – I’m very out of touch).

From what I could work out - whilst perched on the summit of an unfeasibly high bar stool with a piano on my lap trying to sing into a microphone that bent away from you whenever you exhaled - there was only one audience member who was neither a football mourner nor a hag (this is a nifty little portmanteau I’ve just invented).

I couldn’t quite distinguish his accent despite being revisited by his menacing growl on a nightly basis (N.B. in my dreams, he doesn’t live with me/hasn’t followed me home).

He was possibly from Scotland. He certainly lacked the wit of a local and instead, after every joke I delivered, regardless of its wider success, growled: “Well done Tom.”

I haven’t really been heckled before but I have prepped in the same way that I hope other professionals prep for unfortunate and/or rare events. Like airline pilots.

However, akin to all good anxiety dreams, I had revised the wrong topics.

I had perfect rejoinders for themes such as ‘you’re rubbish’ or anything loosely related to my mother. I had nothing for compliments, delivered threateningly.

As such, I thanked him in the same way I thanked my school games teacher who said, “Well done Tom,” when I failed to reach the sand in long jump.

Sitting Room Comedy Club hosts three of the country’s finest headliners next Wednesday, May 14 at St George Hotel, Harrogate.

Zoe Lyons (Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Roadshow, Dave’s One Night Stand) is joined by Sitting Room favourite Rob Rouse (8 Out of 10 Cats) and master of the one-liner Gary Delaney (Mock the Week regular, Loose Ends).

Tickets and more information are available from

Tom Taylor tweets at @tomtails