Wednesday, November 11th at Rory Dolan’s on McLean Avenue in Yonkers, NY; the Yonkers Comedy Festival’s Kick-Off party and world record show was hopping! Half-Way thru the record show which we were out to set for most comedians in a single show; something happened. An enraged heckler from the back of the room began to scream at comedian Tom Grossi after Tom went in with a bit regarding a heckler making fun of his mother. The man in the crowd began to scream at Tom about his disapproval of making fun of mothers. When we approached him; he poured his bottle of beer over his head on his way out…
It is still being argued whether or not this was planned and we are going to try to break it down.
What we KNOW is this:
-The heckler came alone and bought a ticket at the door. He also bought a Yonkers Comedy Festival t-shirt.
– The heckler got Chrissie Mayr to sign his shirt
– The heckler was very quiet and to himself for the entirety of his time at the event.
– We know that Tom Grossi was tired and had asked politely to be put up in a very particular spot in the lineup.
– Tom Grossi has an extensive history of improv with classes and shows, and has MANY improv friends throughout the area
– Chrissie Mayr also has an extensive history of improv
– The joke that Tom was doing was ABOUT a heckler who was yelling about his mother “Your mother’s a whore”.
– During that joke this heckler in the back of the room exploded, screaming at Tom Grossi to not talk abouit his mother (Tom’s mother? The hecklers mother? We’re not sure of that)
– Chrissie Mayr, Rich DeLayo, and myself ran over to him to try and defuse the situation, as he took his bottle of beer and dumped it all over his head; completely emptying it.
– We then had to escort him outside
The question is, was this gentleman planted by Tom Grossi? Was this an elaborate prank?
ARGUMENT FOR IT BEING A PRANK:
Tom who has been one of the biggest supporters of NoMa Comedy wanted to spice things up for our kick-off party. He reached out to an old friend he knew from improv years ago, handed him some cash for admission and the t-shirt. Knowing he was only going to be telling one joke, he already knew what joke it would be and how to set him up. A joke abouta heckler yelling at Tom about his mother. His improv friend either was Albanian or put on a very convincing accent. Let his friend act completely isolated and not interract with ANYONE, except for one problem and clue- he engaged in pleasant conversation with Chrissie Mayr and asked her to sign his t-shirt; which she did.
Why ask Chrissie Mayr? There were many great comedians who along with Chrissie, have television credits and have been seen on many stages. Well the proof lies in the fact that Chrissie too has a similar improv background. She studied at UCB and Magnet theatres before putting on her own one-woman show. So our “heckler” remembered Chrissie and asked her to sign his shirt.
As soon as Tom Grossi got on stage, our “heckler’ held up against the backwall screamed as if a specific line was triggered. Before Rich DeLayo and I even had a chance to get to him, Chrissie was already there trying to calm him down; she said they had a fine conversation earlier and perhaps she could calm him down. As soon as we approached him, he poured his entire bottle of beer over his head before we could carry him out. He ranted and raved all the way to the street never letting his act go until we said goodnight to him finally; where he calmly walked off wearing his beer soaked YCF t-shirt. Moments later, Tom Grossi said goodnight and was off.
Overnight, Tom Grossi commented on a photo of the “heckler” saying how as he drove past him, he was still yelling and screaming. I beg the question; perhaps Tom Grossi went staight out and picked up his long-time friend and gave him a ride home. Well done Tom Grossi!
ARGUMENT FOR IT BEING REAL
He was a lonely drunk Albanian man who hates jokes about mothers.
You make the call!
UPDATE: Tom Grossi claims the hole in our “conspiracy” is that he wouldn’t have had the money to pay for the “heckler’s” cover fee and shirt. Rich DeLayo also does not agree with the theory, stating that Tom Grossi “Isn’t bright enough” to pull off such a stunt.