ROSEVILLE, CA - An aggressive heckler who interrupted a standup set during a comedy competion has caused an uproar among local comics.
Comedian Bryan Yang was performing at Mandango's Sports Bar & Grill late Monday night when the heckler forced his way onstage and hurled a racist taunt at Yang before tossing him off the platform.
"Shut the (expletive) up, gook!" the heckler demanded. "Get the (expletive) off stage!"
The incident was caught on video and posted to YouTube.
The heckler was Abe Taleb, a manager at Sacramento's Punchline Comedy Club.
Mandango's owner Scott Ashley said the whole thing was staged.
"Abe got up and we had fun with it and Yang knew about it," Ashley said. "Everybody knew it was staged."
The YouTube posting set off a heated debate among local comics who insisted the incident was both unplanned and inappropriate.
Yang gave no indication the rude interruption was planned in an email to News10, but he defended Taleb.
"Abe is a friend... He had a few too many last night and the show got out of hand," Yang wrote.
But another comic heckled by Taleb who is shown in the YouTube clip trying to prevent him from going onstage was not as charitable.
Ray Molina suggested Sacramento-area comics were afraid to speak up about the incident because Taleb is a powerful force in the comedy scene.
"It's definitely not cool and I didn't appreciate it," Molina posted on Facebook. "I know you think people will misunderstand the gravity of it, but it was s**t."
Taleb did not return a phone call seeking comment.
by George Warren, GWarren@news10.net