‘Heckler’ Destroyed? Fan Says TikTok Comic Ashley Gavin Repeatedly Told Her to Kill Herself After Accidentally Spoiling A Set-Up
Older comedy fans love to chide their younger counterparts about the hypersensitivity of modern comedy clubs, but I don’t remember Don Rickles ever telling a paying audience member to “shoot yourself in the fucking head.”
New York comedian Ashley Gavin is one of the breakout stars of the burgeoning TikTok stand-up scene, having parlayed her online persona into sold-out shows across the country. A mainstay of multiple comedy podcasts and host of the show We're Having Gay Sex, Gavin’s acerbic, aggressive style has earned her a respectable online footprint alongside her work on more “traditional” comedy platforms like Netflix, Hulu and Comedy Central. Like many comics who have found success through the new channels of content distribution, crowdwork and audience participation at her live shows have comprised a large part of her digital brand — as well as her biggest controversy.
Late last month, TikTok user Olivia Neely, a self-identified suicide survivor, posted a video in which she explained an upsetting experience she had at Gavin’s performance at the Helium Comedy Club in Indianapolis on June 16th, during which Neely says that Gavin berated her for breaking the tension during a joke set-up and repeatedly yelled at Neely to “un-alive myself,” a TikTok euphemism for “kill yourself” that can slip past the platform’s watchful censors.
Neely’s video quickly went viral, amassing more than three million views and numerous responses from Gavin’s fanbase expressing their shock at their favorite comic’s explosive reaction to a crowd member misreading the room mid-performance. Pivotally, Neely says that, before the show began, Gavin expressly asked the audience “to not hold back, to just laugh and be loud.” Then, when Gavin mentions that she’d had an abortion in the middle of the set, Neely, in her own words, shouts, “Woo!” breaking the tension that Gavin had hoped to create for a punchline.
Audio recordings of Gavin’s response to Neely’s interruption circulated on TikTok before being removed by the site, but a transcript of Gavin’s rant published by The Daily Dot corroborates Neely’s version of events in explicit detail. “That was the most virtue-signaling piece of dogshit I’ve ever seen in my entire life,” Gavin tells Neely in the recording. “That is the most — in a comedy club? Everyone here is pro-abortion. Kill yourself. Go kill yourself.”
When a shocked Neely said that she’d attempted suicide in the past, Gavin continued, “I don’t care. You’re an annoying person. Try harder to kill yourself. You just interrupted the tension that I was building into the joke. Your mother should’ve aborted you.”
After Neely and her friend walked out of the performance, Gavin seemed to pull back, shouting at waitstaff to comp their tickets and drinks before addressing the remaining audience, “I’m just doing my job. I can’t have people woo-ing in the middle of every fucking joke. The job is tension. That’s the job, I have to do that. I’m very sorry if my ‘kill yourself’ jokes hurt her, but she volunteered the information to me.”
In recent weeks Gavin’s fanbase has responded to the rant with outrage as countless followers flood her social media accounts with demands that Gavin address the altercation and apologize to Neely. Gavin, however, has remained silent on the incident, with no new tweets since the Indianapolis show and a sparse couple of videos in the following days, all of which have been brigaded with comments such as, “Do you play the ukulele by any chance?”