'There Was Blood Everywhere': Now Audience Members Are Straight Up Punching Comics

'There Was Blood Everywhere': Now Audience Members Are Straight Up Punching Comics

When people say, “Comedy should punch up,” they don’t typically follow it with, “From the front row.”

The Edinburgh Fringe Festival is in full swing as artists from around the world take their talents to Scotland for the largest performing arts celebration in the world. The three-week extravaganza is one of the most attractive destinations for traveling comedians during the summer months, as well as a rare opportunity for local acts to test their material on international audiences. And, as of last Friday, Edinburgh Fringe is also the latest battleground for the ongoing “Hecklers vs. Comedians” war, as the former finally crossed a new line and drew some blood.

The past couple of years have been tumultuous ones for the relationship between stand-up comedians and the audiences whose only job is to sit in their seats and listen. Scotland’s own Colin Higgins paid the price for the intensifying aggression amongst the heckler community when, during the performance of his show “Painspotting” on Friday night, a drunk woman from the audience stormed the stage and punched him in the mouth, sending him to the hospital for some stitches.

“I got the shock of my life,” Higgins told Daily Record of the moment an unnamed intoxicated woman stormed the stage and attacked him mid-performance. “Police were called and the woman was arrested. It’s the last thing you expect when you have an audience roaring with laughter.”

The comedian wouldn’t reveal which joke provoked such a pointed response, only that the aftermath was more Braveheart than Craig Ferguson. “There was blood everywhere. To say I was stunned is an understatement. I didn’t know what to do,” Higgins explained.

Higgins’ comedic journey has always been fraught with adversity – the 40 year old Scotsman was involved in one of the most high-profile pedophile arrests in Scottish history when he blew the whistle on child predators and convicted murderers Charles O'Neill and William Lauchlan after they abused him as a teenager. Higgins’ act revolves around his ability to heal through humor, as the comic says, “I found laughing in the face of evil was the best way to overcome all the horror of what those monsters did.”

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