This Comedic Actor Stopped Doing Stand-up When a Heckler from Hell Threatened His Life

This Comedic Actor Stopped Doing Stand-up When a Heckler from Hell Threatened His Life

The most violent audience member at the Holiday Inn in Jacksonville, Texas should watch himself — Firefly fans won’t take kindly to losing Alan Tudyk again.

Of all the criminally underappreciated comedic actors in entertainment, Tudyk is undoubtedly among the most talented. Beyond his beloved performance as the fan-favorite pilot and comic relief character Wash in Joss Whedon’s space western Firefly, Tudyk has crushed parts in popular projects like Dodgeball: A True Underdog StoryTucker & Dale vs. EvilDeath at a Funeral and, currently, the delightful and displaced main character “Harry Vanderspeigle” on the Syfy series Resident Alien

But despite all the roles Tudyk has killed, one nearly killed him as it put an end to his early stand-up comedy career. While working as the house comic for a Holiday Inn in East Texas, Tudyk had his life threatened by an ornery audience member in the middle of a performance, an incident he described to The A.V. Club earlier this week. Gorram hecklers.

With respect to The A.V. Club, we have many follow-up questions about the incident that ended Tudyk's “very brief stint” playing crowds of business travelers and angry murderers in Cherokee County, Texas that deserve to be answered. First off, what kind of Holiday Inn books comics to do half-hour sets in their lobby and makes them bring their own AV equipment? Also, what horrible thing did this irate heckler say to Tudyk in the middle of his set that made him believe that his life was in danger, and what happened between him and the would-be assassin when he was breaking down the set? Does Tudyk remember any of the comedy songs he used to sing in his act? Can he sing them for us now?

Decades later, it's clear that the pivot from stand-up to improv worked in Tudyk's favor — beyond his aforementioned performances in live-action comedy movies and TV shows, he's also one of the most sought-after talents in voice acting, playing the robot K2SO in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Sonny in I, Robot and many roles in many Disney animated projects that include Moana, Big Hero 6 and Zootopia. And, at least to our knowledge, not one of those roles ever earned him death threats.

Who knows where Tudyk's career would have taken him if some cowboy didn't threaten to end his stand-up career by force. But, speaking of force, there's still time for Star Wars fans to ruin everything and cancel his film career. No one loves sending performers death threats quite like those nerds.


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