Kevin Mazur/Getty Images
Kevin Mazur/Getty Images
It's always a tense moment when a comedian breaks form during a gig to mete out some stage justice on an obnoxious heckler. Just ask Michael Richards.
But Russell Brand quickly put everyone's fears at ease over the weekend (well, everyone's except for the loudmouth in the crowd) when the quick-witted Brit hilariously and absolutely owned an audience member who thought it would be a good idea to disrupt the comedian's routine by shouting out the name of his ex-wife, Katy Perry.
It wasn't. But here's something that undeniably was: catching the whole thing (which does feature an f-bomb or two) on tape.
The heckler hadn't exactly been timid throughout Brand's show, which took place at the Borgata in Atlantic City on Saturday night, and while he had indeed made rather loud mention of the comic's ex-missus earlier in the night, Brand's explosion came after the man shouted out "God save the queen!" during a bit about the royal family.
God help his ego, more like, because that was all the disruption Brand needed to switch into full-scale verbal annihilation mode.
"What, mate?" Russell tentatively began. "I want to see what this person looks like, turn the lights on for me because I really want to achieve some sort of confirmation. Let's have a look...Come here, let's see you."
Though the man understandably didn't make himself immediately known, the audience was all too happy to direct him Brand-ward.
"Let's see how your mental illness looks in the daylight," Russell said, ushering the man forward and himself moving through the audience to get a closer look at his adversary. And he obviously didn't like what he saw.
"It's you, is it? Oh, dear. I was hoping that your personality was just a result of physical beauty. But then I saw you. I thought, 'This guy's confident, probably, because he's incredibly handsome,' but look at you. You look like somebody who's fallen off the outside of a church. And what is it that you have rattling around your mind, some bizarre combination of alcohol and idiocy...some cocktail of nothing. And yet the confidence to continue shouting. They say of course, don't they, that empty vessels make the most noise. What an enormous echo of nothingness from you."
And while some comics might take that moment to retract their verbal swords, Russell was only just sharpening his.
"I know on some level, despite your physical appearance to an ape, that you're a human being," he continued, steamrolling through his nearly three-minute exercise in word-induced devastation.
"I think silence is your friend. I think keep your lips firmly, firmly clamped together. Because everything that comes out of your mouth, from your idiotic announcements to your disgusting halitosis that's coming through this room, is an abomination."
Unlike Russell's indomitable flair for shutting down hecklers. That's just pure entertainment.