After video of a standup comedian went viral for how she handled not only a heckler but having a beer hurled at her onstage, the person responsible for chucking the can won’t face charges.
Police in Point Pleasant Beach said Wednesday that they had been in contact with comic Ariel Elias about the Saturday night incident at Uncle Vinnie’s Comedy Club, but said she did not want to sign a criminal complaint, according to the Asbury Park Press. The police said Elias told them she couldn’t see who threw the can of beer at her due to the stage lighting.
Elias told Newsweek that she wouldn’t be pressing charges, saying she would have to return to the town to do so, “and I’m not doing that unless someone pays me to.” However, she also said in a Twitter message to an Asbury Park Press reporter that it is “really disappointing if (the alleged beer thrower) faces no legal consequences.”
Elias did have a comedic take on the situation though, telling the reporter that “ultimately, he has to live with himself, and that’s probably punishment enough.”
It all stems back to her Oct. 8 gig, when a woman in the crowd started heckling her. The woman was convinced that Elias had voted for President Joe Biden in the 2020 election, and apparently wasn’t too happy about it.
“I could tell by your jokes you voted for Biden,” the heckler can be heard saying from her seat in the audience.
Without missing a beat, Elias was ready to fire back.
“I can tell by the fact that you’re still talking when no one wants you to, that you voted for Trump,” the comedian said to cheers from other audience members.
And while Elias then tried to move on with her routine, things escalated quickly. A can of beer, with plenty of liquid still inside, was then hurled onstage. It sailed to Elias’ right and smashed into the brick wall right behind her.
The audience was in shock, but it was what Elias did next that made her go viral: She picked up the tossed can and chugged what was left, sending the crowd into a raucous applause.
“Her taking a swig out of that can, it was comedy gold. Not the situation, but how she handled it. Comedy gold,” said Dino Ibelli, the owner of Uncle Vinnie’s.
Ibelli said he had asked the woman to leave when she wouldn’t stop the heckling, and she complied. But her husband is the one who chucked the can at the stage, and then ran out, Ibelli said. He was apparently captured on the club’s surveillance cameras.
“We see him throw the can…his friend actually told me his last name,” Ibelli told NBC New York. “Friends gave him up, yeah.”
The video has been watched millions of times online, and Elias is getting praise from big comedians: Jim Gaffiganwho called her “super funny and total class,” Whitney Cummings who said she’s a class act, and Patton Oswalt, who said Elias exhibited “rock ribbed poise … I hope your heckler is hungover and hating life right now.”
Ibelli said he can’t tell if it’s people feeling “entitled, or it’s OK to do that,” but was just happy Elias wasn’t hit or hurt.
As for the comedian, well, she has done what she does best: Telling jokes about the situation.