Sometimes, all it takes is one viral clip and an act of bravery to help a comedian break out in their career. For instance, many of us remember when Kelly Bachman shut down Harvey Weinstein in a 2019 clip that took the world by storm.
Now, an October 2022 clip of comedian Ariel Elias proved why comedians are truly modern-day warriors. A heckler at a New Jersey comedy club threw a beer can at Ariel, and she handled it the funniest and riskiest way possible.
Ariel wasn’t the most well-known comedian before the heckling incident, although she did have somewhat of a following. But thanks to this viral clip, her career will likely blow up, considering the fact that her material was strong, and her improvised reaction to the crowd was even stronger.
But why did someone throw a beer can at her, and what happened?
Comedian Ariel Elias was forced to face a Trump supporter during her stand-up set.
Comedians on the road have to manage many different crowds with many different political opinions. However, many of the best know exactly how to do that, and Ariel proved herself in the clip that went viral. During her set, she typically does a little Q&A session with the audience, but this time, that backfired on her when a female audience member shouted, “Did you vote for Donald Trump?”
Expertly, Ariel responded, “Why would you ask me that question when you know I’m the only Jew in the room? Are you trying to get me killed?” To try and deflect from this, Ariel makes it clear that she doesn’t care who anyone voted for, and that everyone has a right to vote for whoever they choose. However, the audience member pushed onwards, still trying to get a reaction.
“I can tell by your jokes that you voted for Biden,” the audience member said. By now, Ariel has every right to talk back as roughly as she wants to. “I can tell by the fact that you’re still talking when nobody wants you to that you voted for Trump,” Ariel joked, with cheers and support from the audience. But that still wasn’t it for the audience member.
The audience member shouted, “No one was telling me to stop,” so Ariel then gets the crowd fully on her side when she asks them to “make some noise if you want her to shut up.” Of course, the crowd cheers.
As Ariel tries to transition back into her jokes, thinking the drama is over, all of a sudden a beer can comes out of nowhere. Not only does it fly in from nowhere, but it splatters against the wall and makes a giant thud. If it had actually hit Ariel, she could have been seriously injured. Instead, Ariel picks up the beer can, and notices that there’s still beer in it. So she does the unthinkable. She says nothing, and just chugs as the crowd cheers.
Ariel Elias has since spoken out about what happened.
“It wasn't until after the show that I found out it was the guy with her” who threw the beer, she told Newsweek. “As a feminist, I was a little disappointed it wasn't her… My understanding is she got kicked out, her boyfriend threw the can and then ran out. The club is pressing charges against him. I'm not, because in order to do that, I would have to return to Point Pleasant Beach, and I'm not doing that unless someone pays me to.”
In fact, the club has asked her to come back in April 2023, and Ariel has even gotten an offer to perform on Jimmy Kimmel Live, a rite of passage for many stand-up comedians. Of course, she got some great tweets out of the experience as well. “I'd really appreciate it if anyone could please just let my teachers know that chugging a beer has in fact been great for my career,” she tweeted shortly after the video went viral.
Some people are just confused as to how something like this could happen. When did it become OK for people to physically assault comedians? When the newspaper asked her if this type of behavior was perhaps encouraged by Will Smith slapping Chris Rock, Ariel said she didn't think so. “I don't think the reason people in this country are on edge and prone to violence has anything to do with one celebrity slapping another celebrity during an awards show that almost nobody watched,” she explained. “Just like Trump is a symptom, so too was ‘the slap.’”
“We as a society are so deeply traumatized, from mass shootings to COVID to climate disasters, and we have very little access to mental health,” Ariel pondered as she’s been thrown into the limelight. “I think since COVID, crowds are definitely a lot drunker, which doesn't help.”
There’s any number of reasons that the audience member was driven to violence, but what’s important is that Ariel handled it like a pro.