Jamie Kennedy has had it. After enduring years of getting heckled onstage, in the press, and, more recently, at the hands of virulent bloggers, the comedian and star of Malibu's Most Wanted and Son of the Mask is finally retaliating. Heckler, his stinging documentary aimed at silencing “uninformed” critics, opened last night at Clearview Chelsea West Theater for the Tribeca Film Festival. Yet, given the chance, Kennedy admits there are a few people he'd like to heckle himself: “Dumb critics, misinformed old-men critics, angry bloggers, virgin 35-year-old bloggers, and fan-boy weirdos who have Vulcan fanny packs — they’re all out to level the playing field and take you down.”
What’s the worst heckler you’ve ever had?
One guy yelled, “How long is it going to be before you start doing infomercials?” I thought that was pretty funny. The worst review I ever got said that I should be lynched, dragged behind a Chevy pickup truck, and left to die slowly.
Has blogging changed comedy and artistic performance in general?
Comedians are going to be funny and bloggers are going to blog. All this stuff online just makes the criticism more accessible. I just want to know who “fryingpan673” is.
What made you decide to make this film?
At first it was a personal thing: I was getting heckled, and that was funny. Then other comedians were getting heckled, and that was funny. But then I started reading the reviews. Steve Martin once told me not to talk to reporters a lot because they can jumble your words; they can take what you say and put it somewhere else. And I never really understood that until this last year or so.
George Lukas, Mike Ditka, Carrot Top, Bill Maher, and Rob Zombie all appear in your film as the wrongfully heckled. Do you think that celebrities should have the right to defend themselves?
You should be able to defend yourself whoever you are, famous or not. Because everybody’s getting heckled now — someone could blog about the guy who works at Home Depot.
Is this film a rebuttal to critics?
It’s really about a phenomenon that's getting bigger and bigger, with Michael Richards and Mel Gibson recently [attacked by] the media, and Simon Cowell with the whole raised eyebrow thing. It’s bananas.
Can this phenomenon be positive?
Well, it is positive … for the movie. —Lauren Murrow