A few unhinged members of a New Jersey comedy club audience must have gotten lost on their way to a Trump rally. Ariel Elias was in the middle of her stand-up set when a person in the crowd demanded to know if she voted for Trump and another threw a can of beer at her head.
Even before the heckling, “the set wasn’t going great,” Elias tells Rolling Stone of her time on stage at Uncle Vinnie’s Comedy Club in Point Pleasant Beach, NJ, on Saturday night. The hecklers were in a large party of approximately 20 people celebrating a “Mexico-themed birthday,” she says. And the vibes were off from the beginning. Members of the group “were wearing fake mustaches and had to be told to quiet down before the show even started.”
Elias shared a clip of the incident on social media, where it surpassed a million views by Sunday afternoon. The exchange happened during a Q&A segment of her act where she interacts with the audience.
“Did you vote for Donald Trump?” a woman in the crowd asked Elias.
“Did I vote for Donald Trump? What do you think?” the comedian responded. She added, “Here’s a question for you: Why would you ask me that in here, knowing I’m the only Jew in the room? Are you trying to get me killed?”
The word “*foreshadowing*” appears in text on the screen after Elias’ prescient comment. “I know where I am,” Elias told Rolling Stone, describing that moment. “The club’s logo uses an image of a gun instead of the letter ‘L.’ She’s clearly trying to bait me into something, [so I thought] let me see where she tries to take it on her own, and maybe I can use it to get out of this.”
In an attempt at defusing the situation, Elias told the crowd, “Everybody, vote for who you want to vote [for]. I don’t care who you voted for. I’m just happy that we’re all here together.”
“I can just tell by your jokes you voted for Biden,” the woman heckler yelled.
“I can tell by the fact that you’re still talking when nobody wants you to that you voted for Trump,” Elias fired back. When the woman claimed no one told her to stop talking, the comedian said, “Make some noise if you want her to shut up,” which generated cheers and whoops from the audience.
Elias next tried to get back on track and finish her act. “Here, I’ll tell you the rest of that bit, and then we’ll move on,” she said. “I’m so insecure, I went and got an IUD…” At that moment, a person Elias described as male threw a can of beer that flew by Elias’s head and crashed into the brick wall behind her. Elias, startled, looked at the crowd with a stunned expression on her face.
“Yo, I am never coming out with this crowd ever again,” another man in the audience said.
In the video, Elias calmly bent down to pick up the beer and proceeded to chug it.
“I knew I had to chug it,” she says. “I was so relieved that there was still some left in there after it exploded against the wall. Also my adrenaline was going crazy, so even though normally I don’t drink before or during sets, I felt like this was a valid exception.”
Elias said on Twitter that the person who threw the beer “ran out of the club immediately after throwing it.” She tells Rolling Stone that Uncle Vinnie’s is pressing charges, though she declined to do so herself. “[The club] apologized, made sure I was OK, and asked if I wanted to press I charges. I don’t, because I’m never going back to that town again without someone paying me,” she says. The club has booked her to return in April.
“I don’t hide who I am or change how I present myself. I also don’t really talk about politics on stage, it’s just not what I want my stand up to be,” Elias says. “But my perspective is that of a southern Jew, and I talk a lot about being a woman and body image. I really think I’m good enough at this to make people who disagree with me laugh and enjoy. So yes, I’ve gotten iced out by crowds, a couple of people have walked out, every now and then someone yells something. But I’ve never gotten half a free beer for it.”
Asked what she’d say to her hecklers, Elias tells Rolling Stone, “My message to last night’s hecklers is that therapy is great, I highly recommend it. Or just write down your feelings. I promise you’ll feel like throwing things less.”