As a general rule, the worst thing that can happen during a comedy set is realizing you’ve accidentally stumbled into some kind of hellish Dane Cook/Daniel Tosh marathon. But it could be worse! You could, for example, be sitting in a comedy show around midnight at the Upright Citizens Brigade’s Chelsea theater when four members of New York’s finest come in, fish you out of the audience, and arrest you. That’s what looks to have happened this past Saturday night, during a UCB variety show called Underground Americana. The comedian onstage, Adam Newman, says he watched officers come in with flashlights and immediately handcuff a guy sitting to the left side of the stage. When Newman asked what was going on, an NYPD officer advised him to “shut the fuck up.”
There’s a video. The weirdness begins around 10 seconds in, although the NYPD officers are, unfortunately, pretty much impossible to see:
But we can hear the interaction. Newman, mystified, watches the arrest for a minute.
“This is the first time this has happened!” he says, cheerily. A moment later, to the NYPD: “You guys couldn’t have waited till after my set?”
“Obviously not,” one officer responds.
“Obviously shut the fuck up,” another advises, and, a minute later, what sounds like “Don’t run your mouth.”
“That’s the weirdest heckle I’ve ever gotten,” Newman replies, accurately.
The police and their new guest left, and the show continued, in a testament to Newman’s professionalism. And also, what else are you supposed to do? Newman tweeted today that he’d managed to learn a very small additional amount of information about what happened:
Apparently the dude was accused of robbing someone, but once he was arrested, said the accuser was trying to rob him. That’s all I know.
— Adam Newman (@Adam_Newman) October 13, 2014
We really, really wanted to know more about what might have prompted the audience member’s abrupt, silver-braceleted removal, but the NYPD’s public information office didn’t have any record of an incident from the UCB’s address any time over this weekend. A detective there told us it’s possible the arrest report hasn’t been entered into the system yet. It’s also possible the comedy-loving possible perp was detained and let go without being arrested. It’s a mystery. But the primary lesson here, really, is that a comedy show is evidently not a good place to hide from the police.
If you were arrested during an Upright Citizens Brigade show the other night and you want to tell us what the hell happened, email me.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on October 13, 2014