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Six Times Famous Comedians Bombed on Stage

Being a headliner doesn't mean you get to avoid awful or awkward performances.

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Being a stand-up comedian is incredibly hard. Not only do you have to perform live on stage in front of hundreds of people, but one mistake can be remembered forever. From stumbling through a set to inappropriate remarks, we take a look at the times that even the world’s funniest people bombed like a first-timer at an open mic night.

Kathy Griffin

Comedian Kathy Griffin.
Comedian Kathy Griffin poses for a portrait at The Wrap studios on March 7, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Emma McIntyre/Getty Images)

Kathy Griffin is known for her daring jokes, but one time at the Apollo theater, her unexpectedly fell apart. She told a dirty joke about lip plumping and the audience responded with total silence, after which she was quickly played off stage.

Brooks Wheelan

Brooks Wheelan performs during the 2015 Sasquatch! Music Festival at The Gorge on May 22, 2015 in George, Washington. (Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images)

Brooks Wheelan willing admits that he performed at the Gator Growl 2014 while drunk.

“I’m totally going to talk about (Gator Growl) at my show at the High Dive,” Wheelan said to The Alligator. “It’s actually part of my routine now, the story of my worst performance. I get asked what my worst performance is a lot, and it’s so easy for me to just say Gator Growl without hesitation. It was so bad, it was kind of fun.”

The former Saturday Night Live cast member doesn’t blame his poor performance on the alcohol though, but instead, says that the sound and placement of his set are to blame.

“I know everybody thinks I bombed because I was drunk, but I often do my routine drunk,” he said. “It doesn’t really affect my performance. I just should have gone on before Foster the People. When I performed, I feel like everyone wanted to hear Ludacris.”

Dave Chappelle 

Host Dave Chappelle during the monologue on ‘Saturday Night Live’ in 2016 (Will Heath/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

Dave Chappelle was once booed off stage in Detroit, Michigan, for slurring his words and yelling nasty things at fans. Many people tried to get their money back for that show, reports TMZ. 

Michael Richards

Michael Richards (Getty Images)

Richards is best known for playing Cosmo Kramer on Seinfeld, but he also made headlines while performing a 206 set at the Laugh Factory in West Hollywood. After a heckler interrupted his set and berated him, Michaels began screaming the “n-word” on repeat at the heckler, and audience members left in disgust. Richards revisited the breakdown during a 2012 episode of Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee with former co-star Jerry Seinfeld.

Bill Burr

Comedian Bill Burr performing at the Nashville Comedy Festival in 2018. (Rick Diamond/Getty Images for Outback Concerts)

Bill Burr said he’s been booed and he’s had things thrown at him during his sets, but his worst experience was when he had to do stand-up in the afternoon at a college cafeteria in Kansas. The students had no idea there was going to be a show, and he had to walk up and to perform to just 18 kids. He says he got up there and was just off his game.

Sarah Silverman 

Sarah Silverman performs at Fun Lovers Unite Gun Sense Event at the Regent Theater on May 24, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Earl Gibson III/Getty Images)

Sarah Silverman introduced the nominees for “Best Original Song” at the 2016 Oscars and made a lot of jokes about James Bond that did not seem to resonate with the audience.