Comedian Lechler ignores hecklers

Comedian Lechler ignores hecklers

Comedian Lechler ignores hecklers
October 08
14:40 2013

Christina Ulsh / Senior Staff Writer

At The Garage, a bar on Fry Street where the lights are dim and the crowd is scant on a Monday evening, a band of comedians invade the patio for open mic night.

Denton’s developing comedy culture includes radio, television and film master’s student and teaching fellow Aaron “Ron” Lechler, 24.

On this particular Monday, much of Lechler’s set involved discussion of his sex life, erections and insincere orgasms.

“And then I realized, I’m every woman that has ever slept with me,” Lechler said. “That’s who I became in that moment.”

He jokes about whatever serious content audiences will allow him, ranging from racism to death, as well as not-so-serious stuff such as his genitals. He said there is a need for everything to have an essence of humor.

“There is nothing above being joked about,” Lechler said.

Funny or Not

Radio, television and film senior Wesley Kirk, who has worked on short films and photo projects with the comedian, said although Lechler is his favorite standup comedian, his darker jokes would keep him from being asked back to venues in places like Dallas.

“A few times he has tried out some jokes at open mics and it’s just so serious and dark, I don’t know how it could be funny. But he knows that,” Kirk said. “He really advocates for work-shopping jokes, like trying them out and pushing how far you can take something.”

Lechler treads on joke territory that sometimes makes audiences uneasy. At a Rubbergloves spoken word event this past summer, Lechler was told people walked out.

“Everybody gets offended by something, like by a joke especially,” Lechler said. “They’re coming at that joke with a set of experiences that not everybody has. You can’t accommodate everybody.”

When he returned for another event at Rubbergloves, the manager of the show wanted to go through Lechler’s content before he went on stage.

He chose not to perform but didn’t make a fuss because the host gave him the initial opportunity to perform, Lechler said.

“Comedy needs unchecked freedom to make sense,” he said. “If you start restricting anything at all, you have to pick what is restricted and then one person is making those decisions of what is and isn’t okay.”

At one Garage open mic, Lechler began with tales of his grandmother who wants to die.

However, the crowd is not always open to edginess, open mic host Tyler Hatzenbuehler said.

“It was like crickets, crickets, crickets,” Hatzenbuehler said regarding the audience’s silent response to Lechler’s grandma jokes.

While the Garage has open mic on Mondays, the majority of the set is comedy, Hatzenbuehler said.

“The comedians find this a stronghold where they can try their new stuff and not get booed off stage,” he said.

Lechler is one of the comedians at open mic that Hatzenbuehler enjoys because Lechler takes this opportunity to bring different material every week. He shows up with the intent to try new stuff, Hatzenbuehler said.

“[Ron is] one of the few people that I consider a true comedian,” he said. “He pushes the envelope.”

Lechler is part of the Denton Comedy Collective, a group of Denton comedians. This group can be seen performing open mics at 10:30 p.m. on Mondays at the Garage and at 11 p.m. on Thursdays at Banter.

Film for Thought

Lechler also writes and directs short films.

His flick, “Ron Goes to Heaven,” screened Sept. 14 at the Atheist Film Festival in San Francisco and will be screening in November at Skepticon, the largest free religious skeptic conference in the nation, in Springfield, Mo.

In the film, Ron has a spiritual journey where he discovers God is a bigot. This short was inspired by a joke Lechler often tells during his standup.

“There’s some meat to it,” Lechler said. “Just some really important social commentary and questions that I think need to be asked.”

While the film screened at an atheist convention, it does not have atheist qualities, he said.

“If it posits anything, it’s that God is very much real and he’s quite awful,” Lechler said. “That’s the point I was trying to get across. If God is an actual entity, I would politely avoid his company because I can’t get behind any of the things he does and says.”

When Lechler told his “Ron Goes to Heaven” joke this past Monday, he listed the festivals it screened at and said it won some small awards.

“I’m not trying to brag, I’m just putting it in perspective,” he said. “There are academics that have confirmed the artistic merit of everything I just said.”

Lechler’s films can be dark like his comedy routines, so much that Kirk’s girlfriend worries about him, Kirk said.

“All of his short films end with violent murder or suicide,” Kirk said. “He jokes that that’s the only way he knows how to end a story.”

Lechler’s short films can be watched at http://vimeo.com/ronlechler.

Radio, Television and Film Master’s student Aaron Lechler is known as one of the most thoughtful jerks in Denton. His provocative jokes have been known to offend people. Feature photo by Wesley Kirk / Contributing Photographer 

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