The recent series was an interesting time for all that because, obviously, it increased the rate of both. The word "troll" seems to be overused at the moment and I'm uncomfortable about using it here. It's now bandied about with such ease to describe anyone being even slightly anti-social online and I don't think it's useful to lump all such behaviour into one easily labelled pile. The person sending "you're shit" messages to someone they've just seen on the TV doesn't seem to me to be that comparable to, say, someone threatening sexual violence or going out of their way to upset some recently bereaved parents.
But I don't know what it should be called. It's not heckling. Heckling happens in a social context - a live show. And actually, while the media loves to portray live-comedy as a bear pit (boiler-plate press questionnaires always ask "what's the worst heckle you've ever had?" etc) comedy simply isn't the battle between performer and audience it's made out to be. Heckling rarely happens. People pay to see a show. They want to see a show. They rarely want to be the show.
Here's the thing. While the series was running I was getting a lot of feedback. It was overwhelmingly nice which made it easy to sweep aside the few abusive messages that arrived in amongst them. There were probably seven or eight people across the series and have been three or four since. I'm under no illusion that they're the only ones who didn't like it - but they were the only ones that decided to go out of their way to tell me they didn't. And that's the part that always seems weird to me. They're not trolls. They're not hecklers. They're just being a bit dickish.
I've never understood why it's supposed to be upsetting that a particular individual doesn't like me. Their tweet always says much more about their level of self-importance than anything else. I don't know any performer in any genre who thinks that what they do should please everyone. It's obvious that no matter what you do, some people won't like it. So everyone understands that what they do will please some and not others. Of course it does. So when someone sends me an abusive message the only piece of information they're bringing to the table is their name. I know some people don't like what I do. And now I can identify one of them. So? This could only be upsetting to me if I knew who they were. If they were someone whose opinion I valued and whose support I craved. Which makes their tweet look incredibly self-important and pompous. Because the act of sending it seems to say, "my opinion should be important to you. My opinions are facts. You should be upset about this because it is coming from me" and that's just weird. Self-importantly weird.
So to help those people out I've prepared this handy guide explaining - without rancour - why they look dickish to other people. It might be hard to read at this size, but if you click on it, it should be a little clearer. If not, you could try here.