Teesside comedian attacked on-stage by violent heckler who broke his leg
Simon Cain told our reporter Gemma Cole, "I can't think of anything worse than going back out on stage to earn a living"
A comedian has been left "mentally scarred and unable to work" after he was attacked on-stage by a violent heckler, who broke his leg.
Simon Cain was performing at a pub in Bacup, Lancashire, when a man in the audience "side-swiped" him, leaving him with horrific injuries.
The 49-year-old, from Billingham, said the encounter had left him "skint", mentally scarred and unable to work for at least two months.
The altercation between the two men had been building in the lead-up to the show, but Simon believes some people in the audience now feel more emboldened to act, pointing to Will Smith slapping Chris Rock on stage at the Oscars.
"I've had better weeks," said Mr Cain. "I've been doing this for 20 years, I can't believe what happened to me.""I was booked to do the show, when I arrived the landlord said 'set up in the corner'. There were around 12 people from a funeral. This guy started messing about with the microphone, I said 'put it down, leave it alone'."He went out and came back about half an hour later, must have heard me performing and was stood by the fruit machines heckling me. I gave him something back so he side-swiped me, kicked my leg and broke my tibia."I've never been hit so hard in my life, the pain was excruciating. He was massive, he made Dolph Lundgren look like one of the Seven Dwarves."I can't repeat the line I gave back to him. And he never even gave me chance to come out with my second line - which I can't repeat either."The man's friend "bundled him out the door" but Mr Cain "feared for his safety" so much that he got straight in his car and drove back to Billingham with a broken leg.
"I drove more than two hours and crawled out of the car crying," he added."Next day, we phoned the ambulance. I've had X-Rays, CT scans."
The incident left Simon, who has shared a stage with the likes of Frank Bruno and snooker player John Higgins, out of work for two months.
He also has trouble with everyday tasks including using the toilet."I can't have any weight on my leg for two months, then I need an operation for a plate," he added. "The kneecap is smashed onto the tibia bone."It's affecting me mentally. People are warned I'm one of the most outrageous comics in the UK, I take no prisoners. Now I'm thinking ' can I really go back on and do it and perform?'"It's horrible, what he's done to me. My material is not for the easily offended. This guy was heckling and if you heckle a comedian, you expect something back."
Fellow comedians, friends and family have rallied to help the dad-of-two.
Scouse funnyman Frankie Allen, also known for his no-holds-barred routines, has "been great".
"Frankie's had his teeth smashed out before, I supported him a few times when he first came on the scene," said Mr Cain.
"He rang me yesterday to give me a few words of wisdom. He told me to 'keep your chin up' - well he actually said 'chins'. He said 'keep your bottle, you will come back bigger and better, come and see me we'll have a drink'."
Fans from Teesside have helped out, after TS20 Bar in Norton donated cash. Veteran comedian Lee Carroll, who is currently touring with Joe Pasquale, set up a Paypal page for people to donate."He's been a great friend," said Mr Cain. "In this day and age, what's happening with the cost of living, this has crucified me and my family. I've got a three-year-old and a five-year-old, my wife works for the NHS."I was meant to fly out to Turkey for two shows and I was also meant to be performing with Ken Docherty the snooker player this week."
Mr Cain believes the incident with Will Smith earlier this year had not helped performers."Things changed the day he did what he did. All us comedians have said this, the man [Will Smith] set a precedent," he added. "People think it's okay."If you don't like a comedian, just get up and leave. My days now are laying on the sofa with a brace. I can't make phone calls cos I've been cut off, I can't afford the bill. I just want to warn people that it's not okay. "At the moment, the thought of going back on stage and doing what I've done for 20 years makes me feel sick. Next time, it could be a knife. I just hope I don't lose my bottle."Lancashire Police said the investigation into the incident is ongoing and no arrests have been made.
Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know: