High-Pitched Protest Targets Hamptons Helium Balloon Sales Ban

McSqueaks comedian wearing suit and drinking champagne in bathtub with pink balloons
McSqueaks promotional shot, Photo: Volodymyr Tverdokhlib/123RF

The Hamptons Police Department arrested Bridgehampton stand-up comedian Sam “McSqueaks” Lanard for disturbing the peace on Tuesday after Mr. Lanard launched a one-man protest against a proposed ban on the sale of helium-filled balloons at Southampton Town Hall. According to reports, the comedian, who’s well known locally for his high-voiced McSqueaks stage persona, pushed his way past security and brought a massive bunch of 200 multicolored helium balloons into the building with him, and then refused to leave.

Once inside, Mr. Lanard shifted into his McSqueaks character, sucking down helium from one balloon after another, and began a high-pitched tirade against potential Hamptons Municipal Board legislation that would ban the sale of balloons filled with any gas “lighter than air” in the region.

Yelling in his signature, strident soprano, McSqueaks argued that last year’s ban on the intentional release of helium balloons is enough. “Banning the sale of helium-filled balloons is un-American and damaging to my livelihood!” he screamed in a shrill voice. “Next they’ll be banning the sale of helium altogether—and then where would I and other high-voice enthusiasts be?” Mr. Lanard continued. “I’d be forced to leave town and move to a more tolerant city, and no one should have to do that. How would you people like it if we banned pencils or computers, or suits and ties, and whatever else you need to do your jobs?”

Police finally managed to extricate the flustered comic from the building after about 30 minutes of his berating the Municipal Board for even considering their law against helium balloon sales. “Once Mr. Lanard, or McSqueaks as most of you know him, emptied enough balloons of their helium, officers were able to get closer to him and put a pin in his activities,” HPD spokesman Rex Gallant explained with a smirk. “Unfortunately, the suspect let go of his remaining balloons—probably about 100 or so—and they quickly floated away as we exited Town Hall, so it’s possible he will be charged for each balloon released,” Gallant continued. “The Hamptons district attorney is now reviewing evidence to determine whether or not the release was indeed intentional and if we have enough to prove it.”

A Hamptons Municipal Board source, and fan of the comedian, pointed out this week that even if they ban the sale of helium-filled balloons, the law, as currently written, would not block folks from selling helium tanks or empty balloons locally. “An industrious, motivated citizen like McSqueaks could simply fill his own balloons at home,” the source (who asked to have their name withheld) said. “Hopefully he’ll be back onstage and telling his hilarious, high-voiced jokes in no time.”

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