Stand-up comedian George Lopez began trending on Twitter on Wednesday (8 February) after footage of him verbally abusing a female audience member at a live show in Phoenix emerged online. However, a friend of the reveller at the centre of the furore has denied that she heckled him, saying he simply misunderstood her.

The drama started after the Mexican funnyman made a racially-charged joke, telling the crowd: "There are only two rules in the Latino family – don't marry somebody black and don't park in front of our house."

The audience erupts into laughter but the lady sat in the front row raised her middle finger at Lopez, which immediately caught his attention.

In the clip posted by TMZ, he can be seen shouting: "Sit your f**king ass down... I'm talking bi**h. You paid to see a show, sit your ass down. You can't take a joke you're in the wrong motherf**king place. Sit your ass down or get the f**k out of here."

He eventually had the unidentified woman escorted out of the show, later telling his 2.1m Twitter followers: "You have 2 choices, have a good day or get the f**k out."

But her friend Juan Quezada, who attended the event with her, had since come to her defence, saying her plan to be part of her favourite comedian's joke, by standing up and playing along, simply backfired.

"It was like the time of my life at first and then all of a sudden he says a racist joke about blacks marrying Hispanics, which we thought was totally funny," Quezada told 12News. "When she stood up she put two hands in the air and she was like, 'I'm Mexican and black. She was joking with the whole situation."

He added he was disappointed with the way Lopez had treated them. "We're your number one fans. Why did we just get humiliated in front of thousands of people?" he asked.

The woman called into the Tino Cochino Radio Show on Power 98.3 & 101.9. and said: "He made the comment that black people and Mexican people should not mate, so jokingly I stood up and I laughed and I said 'F**k you! I'm black and Mexican and he just got offended."

IBTimes UK has reached out to Lopez's representatives for comment.