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Topic: Heckler stoppers for busking
Message: Posted by: Luke Sherratt (Aug 31, 2006 02:35PM)
Hi Everyone,

Here is my question. When your busking and you get a heckler what heckler stoppers do you use? What would you say is the best way to handle them?

I am hoping to start busking very soon, I have my show and all that stuff sorted I was just worrying about hecklers.

Best Wishes,

Message: Posted by: TheAmbitiousCard (Aug 31, 2006 03:02PM)
I'm not an official busker but the best heckler-stoppers are skill and confidence.
If you are skillful and appear confident that will stop 95% of it.

Most heckler types I run into I don't really run into. They are doing a "drive-by".
They yell out "CHEATER!!!" as they walk by with their friends to protect them and never actually stop by.

Aside from that, ignoring can work wonders. You do not want to look like they are getting to you. Do not try to impress them. Do not go out to your pitch with a chip on your shoulder like "I'll show them". That would be a huge mistake.

Try to involve them in a helpful way.
This shows that you could give a rats *** what they are saying and it really just does not affect you. have them select a card and have them pass the card down, down, down, until it's at the other side of the crowd. now you're really doing the effect with someone else's card but the heckler picked it. subtle but it shows that you're not phased by them and yet you're also not provoking them either.

There are lines you can use but I would try that last. You just don't know
how someone is going to react to them. If you say one and the crowd laughs,
that helps.

For your consideration:
"I think somebody needs a hug."
"I don't remember you having a speaking part in this trick"

Those 2 lines can work but they can backfire. It all depends on them and you (your delivery and personality).
Hence the appeal of being a busker.
Message: Posted by: Lee Darrow (Sep 1, 2006 03:53PM)
When someone shouts out "CHEATER!" when I am working outdoors, my usual reply is "Of course!" and then as an aside, "and ladies, take note! I am the ONLY man that you will EVER MEET WHO ACTUALLY ADMITS IT!" and I wink!

This throws the guy completely off, gets a pretty good laugh and does it without re-engaging the heckler, which is a BIG risk in trying to play the one-up game with this particular type of person.

If you don't check your ego at the door, wth regards to hecklers at least, when you leave home to go and busk, then you have NO business busking. Period.

Hecklers come in a variety of flavors, though - some want to interact and "join in the fun," thinking that a street show is somehow "interactive" entertainment in that it is a conversation, as opposed to s SHOW. Others are there because they want a bit of the reflected spotlight.

Both of these types can sometimes actually add substantively to your show IF you don't let them take over.

However, there are the others, the ones who actively try to disrupt the show and they are a pain in the patootie. They can be dealt with in a number of ways: one of which is NOT to try to one-up them! They WANT to get into an exchange with you because they often WANT it to escalate into a match between you and them.

And that is NOT entertaining and it WILL cost you your hat. And, depending on how nasty it gets, possibly some teeth, your props and possibly some jail time if it gets physical.

Why bother?

It's easier, in many cases to simply stare at the guy and do NOTHING. Or to thank thr audience, apologize for the disruption and ask them to stop by for your next show. It beats getting beaten up - or getting into a fight, because even if you win the fight, you may not win the lawsuit that will surely follow.

And if a lawsuit doesn't follow, the cops most certainly WILL break the fight up and THAT will kill your pitch, cost you your license and probably some time in the local hoosegow.

Who needs it? If he won't walk away, you walk away. Remember YOU are the professional - the heckler is just a jerk.

Lee Darrow, C.H.
Message: Posted by: scaress (Sep 1, 2006 05:37PM)
there is a juggler here in SLC, the crowd usually likes him so much, if anyone should step outta line he gives'um a "shut up, idiot!" and everyone even the heckler laughs.
but that may not work for everyone. the crowd LOVES this guy.
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Sep 1, 2006 05:50PM)
Don't forget as a "busker" you are working for tips. How much will people want to tip you when you start to heckle stop someone?

Bottom line it looks quite unprofessional. Frank is right, 95% of it is confidence. The rest you can let the crowd sort it out. They are the best heckler stoppers, if they like you.
Message: Posted by: TheAmbitiousCard (Sep 2, 2006 12:31AM)
On 2006-09-01 16:53, Lee Darrow wrote:
When someone shouts out "CHEATER!" when I am working outdoors, my usual reply is "Of course!" and then as an aside, "and ladies, take note! I am the ONLY man that you will EVER MEET WHO ACTUALLY ADMITS IT!" and I wink!


That's a good one Lee!
Message: Posted by: Lee Darrow (Sep 2, 2006 02:31AM)
Thanks, Frank, coming from someone with your standing inthe field, that means a lot.

It's a line I've been using for about twenty-five years now and it works WONDERS! Even when I'm NOT busking, but working behind the bar, table hopping, working a trade show booth or even a hospitality suite.

I just try to make sure that everyone is having as much fun as I am when I work is all...


Lee Darrow, C.H.