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Topic: "I know how he does it!"
Message: Posted by: Danno (Aug 29, 2002 10:53PM)
How do you deal with hecklers? Is that the correct term? People who enjoy verbally ripping apart all your tricks by telling how you do them.

Now, sometimes they're right (or kinda close). A lot of the time, they're completely wrong. But, in front of a group they can influence others into believing that they are correct about the secrets behind your magic. This just seems to put a damper on the "WOW" of the trick.
Message: Posted by: Priest (Aug 30, 2002 07:58AM)
First of all, this is ruining the show for both you and the other spectators (who aren't heckling you).

Luckily, I've never had to deal with this. But if it happened, I think I would just try to play it off in a comical manner and let him know that it's not appreciated. Maybe by saying something like, "Sir, would you mind waiting until after the show to let me know how I've done my tricks?" Or something to that effect. If you say something mean, then it is only going to provoke him more. But, in my opinion, something does need to be said.

I can't wait to read everyone else's opinion. What would you say to the heckler?

Message: Posted by: p.b.jones (Aug 30, 2002 09:16AM)

If you do a search on the words "hecklers" on this forum you will find that this topic is well covered in several posts.

Message: Posted by: Dr. Jakks (Aug 30, 2002 12:44PM)
My favorite line is, "Oh thanks, I forgot that part. Here, why don't you try it?" Shuts them up.

Message: Posted by: Vision (Aug 30, 2002 12:54PM)
Most often they're not anywhere near the truth and their thinking is very often illogical, so sometimes I point out their flaws.

"If it would be as you say, how can it be like this then?" That can make them look a bit stupid and they usually get quiet. But as Phillip said, do a search and you find enough information on the subject.
Message: Posted by: aznviet6uy (Aug 31, 2002 12:15AM)
On 2002-08-30 13:44, Jakks wrote:
My favorite line is "Oh thanks, I forgot that part, here why don't you try it?" Shuts them up.
Agree totally! ahHAhHahAHa always works...Instead of just saying that, I give them the deck and tell them to actually perform it. This puts them on the spot and when someone sees that the person can not, then they know that the guy doesn't really know how to do the trick.

Message: Posted by: Alan Wheeler (Aug 31, 2002 04:22PM)
If someone actually says, "I know how he does that," it is usually a child or someone who doesn't like "being fooled." For my personality, I find it best to treat the person as a fellow magician and ask the person to help me or to keep the secret or otherwise make the person feel included.

Even in bars, I always found that it worked best to befriend the "hecklers." More experienced performers may know better!

alleycat :kitty:
Message: Posted by: Dr. Jakks (Aug 31, 2002 07:32PM)
My pride won't allow me to befriend hecklers! I love to [b]make them suffer!!![/b] :evilgrin: :devilish:

Also, I like to say, "Oh and here I was thinking you were intelligent." That is only for the really cruel ones though. Make your hecklers seem stupid, but do it very discreetly.

Message: Posted by: Steven the Amusing (Sep 3, 2002 09:20PM)
I think if you find you're getting heckled a lot, the problem is likely with YOU. Expect to get heckled performing for friends or family. They KNOW you and therefore feel they have the right to explain things (sometimes they're just fishing for an explanation).

If you're not sure of yourself or are bumbling, people are more likely to prey on you (because you're boring them with the obvious—or so it seems to them). Maybe what you're doing really IS boring, long winded or too transparent. Either rework it or drop it from your routine.

If you're sure it's not one of the above, you're going to win more friends and go home with fewer black-eyes if you're gentle and use a little humor NOT at the expense of the spectator: "Hmmh. THAT might work, too! Thanks for the suggestion" or "Wow. All this time I never had a CLUE how that thing works." You could follow it up with, "When I'm done here, do you think you could show me that privately?"
Message: Posted by: nappa (Sep 3, 2002 10:02PM)
I usally do what jakks does or just walk away. Some people just don't like magic I guess.
Message: Posted by: Q-TIP (Sep 4, 2002 06:16AM)
Hecklers are a pain but a few sarcastic/comedic comments either will put them in their place or encourage retaliation. In which case I suggest a nice watch steal, they usually realize who's in charge after that. :rotf:
Message: Posted by: Peter Marucci (Sep 4, 2002 08:03AM)
It's important to separate true hecklers from those who just want to be in the spotlight. In the latter case, alleycat's advice is good: Make them part of your show; include them and you've got a real ally.

In the former case, hit 'em with a brick! No, seriously, walking away is usually the best action, if that's possible.

But Steven the Amusing has a point: If this happens regularly, maybe it's time to look at your presentation; it may be at fault.
Message: Posted by: magiciandude (Sep 7, 2002 06:14PM)
Well personally, I would make the real hecklers feel as stupid as they are trying to make you by asking them to perform and extremely difficult trick with loads of sleights and practice. Of course finish your current trick and then ask them to perform the extremely difficult trick and say if they know so much then perform this effect. But then again Jakks' comment is a great idea too.

Lance R. Wilson
Well isn't that just great, I'm stuck!
Message: Posted by: Manipulix (Sep 15, 2002 04:04PM)
I made the experience that to my personality it is the best to make him or her part of the show. Our spectators in my opinion are the most important part of our show. Without them, the hecklers included, we would not be on stage I assume.

I agree with alleycat, Steven the amusing and Peter.

Sincerely yours
Manipulix :sun:
Message: Posted by: Stephen Long (Sep 17, 2002 06:35PM)
If I get an "I know how you did that" response to an effect I would usually counter with either, "I'm glad one of us does" (a la Steven the Amusing) [i]or[/i] "So do I." The latter is so illogical that it often throws the heckler into a bewildered silence.

However, if I get an "I know how you did that" followed by an explanation (plausable or not) I will commonly fire at them a little non-sensical magic gibberish that can sound something like this:

"Ohhh, OK. I see what you mean. But a double half pass and a four count centre deal could never work for something like this." What can a heckler say to that, apart from, "Oh?"

Of course, try to make them part of the act and of course leave if things get too bad, but one can usually have a little fun with hecklers because of their very natures (that they want to be involved). Something which is all too often forgotten.

Message: Posted by: Dr. Jakks (Sep 17, 2002 07:23PM)
Everyone follow Stephen's advice!!! That is definitely the way to deal with them.

Message: Posted by: John Clarkson (Sep 17, 2002 08:07PM)
I wouldn't like to get into a contest with a heckler. Even if you win the verbal battle, you'll have lost the audience.

If you have a small audience, you can sense that some people feel foolish because of magic tricks. It is, then, time to review your approach. Some people, however, just need to figure it out. If I sense that people are feeling a bit too "challenged" by my presentation, I stop (BEFORE any loud remark has been made) and talk about why magic is fascinating.

I talk about how it reveals the wonders of our mind, the depth of our humanity. I mention that it only works BECAUSE we have an intellect and that smart people are usually more easily deceived and entertained than simpler folks. That is why I like performing for bright people. I give the example, "Sure, have you ever tried to do a card trick for your dog? It just doesn't work! Likewise, you cannot fool a monkey.

What I like about magic is that it reveals so much about how we think...that in fact we DO think. So, here, sit closer, look closely, and be fooled and entertained...It's not a puzzle, it's an opportunity to get to know ourselves a little better." I then ask the person who seems most uncomfortable if they would like to help me. If they accept, great, if not, they, at least, seem to relax a little more.
Message: Posted by: Callin (Sep 17, 2002 11:47PM)
There is lots of advice about handling heckler, unfortunately most of it is, in my opinion, bad advice. However, if you want great advice about hecklers, you can't do better than checking out anything Eugene Burger has to say about audience management. If you can find it, his [i]Growing in the Art of Magic[/i] audio tapes are a goldmine of great information.

Message: Posted by: Steve (Sep 26, 2002 10:37AM)
There's an excellent article about "What if you get caught" by Eugene Burger. You can read it here: http://www.secretartjournal.com

You'll need to get registered, small test to check if you know your magic stuff, but it's free. Lots of stuff there by Eugene, also by Jeff McBride.

Message: Posted by: CardSharp (Sep 27, 2002 07:24PM)
I too have had to deal with my fair share of hecklers which is why I rarely do any unexpected magic. Once I did a trick at my lunch table at school, so I do this trick then this one kid says, "Wait, what happened?" I say, "I can't do it again." Then he says, "But I wasn't paying attention." So I do it again (I know I'm not supposed to).

I finish the trick and he says, "Oh I know how you did it!" but he didn't just say he knows how I did it he tells everyone else at the table how I did it! So it's ruined for them too and everyone else who happened to hear. So he kind of ruined unexpected magic for me.
Message: Posted by: gimmick1586 (Sep 27, 2002 09:29PM)
I actually had something close to that once. I was playing around and showed a paintbrush color change. And one kid said man I don't know how you did that. I just grinned and we walked on. And some annoying kid that just happened to be there and saw it, caught on to it and he actually snatched the top two cards off. Looked what they were and chased down the kids I showed and was trying to show them how I did it. :eek: This made me mad. But they really didn't listen or care. But the guy who thought it was neat was like "Oh." Man that kid was annoying.
Message: Posted by: Russ (Sep 27, 2002 11:13PM)
I think it was Eugene Burgers in one of his earlier booklets he said what he does is:

Winks at the frisky spectator as if to say that he knows that, he knows the secret and says, "Don't tell 'em, sell it to them after I am done."

I have never had the need to use it but have been prepared to.

Message: Posted by: Quest (Sep 29, 2002 12:12AM)
I sometimes find hecklers to be the people that give me way too much credit for what I am doing. Lol, it is funny to hear someone try to describe how you did an effect involving a simple double lift and they start involving thread, a pulley system and something physically impossible you did to your spleen...

Rather fascinating what the human imagination can come up with sometimes.
Message: Posted by: AllThumbs (Sep 29, 2002 02:27AM)
When I was at school a long time ago I experienced a similar sort of problem, which is basically kids will be kids and at school at that age others will want to embarrass you and make themselves look better than you. I then, at that age, only showed tricks to close friends and family or in situations where I couldn't have props grabbed from. The whole experience of doing tricks at school almost put me off magic for good and the enjoyment of it didn't really re-awaken until a couple of years ago when I was in NYC and out of the blue I decided to look up magic shops in the hotel Yellow Pages and ended up at Tannens. I only wish now I hadn't been discouraged so early—so don't give up!

With an adult audience hecklers are less of a problem. Adults watch magicians because they want to be entertained. And on the whole adults have learnt to respect other adults. Adult hecklers are basically kids that never grew up or they are family members (as mentioned by a previous poster). Don't take it to heart from a family member, especially if the effect relies on something mechanical. They have seen you grow up with you doing tricks for them, know quite a bit of magic subconciously and think it their place to tell you how it's done or right to know. Instead use family to get advice, "How do you think I can improve the trick?"

As suggested by a previous poster you can discourage hecklers in the first place just *before* your act. (Ex given talking about how we are special because of sense of wonderment—psychologically suggests that if you are not mystified you are no more special than chimps or dogs and hecklers will more than likely keep their mouths shut.)

If you do kids shows at parties, churches, barmizvahs, etc. a good ploy is often a bribe. Starting out with an "Anyone at the end of my show who doesn't know how I do any of my tricks will get a bar of chocolate" can work wonders.

Kris Sheglova
Message: Posted by: silent shadow (Feb 16, 2004 04:00PM)
You can't get worse than those who are trying to guess how the trick is done out loud during the trick itself , this must be very annoying indeed , and to continue the trick after such a rude interuption must indeed be difficult , being a newbie illusionist myself I don't have that much experience of this (father-inlaw at christmas), but I can see it coming...

Ive read all above , some nice tip's

Yep I'm an archiveist.
Message: Posted by: Darren Roberts (Feb 17, 2004 02:35PM)
I disagree with the advice to make the heckler "look stupid", "put them on the spot", or otherwise embarass them. There is no "discrete way to do this.

If you have a person who is already borderline beligerent and you're dropping down to their level, they're only going to get more aggressive because they're getting the attention that they obviously want. Also, when you do that, it makes you look bad to the people who are trying to enjoy your magic.

Think about how that sounds when the spectator gets home: "Well, we were watching this pretty good magician when a person said,'I know how you did that.' The magician then got real rude and mean to the guy. That magician was a real jerk." Again, there is no subtle, easy, or discrete way to make a spectator "look stupid." You've then lost all credibility as a magician and performer.

If you can't find a graceful, non insulting way out of the situation then, as was stated above, just walk away.
Message: Posted by: silent shadow (Feb 17, 2004 03:21PM)
Good point darren , I wouldn't ask them to do the trick , kind of making them feel small isn't a good idea , setting off a challenge atmosphere, what if the rude man is a magician (unlikely) , now that would stuff you up..
Message: Posted by: Vikke Matikainen (Feb 18, 2004 03:02AM)
I heard this one from Café and tried it yesterday. When someone explains your secret and it was or wasn't right, just say "Hmm.. that might work, I'll give it a try next time" that will give them a clear picture that they were wrong but you aren't actually hostile against them.
Message: Posted by: Eirik (Feb 18, 2004 05:45AM)
Since I do magic in bars, there will always be Hecklers around, due to the fact that the guests are intoxicated and often can feel challenged rather that entertained.
But in most cases it can be solved through solid spectator management,
What I mean by that is the combination of self-confidence, skill and charm.
But there will always be that one guy who will do anything to destroy your performance, and it is always that guy who feels challanged, because he feels "you're better than him".

I'v found from experience that the best way is to involve that (damn)person, make him the one who the magic happens to, make him "the star" for a couple of tricks, and I promise you he'll think of you as his best friend..

Message: Posted by: Gary Dayton (Feb 18, 2004 08:22AM)
On 2004-02-18 06:45, Eirik wrote:

I'v found from experience that the best way is to involve that (damn)person, make him the one who the magic happens to, make him "the star" for a couple of tricks, and I promise you he'll think of you as his best friend..


This seems like very good advise. And, it makes me think about how I might turn the heckler into the star. One thought would be to use Bill Malone's presentation of the invisible deck (Standing Ovation) with the heckler getting the ovation. Since most hecklers just want the attention, this presentation has a lots of potential to turn the heckler into an ally and leave very positive thoughts in the minds of the rest of your audience.

What other effects might we do to turn the heckler into the star?

Message: Posted by: TheNightBringer89 (Feb 18, 2004 11:21AM)
On 2002-09-17 19:35, Stephen Long wrote:
However, if I get an "I know how you did that" followed by an explanation (plausable or not) I will commonly fire at them a little non-sensical magic gibberish that can sound something like this:
"Ohhhh, ok. I see what you mean. But a double half pass and a four count centre deal could never work for something like this."
What can a heckler say to that, apart from, "oh"?

Thanks Stephen! This is the best come back I have seen yet.
Message: Posted by: JJDrew (Feb 19, 2004 04:34PM)
On 2004-02-17 16:21, silent shadow wrote:
Good point darren , I wouldn't ask them to do the trick , kind of making them feel small isn't a good idea , setting off a challenge atmosphere, what if the rude man is a magician (unlikely) , now that would stuff you up..

In my book, the rude person is NEVER a magician. A magician has dealt with enough audiences to know how terrible it is to deal with people like that and wouldn't put another magician through the stress and possible embaressment.

That's not to say that the person doesn't actually know the "secrets." He may even have practiced and performed for people. It's simply that to me, part of what defines a magician is his/her comportment towards other magicians.

A gentleman may swordfight, but not everyone who swordfights is a gentleman, if you see what I mean.
Message: Posted by: Dougini (Feb 20, 2004 09:23AM)
This topic spotlights a sore spot with me...

I think the above reasoning (the peformer is at fault), is the very reason I had SO much of a hard time in the past. I would struggle through it, ignoring the cat-calls and razzes...problem was, I'd do magic at a moments notice, whether people wanted to see it or not...I should have gotten a clue when I heard, "...Oh, no...here we go again..." Then the "heckling" started...my fault...period. You could tell I was rattled. That only invites more. Snowball effect.

Today, I figure, if someone wants to ruin the "atmosphere" I'm taking the trouble to weave...-I mean, it's like a storyteller with a group around a campfire. How long do you think he/she would continue at constant interruptions? Not long, I imagine.

Same thing, first, look at your performance. Where and why you do magic. Then the "how" comes next. Then, if someone wants to step in and ruin it? Stop. Going on can sometimes telegraph your frustration as the heckler continues...there are some people you don't WANT to include in the routine, they just happen to be there, and politely smiling as you put your stuff away, (not even acknowledge the heckler) saying, "I'm sorry, perhaps this is not a good time...see me later if you'd still like to see what I've been working on..." You're walking away at this point.

The rest of the group will, most likely, come down on the person, and you will retain your dignity. You will get to show the ones who ARE interested, and who have the class to respect someone who takes the trouble of showing their gems...

My $.02 :bg:

Message: Posted by: silent shadow (Feb 24, 2004 06:00PM)
Spot on with my gut feelings dougini , best post ive read in the month ive been here. :)

from a newbie

noted JJDrew ..
Message: Posted by: Dougini (Feb 24, 2004 06:31PM)
Thank you, JJ...

Didn't mean to rant on...it just bugs me that some people have so little respect.

As I approach 50, I'm finding my tolerance for rudeness is almost zero.

Golden Rule. Period. :bg: