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WindsorWizard
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CANADA - Windsor, Ontario
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Having entertained thousands of children's parties over the years, I have been fortunate in not experiencing the nightmares of some of my peers. Yes, there have been some 'difficult' shows, but you learn to cope. Experience will prepare you for sure!



A simple confirming phone call the night before with a reminder of one or more of the obvious precautions you hopefully suggested at the time of booking might have included...



No food or drink immediately before or during your show.



The necessary responsible parent(s) present.



Toys out and about, or the TV on, are not an option during your show.



Gift openings should follow your show... not be prior to it.



Santa appearances should follow your show. (I suggest that my show be the opening act for Santa, and I would be happy to introduce him in a magical type way.) What could possibly top Santa anyway, at least from a child's point of view!



We could go on, but there are plenty of tips and ideas in print to help one prepare and hopefully avoid those awkward situations should they arise. Read and heed!



Someone once told me that there was never a bad audience... just a bad performer... weeell... I do not agree. There can be a difficult audience waiting for you (and you must have something going for you since you got the show) and if you are prepared, they still may be difficult... but you will know how to make it through your show just because you had the forsight to BE PREPARED for the inevitable!









_________________

EVERYTHING is possible...

If you simply, just BELIEVE!
EVERYTHING is possible...
If you simply, just BELIEVE!
~ ~ ~ Johnny Ould ~ ~ ~
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funmagic
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Patrick Cordier
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Oh it's good to read about other peoples disasters... makes you realize you're not alone.

As a Professional, I've had my share of
'Stinkers' and swore I'd quit and take up something more peaceful and less stressful like 'Bungee Jumping' or 'Lion Taming' but the next gig always changes your mind...
the Birthday girl is a sweetie, the rest of the kids sit wonder eyed and applaud enthusiastically, the Parents watch quietly and in addition to your fee you get a tip from the Mother who booked you a couple of extra bookings from other Parents watching..... and you go home happy - BUT what will the next job bring!!!
John Zander
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Downey, CA
247 Posts

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Quote:
A simple confirming phone call the night before with a reminder of one or more of the obvious precautions you hopefully suggested at the time of booking might have included...


True, but some parents you could read your rules to all day long and it wouldn't make one bit of difference. The show that started this thread is the perfect example. It would have been a disaster no matter what.

You just do the best show that you can. One thing that you realize is that kids definitely learn from their parents.
Thank you,



John Zander







***************************

The Award Winning

Comedy Magic of

John Zander

http://www.ZanderMagic.com

http://www.AllMagic.net
Cheshire Cat
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Wilmslow, UK
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Think I go along with Peter Marucci and WindsorWizard here. But, must be honest, we've never had anything like this. I do pride myself in being able to 'feke' my way into being accepted by all social groups, but would have told these people some story that I've just had a call from home about one of my kids having an accident or something! Never just walk out on this sort - they'll paint strip your cars during the night! Smile (Hope you don't mind me digging this one out from Jan.) Just remembered one - where the little sod welcomed all his guests with two fingers at the front window. Another one where I arrived at a 'house' (I use the word house loosely) and I thought it best to phone them from the car before knocking! - But, nice party after all (but said no thanks to the tea).
p.b.jones
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Milford Haven. Pembrokeshire wales U.K.
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Hi,
Not a bad show story, but certianly different.
I was booked to do a show in a country house
it was a hot day and on arrival, I could see that the clients where rather new age hippy types, I finnished up performing the show with the adults high on canabis and even the kids of 5 - 12 where pi**ed out of there heads on sparkling wine / champane. actually the show went well, but I was a little conserned!
Phillip
tkuhns
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Kirksville, Missouri
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I've been doing pretty much nothing but kid's shows for my whole magical career (going on 20 years). They are so rewarding that I hardly want to do anything else!

Sure, I've had a few doozies. I almost set a carpet on fire lighting a dove pan for my bake-a-magic-birthday-cake bit. I had a mentally disabled girl dance around the stage through 90% of my show. And of course the typical "kids trying to tear everything apart before/after the show"

But they are great challenges! I suggest videotaping yourself, as the rough shows always FEEL worse than they actually were. Watching the tape afterwards is usually a real boost.

By the way, I've found that adults BY FAR cause more problems at any kids show I've ever performed...
Adam V
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First show I ever did was for a group of kids who go to an 'alternative education' here. This means they don't actually teach them anything and believe that discipline (of _any_ kind) stifles children. Fortunately the birthday boy was very polite, but there were these two girls sitting in the front being absolute snots. Of course the parents don't have a thing to say because teaching them manners would be stifling them. Anyway, halfway through the show they get bored and leave. Thank God, I think, until a minute later when they returned throwing rocks and bark. Oh yeah, did I mention it was an outdoor gig? Of course the parents just stood there watching the whole thing. I think it must have been fairly normal behaviour for those two. Oh well, I think the strangest part about that gig was that it was my first, and I kept on doing them afterwards Smile
Adam V - 9 out of 10 dentists recommend him.
Andy Wonder
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Auckland, New Zealand
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One of the more difficult shows I have done was at a special school for the mentally handicapped. The children did not seem to react to the show at all. Many were sitting in wheel chairs and mostly dribbling and groaning throughout the show. During my sucker type routines I had to ‘pretend hear’ that they yelling where the rabbit was hiding etc. I was most surprised when the teachers told me afterwards that they had never seen the children so happy and excited before. I had managed to get one child to start groaning again after he had been silent for months. I have been invited back to the same school on a regular basis since.
That reminds me of another not so much difficult but really weird show I did last year. It was for a child’s 30th birthday. The birthday girl suffered from a mental illness where her mental age was about 5 or 6 despite looking like a regular 30 year old woman. All of her friends had the same condition and looked like a normal group of adults. One man there appeared very distinguished, he was aged in his 50’s and wore a business suit. I assumed he was a parent of one of the children. That assumption changed when I performed run rabbit run. His quite demeanour vanished. He began jumping around yelling where the rabbit was in a frenzy just like a 5 year old.
Smile
Andy Wonder, Auckland, New Zealand
Harry Murphy
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Maryland
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I have had some very rotten, tense, explosive, and painful adult shows in my performing career one included me getting my jaw broken, but those are adult shows. One kid program that I did takes the prize.

Picture a large mansion style home in a very exclusive, gated (means the riffraff can’t get in) community of large mansion style homes. Imagine a home so large that it has its own ballroom (not all that common in the USA!). That starts to set the scene.

T’was the Christmas holiday season and I was booked to perform a magic show for this families children, their friends, and the children of the friend of the parents. In all there was about 100 or so kids ranging in age from toddler (3-ish) to (bored and wishing they were anyplace else) teenagers. Not to mention that almost all of the adults present for the party were sitting toward the back to watch the festivities. My act was to follow a juggler and was before the appearance of Saint Nick (a production that was put on me at the last minute).

The room (hall?) was decorated very seasonal and festive. The stage was actually a platform at one end. Folding chairs had been set up for the audience auditorium style (rows). It was a perfect venue for a parlor/stand-up act.

The juggler got through her turn and had really warmed up the gathering. Everyone was in a good mood, laughing and enjoying themselves.

Nothing could go wrong. I went on and started my opening trick when every one hears some muffled shouting from somewhere in the house. I trouped on and got through my opener. Into my second effect (and with two kids on stage with me) the screaming got louder and sounded as if it was coming from right outside of the room. The doors burst open and in ran our host in his shirt, but sans pants, being chased by his wife who was swinging a ball bat at him.

It was obvious from the blood on his head that she had managed to connect the bat to his head at least once! He was shouting for help and she was screaming obscenities and death threats. Everyone else was frozen! (I could have vanished an elephant!)

Long story short, he had been caught doing what a husband shouldn’t be doing right there in the house during the party (during the juggler’s act!). The dear wife was restrained, by a couple of “friends” from the audience, The husband taken to another room by other “friends” to have his wounds cared for, the police were called and came and took the wife away to the cries of her children, everyone else left.

I didn’t get to finish my show, Santa didn’t come, and I never got paid. The punch line? They ultimately got a very public and very messy divorce.

The real tragedy to the story is that I never got a booking from any of the attendees of that party (and they are the wealthy of the town)! Sad but true.
The artist formally known as Mumblepeas!
Cheshire Cat
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Wilmslow, UK
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How did you come to get your jaw broken Harry? When I worked as a musician I was hit by a flying pint beer glass and ended up with two stitches - but that's a long time ago. Why did you not send a bill for payment to the husband or the wife's solicitor (attorney)? - Tony (who brought back this thread). Smile
Adam V
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Such a good story though Smile
Adam V - 9 out of 10 dentists recommend him.
Harry Murphy
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Ace, I did send a bill (actually several bills) to the husband, the wife, to the lawyers and still never got a check. All I got for my trouble was a good story. The Juggler and the actor playing Santa didn’t get paid earlier. We have run into each other from time to time and always start our conservation with “remember when…” We laugh ourselves silly just thinking of that guy running through the audience with his pants off and screaming for dear life!

The broken jaw should be under the Worst Adult Show heading. It is a story much like yours Ace. I was hit by a full, flying, bottle of beer. I was working stand-up in a bar having a comedy club night. Two young men got into a fight over a woman. Fists, chairs, and bottles started flying. One hit me square on the side of my jaw and broke it. Now you may think that beer bottles are like the ones you see in the movies and break when they hit a head. Let me tell you that they don’t! The beer bottle that hit me also hit the floor and remained intact! What broke was the jaw! I never examined the floor to see what damage was done to it!

Worse than having the jaw broken was that many of my props turned up missing. I did get paid for that gig and the club made good on the missing props (well, they gave me a reasonable settlement).

I did a silent act for the next several weeks. I had already booked several shows. My purple face was quite an attraction for a while.
The artist formally known as Mumblepeas!
Philemon Vanderbeck
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Seattle, WA
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Quote:
On 2002-11-15 07:29, Harry Murphy wrote:

Now you may think that beer bottles are like the ones you see in the movies and break when they hit a head. Let me tell you that they don’t! The beer bottle that hit me also hit the floor and remained intact! What broke was the jaw!


Next time, work in a bar that only serves bottles made out of sugar candy glass.

:firedevil:
Professor Philemon Vanderbeck
That Creepy Magician
"I use my sixth sense to create the illusion of possessing the other five."
Adam V
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Yeah Harry, what were you thinking!?
Adam V - 9 out of 10 dentists recommend him.
Vaclav
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Now Seattle. Before? Who knows.
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To avoid problems at the partyes ,always carry a Duck tape. It works a miracles. Smile
Emazdad
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Plymouth UK
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One of the first things I tell the booker when I arrive at a party to find it looks like the inside of TOYS'R'US is that before the show starts all the toys have to be put away, and the bouncy castle has to be turned off before the show will start. There's a bit in the party survival guide I send out that says that as well. As for 2 boys fighting, if I get 2 boys sitting next to each other who are pushing and fighting each other, I quietly, separate them, I get them to sit either side of the audience. Problem solved.

As for worst show, this doesn't come into that category but is a good story.

I was traveling the world on Emazdad's world tour 97' (HMS Somersets Falkands Deployment). We came back up the west coast of America and visited Guatamala, As normal it was arranged for me to do a show for some local kids. My roadies and I were picked up by a guatamalan army officer and taken to a military base, where I was to perform in the mess/church hall. I was all set up and gradually the room filled up with guatamalan solders, about 200 of them and no kids added to the fact there was the language problem as well, the day was turning into a nightmare. All I had was my kids show, which due to stowage limitations on board was in a suitcase. I had no adult stuff on me, just a couple of close-up bits in my pockets, nothing I could use easily to play to a large room. I spoke to my interpreter and asked where the kids were. She was under the impression I was there to entertain the soldiers. They quickly scoured the camp and in the married quarters found about 15 kids which they bought in and sat down in front of the soldiers. I did the kids show, it was a great success and I used the soliers and the kids as helpers. . After the show when I gave the kids balloon models the soldiers kept asking for them as well, and I got to do a bit of close-up for them.

The interpreter did a terrific job keeping up with me, and all in all it turned out to be a good day.
Yours Funfully
Clive "Emazdad" Hemsley
www.emazdad.com

"Magic is a secret, without the secret there is no magic"

Remember there are only 3 types of people in the world, those that can count and those that can't.
Cabrera
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Seattle
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Around eight years ago ( relatively new to magic) I was performing a family show at an apartment clubhose for around 70 people. I had recently added Abotts Disecto hand chopper to my act, and this was the first time performing it live! If you know how the blade works, when you pull it out it is supposed to bypass the spectators wrist. Well; supposed to, but if the spectator is a boy around 11 years old with a very chubby wrist, the corner of the blade sliced the back of his thumb area and caused it to bleed. He didn't scream or aything, and I didn't even notice it until he sat back down and suddenly his Mom and sister were holding his wrist and escorting him to the back of the room. I could then see what was going on, and this shook me, but I still had another trick to do...with another volunteer! (20th Century Silks)
After the show I talked with the kids mother and told her I was sorry about the mis hap, but her kid had moved during the trick. Which is somewhat true. He had a bandage on and was looking a little sheepish when his mother said " You should have listened to the magician, and stayed still. She then apologized for her badly behaved kid. WOW! It could have really gone downhill to a nasty lawsuit ( I had no insurance)SO I gave him a rubber chicken prop that I had and he was happy A week later I sold the hand chopper at the local magic auction, touing it as a GREAT trick that is the highlight of your show! A year later I was booked at the same place and was told that a lot of the kids were telling about a magic man that was going to cut off someon'e hand.....
"The quilt of life is woven with many different threads"
Richard Landry
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Chatham, Illinois
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When you are working with children you have to be prepared for the unexpected. I was doing a Christmas show for about 250 people and had a boy assistant come up to help me with a balloon effect. We each had a blown up 260 Q balloon and he was suppose to do what I do, that is, make a balloon animal when he place the balloon in between his legs anf starts waving that balloon all over. What can you say. the show must go on. I just gave him the instructions again and finished the routine as quickly as possible. Smile
Mikael Eriksson
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None of your business
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Quote:
On 2002-11-15 07:29, Harry Murphy wrote:

Now you may think that beer bottles are like the ones you see in the movies and break when they hit a head. Let me tell you that they don’t!


Ah, sweet memories! One of the persons bullying me in school got to know a beer bottle in a very realistic way.

In Sweden we get paid to return bottles, and children are collecting them to make some money.

I was 8 or 9 and I was walking home from school, and one of the other children that happened to walk along was this bully, named Roger. I was really afraid of him. When we walked along the sidewalk I spotted a bottle, and I ran and picked it up, happy I had found a "treasure". Of course I was not left alone. Roger started to protest, he wanted the bottle! I refused. It ended in him grabbing me from the behind with what in Sweden is called the "wrestlergrip", where your arms are pulled back and your head is pushed forward. I panicked. I raised the bottle Smile and hit him in the head! It was luck that I hit him because I didn't see him because he was standing behind me. I never forget his scream Smile I can only describe it as a pig that is slaughtered. He sank down to his knees in the same way as people do in the movies when they are shot. He was holding his head and screamed in pain. Previously to this I had believed that bottles break when they hit a head. I now realized they didn't. I ran home as fast as I could.

Of course I was very afraid that he would take revenge the next day Smile He didn't. He only said accusingly: "You hit me in the head!" He didn't touch me.

I still think it was fair. I'm still happy it happened. He deserved it Smile

Mikael
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