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JamesinLA
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Sometimes I get people talking in the middle of a show, and it's distracting to the others and disruptive to the show. Often times, it's a father and mother talking about the kids. This is usually in a street show venue, but could also apply to other places. Anyway, my question is, does anyone have any comedic lines to shut them up and get the attention back on the show and ME? I do want it to be funny.
Thanks.

Jim
Oh, my friend we're older but no wiser, for in our hearts the dreams are still the same...
philblackmore
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I don't come to your bedroom when you're performing and talk right in the middle of it.
landmark
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Hi,
Don't take this personally, because I obviously know nothing about you, but in general, if people are talking during a routine, rather than paying attention, then you need to make the routine stronger.

My first recommendation would be to make sure the show is scripted. In this way you can really review the strengths and weaknesses of your presentation.

The great actor, Laurence Olivier once defined acting as "the art of keeping people from coughing for two hours."

Rather than look for a line to deliver, see if you can be so compelling that they'll have to pay attention.

All the Best,
Jack Shalom
JamesinLA
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Phil,
Thanks for the excellent line!

Jack,
Thanks for the great advice. I am constantly endeavoring to make my show - its opening, its routines, and its transitions - as compelling as possible. All my shows are scripted, albeit often in various states of rewrite. This is easy for me since I'm a professional screenwriter.
Olivier, I believe, worked theaters, did he not, when he wasn't on a sound stage. An audience that is sitting in a darkened theater in a seat that they have paid for is a very different audience than one that is watching a street show in a busking environment.
I don't know anything about you, Jack, but if you have ever worked in a busking venue, perhaps you would have a line to deal with the problem that I described, which I have personally seen some of the best buskers in the world have to contend with.
If you have an appropriate line you would feel okay about sharing I look forward to it.
Again, thanks for the great advice and encouragement toward excellence.

Best,
Jim
Oh, my friend we're older but no wiser, for in our hearts the dreams are still the same...
Christopher
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I agree James. No matter how strong your routines are, there are sometimes people that just won't be quiet. I've seen it happen in many comedy clubs that I've worked with headlining comics. They simply stop the show and wait for the person to stop talking, just staring at them. A lot of the big names confront the person, asking them what is so important... etc., and just telling them that they are being disruptive to the rest of the audience. I've seen them ask the other members of the audience if they think the talking is rude, and I have never ever seen the audience disagree with the performer.
cheesewrestler
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It's the audience's job to police itself. They don't tell me how to do my act, I don't tell them how to watch it.
ChrisZampese
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You definitely cannot use the same techniques on the street as you do in a theatre setting. The audience has not paid to see you, and you are in their space, not they in yours.

Try involving the talkative ones in your act, either by asking them questions, or making 'examples' of them (depends on your character.)

I was hooked by a guy the other day that, as I walked past, "hey buddy, I haven’t seen you for ages, you look so different after the (gestures around his crotch) operation." - Funny, not too offensive, got my attention.

If you try to engage them in your act, and they choose not to, then there is nothing you can do. Just don't embarrass them or yourself by trying to force them to either be quiet or move. You wont make any friends in the audience by doing that.
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kihei kid
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James, I could be wrong here but if they want to talk they should take it elsewhere and let everybody else enjoy what is going on.

My guess is, you know how people get to talking and they forget about what's going on at that moment.

You might consider throwing your magic wand at there head (just kidding). Actually, one option maybe to talk louder than you currently were a minute before.

I also think Chris' idea of involving them in the act is a very good way to go. I would be inclined to try that first.
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Christopher
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I've seen Gazzo perform many times. He has a disclaimer at the beginning that he doesn't want to seem aggressive, but if the audience talks he will have to talk louder, and thereby will sound aggressive. If the crowd continues talking he says..."once I have your attention I will continue."

I've also used the school method, of asking them if they have something so important to talk about that it should be shared with the class. This singles them out in a somewhat sarcastic, but joking method.

I just stand by the fact that if it is bothering you, it is definitely bothering the audience, and they will be on your side if you handle it correctly.
pyromagician
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My favorite is Copperfields,
"Sit back, relax, shut that kid up." Smile
P.S. this is what part of the alphabet would look like if "Q" and "R" were eleminated
rossmacrae
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Tell you what, I'll do the talking, you do the laughing, OK?
Peter Marucci
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If there is a problem with your show, you DON'T blame the audience; after all, it's probably your fault -- you are simply not making the show more interesting to the talkers than what it is that they are talking about!

Cheesewrester has it right: "(The audience doesn't)tell me how to do my act, I don't tell them how to watch it."

Please, do NOT use some insulting line; it may silence the offending people but it will also turn the rest of the audience off you and, very probably, magic.

Sure, there will be umpteen people now post, arguing that they use canned (and usually awful) lines that are supposed to be funny (but aren't) to silence talkers and it works. Well, if they believe that, then they are excellent magicians because they have managed to fool themselves!
Mike Wild
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I welcome the occasional chatter box. In my opinion the effects are there for the spectators to either enjoy or not. If most seem to be enjoying, while one or two are talking, it's really not a problem to handle it. I usually stop in mid vanish or transpo, or whatever, and lean over to listen. This get's a laugh from everyone else, and sometimes the talker doesn't realize what's happening for a few minutes. If this happens, it becomes a great bit where I do a bunch of silent flourishes, vanishes, appearances, whatever, acting as though I'm trying deperately to get his or her attention, looking dissappointed everytime I don't, and when I finally do... I give them a dollar from my tip jar to say "thanks for noticing me!". This bit always kills, no one ever feels bad or picked on, and the performance keeps moving forward.

I remember one time I was set up for a misers dream bit, and I had a really attractive young lady who was talking on her cell phone. I produced something like 12 coins, one at a time, showing each one to her (she wasn't even looking at me, and had no idea what I was doing), and laying them down near her on the bar each time one appeared. The rest of the patrons were rolling and laughing their heads off. It was one of favorites performances. You see, it seems like you're striving in vain for one person's attention, but in reality, you're entertaining everyone else.

Best,

Mike
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Jonathan Townsend
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Re: Thems which talk

You have to decide what you want to happen. One technique that can serve you is to acknowledge the chatterboxes. This can be done in many ways. As suggested in earlier posts, the most progressive thing to accomplish would be getting them emotionally involved IN your performance. The tactics to get other audience members to police the chatterboxes are less progressive, and not so funny.
...to all the coins I've dropped here
Mike Wild
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RE: "Sure, there will be umpteen people now post, arguing that they use canned (and usually awful) lines that are supposed to be funny (but aren't)"

Yeah... I especially don't see that whole talking to them like naughty school children thing working out too well... "We'll all just wait until you're done...??!! Anyway, I know what I'd say to someone who just interupted me while I was speaking, at my dinner table, with my friends, because he or she is doing magic, and I'm not playing nice and shutting up. I'd say, "If your magic was any good, I'd be paying attention, but, unfortunately, you Abra-ca-suck, so leave me alone and let me eat my dinner in peace..."


Maybe I wouldn't say that exactly, but most likely something very close to it.

Best,

Mike
<><>< SunDragon Magic ><><>

"Question Reality... Create Illusion"
Bill Palmer
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The street has different rules than a comedy club. And comedy clubs have different rules than restaurants. If you are working in a comedy club and a spectator is disruptive, you have a bouncer who can take care of the problem, whether it is talking or heckling.

I a restaurant, if you are doing a stage show, and there is no special fee for the show, that is, if it is not a feature show, you have to decide whether it is worth your while to tick off the customers who may be regulars and who are discussing business.

On the street, you may need to handle it by bringing the spectators who genuinely want to watch you in closer, so they block out the talkers. But if you have the personality for it, you can stop, and listen to them talk. Then say, "Speak up, we're only getting every other word of the conversation."

Whatever you do, before you go after a spectator, whether you are in a comedy club, a restaurant or on the street, ALWAYS MAKE SURE YOU HAVE THE REST OF THE AUDIENCE ON YOUR SIDE.

You can do this by stopping, looking at the offender, and getting the audience to watch them. Give it a few seconds, when the audience begins to respond -- usually by chucking or giggling, then go for it!
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chmara
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I think the best training for this it to do a year in a chain of Chinese all- you-can-eat buffets with a dinner show and then a late diner show each evening. Of yes -- and do this during a month of an international Gem and Mineral Show -- so very few of the audience members even speak English -- and the problem of talkers will never bother you again.

As Bill mentioned -- in a restaurant you cannot get the patrons angry at you -- because you are a sales tool to create traffic.

And then there was the night that 33 or so people took the tables closest to my stage to await the birthday boy. He got there in the middle of the show (slightly tipsy) and demanded everyone get up and get on the line for something to eat.

It left a hole in the audience -- so I played to be the back of the hall ---- AND the buffet line.

I wish I had used my headchopper that night == but I did get the Bday Boy with Big Shot! People are just not used to having a canon pointed at them.

GC
Gregg (C. H. Mara) Chmara

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Tucson, AZ



C. H. Mara Illusion & Psychic Entertainments
Flec
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"sir either laugh it up or get out cause some of us are trying to have a good time..."

"do I come to **** and bother you when your working?"

or if its the opposite...and they cant stop laughing/clapping...then say "sir if your gna enjoy urself, make it look like a crowd of people at least caused ur the only one enjoying this show!"
avimagic
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A good line that makes the point without offending:

"Hey can you guys hear me back there?"
(pause for response)
"Great, just checking. Because I can hear you just fine too."

Avi
MagicalArtist
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Good one, Avi! However, it is important to keep in mind that all of these lines should be delivered with good humor. Never ever seen annoyed at your audience. This is the quickest way to turn them against you.

It's the kind of along the same lines of what Jean Hugard wrote in Expert Card Magic:

"Never apologize, no matter what goes wrong or what you fear may go wrong. Audiences don't want apologies and they are not interested in your troubles. If you drop palmed cards, don't apologize; there is little you can say and you may only call attention to that which many failed to observe...if you apologize, they will be annoyed with you.

"Never disparage yourself and mean it. When you make what should be a clever remark and no one is amused, don't show that the attempt at wittiness has failed. Don't pause and wait for the laughter which does not come."

Just as you should never show annoyance with yourself, you should never show annoyance with your audience.

It just occurred to me that I SHOULD have used this quote from Expert Card Technique:

"If you have not secured the attention of your audience and a spectator is talking, don't attempt to out-talk him. To catch attention, lower your voice. A trick which will often prove effective with the rowdiest audience is to move your lips as though talking, or lower your voice to a near-whisper. Those who want to hear you will strain their ears for only so long; then they will demand that the person creating the disturbance come to order. They do the work for you."
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