The Magic Café
Username:
Password:
[ Lost Password ]
  [ Forgot Username ]
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The side walk shuffle » » Threw His Cups Into the Street! (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

 Go to page 1~2 [Next]
Hernan
View Profile
Regular user
San Francisco
126 Posts

Profile of Hernan
I was cruising through Fishermans Wharf to see who was busking and how many tourists there were. I spotted a new magician. So I parked, hoisted my son onto my shoulders and went to see him work. I thought he was a new busker, I had not seen him before. It turned out that he was one of the best young buskers anywhere.

I was in for an uexpected treat!!

His name is Chris Karney and he is really an escape-based performer but he is working out a street magic act. This sad story ends with a crazy lady tossing one of his cups down the sidewalk, and another into traffic on the street.

The beginning of the story is that he made a wise crack as this lady walked through his "stage." He had built a decent tip, about 20 people. We are talking post-lunch-freezing-cold- crowd-duldrums here. Only someone dead broke or working out a new act would be working. His, the only act on the wharf.

I watched as he craftily built a tip. Twenty and growing. A non-magic crowd but still one that started firmly in the palm of his hand. An expert.

The third person to walk through his stage gets the worst insult of the three, and she turns around. Says some nasty things and then just stands there!

As he completes the card trick, she starts to speak up again. You know how it ended. At least that was the end for me, I rallied the crowd to cheer for Chris's magic but my son sensed the turmoil and started to cry. I left before I messed up his crowd-handling. I was getting angry. (Can it be worse if you _watch_ someone get heckled? Not getting heckled, watching someone else get heckled?)

So for those of you coming through town, we have a new player on the wharf. If you guys wait till it warms up here his act should be a world class one, (his escape/BMX bike act normally draws 1-200 people).

And you can say, "Hey Chris, I heard you got your cups thrown into the street!"
Bill Palmer
View Profile
Eternal Order
Only Jonathan Townsend has more than
24249 Posts

Profile of Bill Palmer
And that is why you really need to be careful about how you handle hecklers and other people who interrupt your show. It's all about crowd control. If you don't have EVERYONE on your side, except for the heckler, it may be best to ignore them. It's a very expensive lesson.
"The Swatter"

Founder of CODBAMMC

My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

www.cupsandballsmuseum.com
Hernan
View Profile
Regular user
San Francisco
126 Posts

Profile of Hernan
Yes you are right Bill. Rude crowd banter is a point of contention amongst performers. I think that, in this case, it is only the tip of the iceberg.

Here is how he handled her.

He leaned on his waiter stand table. "I really wanted to perform magic today, but I guess I won't." It was obvious to him that the show was over.

Remember, Bill, I said he is one of the world's best buskers. (Did I say that? Okay, I am saying it now.)

At the risk of being called an armchair quarterback, let me say what I think might have gone wrong.

As I said before, the crowds were light. When he layed down his rope, dilineating his "stage". He may have put it one to two feet out too far. He is after all (to use his own words) working out a close-up act. And there wouldn't be 200 people stopping to watch him. It was a reflection of his ability, an accomplishment, to stop 20 people.

But I think we are talking about a performer who made subtle mistakes.

How to save the tip/hat and part friends?
A public apology coupled with a signed torn/restored card by both parties?
I guess I should have called this topic "Extreme Heckling".
Bill Palmer
View Profile
Eternal Order
Only Jonathan Townsend has more than
24249 Posts

Profile of Bill Palmer
Even the best make mistakes. I have seen Gazzo overdo it. (Could you ever believe that? NAAAAHHH.)

It's really hard sometimes to figure out the way things should have been handled.

I remember one of my early TRF shows, a couple came in just after I started the show, and the man said—as he elbowed his way up front—"Let's get right here and heckle the magician, that's what they are for."

I ignored him all through the show. When I went into my hat pass, he made a big deal of walking through the crowd and causing a disturbance. It killed the hat.

I know now that what I should have done was this, I should have leaned over to him and said quietly, "If you are here to heckle me, sir, you are in the wrong place. The rest of the people are here to see a show. Don't ruin it for them." But I didn't that time, however, the next time I was in the same kind of position I did exactly that and nobody was hurt in any way, shape or form.
"The Swatter"

Founder of CODBAMMC

My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

www.cupsandballsmuseum.com
K-Max
View Profile
New user
Oklahoma City
49 Posts

Profile of K-Max
I would never do this because it is just not in my character, but some of you might. George Carlin has a track on one of his albums called how to handle a heckler. He really puts him in his place and shuts him up. Has anyone else out there heard or used extreme insults to a positive effect?
Chout
View Profile
New user
52 Posts

Profile of Chout
I always bring a friend. He's there for a few reasons:
1. To prevent anything similar to what happened to Chris from happening to me.
2. To act like he's part of the crowd at the beginning so that I look slightly popular and can build up my audience from there.
3. In case I need a special volunteer who's in on the trick.
Bill Palmer
View Profile
Eternal Order
Only Jonathan Townsend has more than
24249 Posts

Profile of Bill Palmer
Quote:
On 2003-12-23 11:46, K-Max wrote:
I would never do this because it is just not in my character, but some of you might. George Carlin has a track on one of his albums called how to handle a heckler. He really puts him in his place and shuts him up. Has anyone else out there heard or used extreme insults to a positive effect?


I really hate to use heckle stoppers. In fact, I don't recommend it at all. When I was entertainment director of the Texas Renaissance Festival, I recommended for the acts to do this:

Get a copy of 2001 Insults. Read it from cover to cover. Find three insults that you really think are funny. When you have a heckler that gives you lots of trouble, look him straight in the eye, smile, and think one of them at him as loud as you can. The audience will pick up on it. And they will know that you could have said something devastating. They will love you for not doing it.

If you have to finally use one, get in there, hit hard and do it cleanly. But make sure the whole audience is on your side before you do it. Otherwise, you will ruin the show.

This said, I had an interesting incident at Scarborough Faire one year. There were two girls, about 13 years old sitting on the edge of the stage, heckling me mercilessly. I had a wireless mike on, so and they were bleeding through it. The customers were really getting ticked at them. Now there is very little that a middle-aged man can say to a teenage girl without looking like a real letch. The old classics about "I don't know why you are bugging me while I am working, I don't stand under your red light" are just too strong.

After I had glared at them a few times, and they didn't get the hint, I said, "Are you from around here?"

"Yes."

"Oh, that's too bad. I didn't realize thay had such a horrible drug abuse problem in Waxahachie."

The crowd LOVED it! And they shut up. After protesting that they didn't use drugs. The people were going "Yeah, right! Sure you don't."

So, if you need that one, use it!
"The Swatter"

Founder of CODBAMMC

My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

www.cupsandballsmuseum.com
KingStardog
View Profile
Inner circle
2134 Posts

Profile of KingStardog
Good one Bill.....

Or how about.....

Oh I used to get all bubbly and loud too....Just couldn't hold my liquor ...that's why I quit...

Harsh but sometimes they have it coming.
...think not that all wisdom is in your school. You may have studied other paths,but, it is important to remember that no matter who you are or where you come from, there is always more to learn.
Danny Hustle
View Profile
Inner circle
Boston, MA USA
2393 Posts

Profile of Danny Hustle
Busking puts you in a very unusual position when it comes to heckler stoppers.

In a comedy club it is expected and encouraged that if you are being heckled you will drop a thermonuclear device on the heckler.

This will not work on the street. On the street you have not been paid yet and are controlling a fluid audience. They did not pay a 10 buck cover two drink minimum to see you. They stopped on the way to lunch because you were doing something interesting. The second you become uninteresting they will be gone.

This makes for a very precarious situation when you are being heckled. If you let the heckler continue he will kill your hat. If you insult him you may kill your hat.

What to do?

Something that I’ve been doing is I let the heckler know in a funny way that he is heckling me. Believe it or not most hecklers think they are funny and are adding to your show.

The second thing I let him know is that he is a very funny guy, the kind of funny that when he is out with his buddies over a few beers he is the life of the party. I then let him know that I am professional funny. I am funny for a living 24x7x365 and if he continues to be funny I will reach inside of him and pull out his deepest darkest secret and throw it 10 feet up in the air and embarrass him from Hades to breakfast with it.

I say this all in good humor and with a wink. It is a warning shot over his bow. He and I are still pals and I have a show to do.

I have acknowledged him in a friendly way, complemented him, and brought him inside of my show. This is usually all the attention they need most of the time it works.

If they continue I use a method I learned from Gazzo. When I saw this I thought it was so brilliant that I asked him about it after the show he was doing. He told me he had no idea what the heck I was talking about. He has been doing this for so long and with so little effort that it is an automatic response.

If you are working a horseshoe or circle shaped show and are being heckled you walk right over to the area that the heckler (s) are standing. You then move that whole section of the crowd back about five feet forming a horseshoe shaped bump in that section of the crowd. Then once you have moved the heckler(s) to the apex of the little horseshoe you close in the ends of that little horseshoe shaped bump effectively moving the hecklers to the back of the crowd. You have blocked them right out of the show. It is quite brilliant audience management.

But sometimes you lose.

I also once saw a guy in Gazzo’s show stand in the back of the crowd and just start screaming “Bum” and “Loser” every five seconds during the show. In these situations the best you can hope for is that a six foot three inch former boxer and fellow busker is in the audience and is willing to tell the guy to shut up or he will twist off his yapping head and use his skull for a cereal bowl. That worked a treat, I think it was because I was smiling as I whispered it in the hecklers ear Smile

Best,

Dan-
Image

"MT is one of the reasons we started this board! I’m so sick of posts being deleted without any reason given, and by unknown people at that." - Steve Brooks Sep 7, 2001 8:38pm
©1999-2014 Daniel Denney all rights reserved.
Bill Palmer
View Profile
Eternal Order
Only Jonathan Townsend has more than
24249 Posts

Profile of Bill Palmer
That is exactly right. When you are busking, you must make the entire audience love you. That's really it.

But comedy clubs really aren't so different. You can kill a show with a heckle stopper if you don't do it right.

I was working in Austin at the Laff Stop. Our opening act had no business being in a comedy club, much less being on stage in one. She got heckled right at the beginning of a show, and she went on attack mode. Smelled the room up. She didn't wait until she had the room on her side.

When I went out, they were after blood. I defused them really quickly. They started making fun of my clothing, so I said, "Hey, don't make fun of my work clothes, wait until the headliner comes out. He gets paid more than I do -- make fun of his clothes instead." They laughed, and I had them on my side. It was that simple.

I knew that the hecklers were from one of the fraternities at the University, so I asked what fraternity it was (I actually knew that) and what the event was -- one of the fellows was having a birthday. So I told them I would bring him up later.

My second to closing number was a straitjacket escape, so I brought the birthday boy and one of his friends up, we had a jolly time, and I made everyone laugh.

At the end of my set, I got a standing ovation!

And after the set, one of the guys from the fraternity came out to the lounge and hired me to do a show at their branch in Houston.

So, sometimes a heckle-stopper isn't the best way.

But they sure are fun!!!
"The Swatter"

Founder of CODBAMMC

My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

www.cupsandballsmuseum.com
Hernan
View Profile
Regular user
San Francisco
126 Posts

Profile of Hernan
Thanks everyone for your valuable insight!

I forgot to say that Carney used his table to alter the flow of traffic, so people were miffed to have to walk around or through a "show".
I guess blocking traffic with your table (in hopes of _stopping_ traffic) should be a separate topic.

If using this stategy, I expect your rope (or whatever). Should be layed down closer towards your table. So that passersby can not walk through your show.

Carney doesn't do this - he makes sport of the interlopers. It is his style and many visitors to our fair city leave happier because of it.

One very sad note about this whole Carney buisiness is that he set up 1/2 block from the old man of the street. Everyone knows him. Everyone loves him (I just forgot his name pardon me)

I drove by again on Dec. 28 and saw Carney with a tip of 50 or more and 10 yards down I saw the musstacheoed veteran forlornly looking at the crowd while making some noise (calling a crowd that may never come) spinning his rings.

Tissue anyone?

The things we do to make a buck.

(I think common courtesy would make another good topic).
mplegare
View Profile
Veteran user
Forest Grove, Oregon
310 Posts

Profile of mplegare
I tend to have a sign of some kind with my name on it (having recently upgraded, it's a prettier sign!), and if I find myself dealing with a particularly vigorous heckler I ask

"What's your name?"
(pause for response)
"Does it say *name* on the sign there?"

"No?"

"Well, when you get a sign, you can have your own show, ok?"

That works suprisingly well, as well as mentioning later that, you know, since I have so little experience talking in front of crowds... the best plan is alway to win the heckler over enough so that they actually get into the show rather than wanting to *be* the show, but sometimes the street's just gonna win...
Matthew Legare aka Tobias the Adequate! - http://www.adequateblog.today.com - you know you want to.
Danny Hustle
View Profile
Inner circle
Boston, MA USA
2393 Posts

Profile of Danny Hustle
That is really good.
1. Because it is direct
2. It is funny in a disarming way. It should make the heckler stop and keep the audience on your side. If the heckler were to continue you could do a subtle call back to the sign and get the audience to shut the guy up at that point.

That is a really, really, good bit. Thanks for sharing it!

Best,

Dan-
Image

"MT is one of the reasons we started this board! I’m so sick of posts being deleted without any reason given, and by unknown people at that." - Steve Brooks Sep 7, 2001 8:38pm
©1999-2014 Daniel Denney all rights reserved.
Bill Palmer
View Profile
Eternal Order
Only Jonathan Townsend has more than
24249 Posts

Profile of Bill Palmer
I used something like that from time to time at various festivals. If I had a kid that was really getting up my nostril, I would ask the kid what his name was. Then I would ask if anyone had a program. When someone said they had one, I would say, "Would you look in the program please and tell me what it says there for 2:00? (or whatver time it was) ... Merlin the Magician? That's what I thought. See kid, it doesn't say 'Fred the obnoxious kid.' It says 'Merlin the Magician.' If you can find a program with 'Fred the obnoxious kid' in it, I'll let you stand up here, and I'll sit out there and heckle you. What do you say?"

And it does work just as mplegare says. It's funny enough that nobody gets offended, but it puts the kid in his place.
"The Swatter"

Founder of CODBAMMC

My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

www.cupsandballsmuseum.com
Pokie-Poke
View Profile
Special user
Bensalem, PA
883 Posts

Profile of Pokie-Poke
There are crazy people out there (not just the jugglers) and you will not always be able to shut them doun. I like the sign idea, how ever If the person was willing to toss his cups in the street, I don't think the sign would have lasted any longer.
I do my best to shut them down fast, if you hesitate or show mercy thay will keep going, or worse still come back for the next show to do it agen.
If compleat shut doun is nessasery, you have probably lost the hat any way. I will probly not ever have to do it, but Danny's bit is good but be sure you can back it up, better still cut them a new one, then tell them how you could realy cut them a new one but you are in a good mood and feal like being nice, you would have to be out right ranting at that point.
You can't win them all. It is your show. but it is every ones street. cut your losses if you have to. And DON'T let that anger wash into your next show.
www.pokie-poke.com
The Adventure cont...
mplegare
View Profile
Veteran user
Forest Grove, Oregon
310 Posts

Profile of mplegare
One other thing (thanks for all the positive responses, gang) that I've done is, quite literally, stop the show and declare my very own special guest star - (Obnoxious Heckler)! "And now, my guest star will say something DEVISTATINGLY FUNNY!"

And stare at him expectantly.

And wait.

And stare.

And make encouraging gestures.

With everyone looking at him.

Waiting.

For him to be.

Brilliant.

... amazing how this works, too Smile Tho it doesn't work as *well* when it's someone under 12 Smile

Tobias!


sigfile under construction. pardon our bits.
Matthew Legare aka Tobias the Adequate! - http://www.adequateblog.today.com - you know you want to.
Danny Hustle
View Profile
Inner circle
Boston, MA USA
2393 Posts

Profile of Danny Hustle
Tobias,

This is a favorite of mine as well. I often have a different nickname depending on the type of heckler. Being of Irish heritage and living in Boston the nick name is almost always Irish.

"Hey, it's Twitchy McFidget and his Gas fired punch lines. 'cmon Twitchy, give us another one."

"Thank you for that brilliant flash of the obvious Mr. Pouge Mahone, Seeing you stopped the show dead with that one why don't you tell us the one about the three nuns who walked into a bar." I then get the audience to applaud and egg him on.

I do not do it that often but when I do it always gets a laugh. If the heckler actually knows the punch line to the joke it is even better.

Oh, for the record. The punch line is, "After the first nun walked into the bar the other two should have ducked." **rimshot**

Thanks, I'm here all week, try the Buffalo wings and tip the waitstaff they worked hard all night putting up with you alcoholics. Good night!

Best,

Dan-
Image

"MT is one of the reasons we started this board! I’m so sick of posts being deleted without any reason given, and by unknown people at that." - Steve Brooks Sep 7, 2001 8:38pm
©1999-2014 Daniel Denney all rights reserved.
Mario Morris
View Profile
Inner circle
Mario Morris
2044 Posts

Profile of Mario Morris
Tobias & Dan
That is a great approach.
Using the line "You should have a shave your face looks like a talking armpit" approach does not always work, but it could lead into what you have described if they keep coming back for more.
JamesinLA
View Profile
Inner circle
Los Angeles
3400 Posts

Profile of JamesinLA
I have not as yet (knock wood) had a really mean heckler. Just a few people who wanted to join in the fun a little too proactively, lets say. I was able to shut them down with a few simple lines. However, yesterday I did have a little boy who was a royal pain in the ***. During my cups routine, he kept rushing the table--all the other kids followed him--and he kept grabbing balls. What a pain. I have since thought of what I would do next time it happens, but none of the lines I was using worked. His mom finally pulled him away, but he did screw up the routine. Anyone else have to deal with kids like this?

Jim
Oh, my friend we're older but no wiser, for in our hearts the dreams are still the same...
LBP MAGIC
View Profile
Veteran user
374 Posts

Profile of LBP MAGIC
I usually get out my dock martins (I'm always down for kicking) and give a quick swift kick to the butt. I pretend that it wasn't me and everybody starts to laugh. Then the heckler leaves with his tail between his legs.

Please don't PM me and tell me I am horrible. Again I am joking. Smile
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The side walk shuffle » » Threw His Cups Into the Street! (0 Likes)
 Go to page 1~2 [Next]
[ Top of Page ]
All content & postings Copyright © 2001-2020 Steve Brooks. All Rights Reserved.
This page was created in 0.23 seconds requiring 5 database queries.
The views and comments expressed on The Magic Café
are not necessarily those of The Magic Café, Steve Brooks, or Steve Brooks Magic.
> Privacy Statement <

ROTFL Billions and billions served! ROTFL