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Danno
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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.
Priest
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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?

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p.b.jones
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Hi,

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

Phillip
Dr. Jakks
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My favorite line is, "Oh thanks, I forgot that part. Here, why don't you try it?" Shuts them up.

Jakks
Vision
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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.
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aznviet6uy
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Quote:
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.
Jakks

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.

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Alan Wheeler
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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!

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Dr. Jakks
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My pride won't allow me to befriend hecklers! I love to make them suffer!!! Smile Smile

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.

Jakks
Steven the Amusing
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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?"
nappa
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I usally do what jakks does or just walk away. Some people just don't like magic I guess.
Q-TIP
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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. Smile
Peter Marucci
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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.
magiciandude
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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
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Manipulix
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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.

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Stephen Long
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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) or "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.

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Dr. Jakks
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Everyone follow Stephen's advice!!! That is definitely the way to deal with them.

Jakks
John Clarkson
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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.
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Callin
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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 Growing in the Art of Magic audio tapes are a goldmine of great information.

Thanks,
Richard
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Steve
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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.

Steve
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CardSharp
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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.
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