Drunk heckler - what would you have done?

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Postby mrgoat » 08/26/12 08:10 AM

So, I'm performing at a residency for a pub for the Arundel Festival again this year. All was going swimmingly. They close the street off, and I work outside on the cobbles doing magic.

Yesterday, I had a VERY drunk female heckling and interrupting ALL the time. I thought she just wanted some attention, so used her as a spec for a trick, she was behaved, then when back in audience just KEPT shouting things out all the time. "Oh I know this one" "What's in the case" etc Not really 'heckling' per se, but just being drunk noisy and annoying. Her friends were telling her to shut up. People she didn't know ended up telling her to shut up.

Any standard 'heckle stopper' lines aren't really my thing. And probably would have gone over her head she was so drunk. "This isn't TV you know, I can hear you" etc. wouldn't have done anything.

So I just pretty much carried on, trying to ignore and talk over her.

Now, I am annoyed at not getting her to STFU.

So, what would *you* have done to try and minimise the disruption, or shut her up?

Thanks

D
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Postby Joe Pecore » 08/26/12 08:54 AM

Sounds like you had the audience on your side. What do you think would have happened if you just stopped and politely told them you were not going to continue until she got quiet?
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Postby mrgoat » 08/26/12 09:10 AM

Joe Pecore wrote:Sounds like you had the audience on your side. What do you think would have happened if you just stopped and politely told them you were not going to continue until she got quiet?


Not sure...she was REALLY drunk, so even if everyone was involved in getting her to shut up, I imagine it would have lasted all of 3 minutes before she got loud again...

And I'm not convinced getting into some kind of stand off with her would have helped proceedings...maybe I'm wrong on that one though.

The audience were on my side, and I ended up with the usual big applause etc and people telling me how much they enjoyed it etc, but it just still feels I could have handled her better...

Thanks for the reply
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Postby Jeff Haas » 08/26/12 04:08 PM

Once the audience and her friends are telling her to be quiet, and it's not working, then I think it's out of your hands. Push through the best you can and finish the set.

Sometimes doing shows is as much about crowd control as it is about the tricks. This applies to kidshows too.

People watching probably thought you did well, considering the circumstances.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 08/26/12 05:05 PM

I think spraying people from a water gun filled with vanishing ink might be fun.
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Postby mrgoat » 08/28/12 01:42 PM

[quote="Richard Kaufman"]I think spraying people from a water gun filled with vanishing ink might be fun. [/quote

That's a great idea. Thanks.

Fortunately, last two days of the residency had no such problems.
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Postby Larry Horowitz » 08/28/12 01:54 PM

While I don't have an excellent solution to the problem, I can tell you that spraying the drunk with vanishing ink will get you punched in the face.
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Postby Steve Bryant » 08/28/12 01:57 PM

Actually Richard's idea could be very workable. Have a "drunk" planted in the audience, getting more and more obnoxious as the show progresses. Invite him up, place him in a cabinet, vanish him, and go on with the show without another word.
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Postby mrgoat » 08/28/12 02:02 PM

Larry Horowitz wrote:While I don't have an excellent solution to the problem, I can tell you that spraying the drunk with vanishing ink will get you punched in the face.


Heheh. Yes, I am not convinced RK was serious. But it would have been a lovely moment. Esp when people she didn't know were telling her to STFU!

:)
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Postby mrgoat » 08/28/12 02:04 PM

Steve Bryant wrote:Actually Richard's idea could be very workable. Have a "drunk" planted in the audience, getting more and more obnoxious as the show progresses. Invite him up, place him in a cabinet, vanish him, and go on with the show without another word.


Heh. Wonderful! Sadly I was doing magic on a cobbled street outside the oldest pub in Arundel (1625). And I don't have any cabinets. But yes, lovely idea!
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Postby Bob Farmer » 08/28/12 07:32 PM

Canadian humourist Stephen Leacock supplied the best approach in The Conjurer's Revenge:


Now, ladies and gentlemen," said the conjurer, "having
shown you that the cloth is absolutely empty, I will
proceed to take from it a bowl of goldfish. Presto!"

All around the hall people were saying, "Oh, how wonderful!
How does he do it?"

But the Quick Man on the front seat said in a big whisper
to the people near him, "He-had-it-up-his-sleeve."

Then the people nodded brightly at the Quick Man and
said, "Oh, of course"; and everybody whispered round the
hall, "He-had-it-up-his-sleeve."

"My next trick," said the conjurer, "is the famous
Hindostanee rings. You will notice that the rings are
apparently separate; at a blow they all join (clang,
clang, clang)--Presto!"

There was a general buzz of stupefaction till the Quick
Man was heard to whisper, "He-must-have-had-another-lot-
up-his-sleeve."

Again everybody nodded and whispered, "The-rings-were-
up-his-sleeve."

The brow of the conjurer was clouded with a gathering
frown.

"I will now," he continued, "show you a most amusing
trick by which I am enabled to take any number of eggs
from a hat. Will some gentleman kindly lend me his hat?
Ah, thank you--Presto!"

He extracted seventeen eggs, and for thirty-five seconds
the audience began to think that he was wonderful. Then
the Quick Man whispered along the front bench, "He-has-a-
hen-up-his-sleeve," and all the people whispered it on.
"He-has-a-lot-of-hens-up-his-sleeve."

The egg trick was ruined.

It went on like that all through. It transpired from the
whispers of the Quick Man that the conjurer must have
concealed up his sleeve, in addition to the rings, hens,
and fish, several packs of cards, a loaf of bread, a
doll's cradle, a live guinea-pig, a fifty-cent piece,
and a rocking-chair.

The reputation of the conjurer was rapidly sinking below
zero. At the close of the evening he rallied for a final
effort.

"Ladies and gentlemen," he said, "I will present to you,
in conclusion, the famous Japanese trick recently invented
by the natives of Tipperary. Will you, sir," he continued
turning toward the Quick Man, "will you kindly hand me
your gold watch?"

It was passed to him.

"Have I your permission to put it into this mortar and
pound it to pieces?" he asked savagely.

The Quick Man nodded and smiled.

The conjurer threw the watch into the mortar and grasped
a sledge hammer from the table. There was a sound of
violent smashing, "He's-slipped-it-up-his-sleeve,"
whispered the Quick Man.

"Now, sir," continued the conjurer, "will you allow me
to take your handkerchief and punch holes in it? Thank
you. You see, ladies and gentlemen, there is no deception;
the holes are visible to the eye."

The face of the Quick Man beamed. This time the real
mystery of the thing fascinated him.

"And now, sir, will you kindly pass me your silk hat and
allow me to dance on it? Thank you."

The conjurer made a few rapid passes with his feet and
exhibited the hat crushed beyond recognition.

"And will you now, sir, take off your celluloid collar
and permit me to burn it in the candle? Thank you, sir.
And will you allow me to smash your spectacles for you
with my hammer? Thank you."

By this time the features of the Quick Man were assuming
a puzzled expression. "This thing beats me," he whispered,
"I don't see through it a bit."

There was a great hush upon the audience. Then the conjurer
drew himself up to his full height and, with a withering
look at the Quick Man, he concluded:

"Ladies and gentlemen, you will observe that I have, with
this gentleman's permission, broken his watch, burnt his
collar, smashed his spectacles, and danced on his hat.
If he will give me the further permission to paint green
stripes on his overcoat, or to tie his suspenders in a
knot, I shall be delighted to entertain you. If not, the
performance is at an end."

And amid a glorious burst of music from the orchestra
the curtain fell, and the audience dispersed, convinced
that there are some tricks, at any rate, that are not
done up the conjurer's sleeve.
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Postby Pete McCabe » 08/28/12 11:32 PM

Yeah, Damian, so just try that.
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Postby Pete McCabe » 08/28/12 11:35 PM

Actually Jonathan Levit had the best response to a drunk spectator I've ever seen. He looked straight at her and said with a chuckle, "You're so drunk." It totally broke the drunk's loud momentum, and she was no further trouble. But she maybe wasn't as drunk as yours.
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Postby mrgoat » 08/29/12 03:56 AM

Pete McCabe wrote:Actually Jonathan Levit had the best response to a drunk spectator I've ever seen. He looked straight at her and said with a chuckle, "You're so drunk." It totally broke the drunk's loud momentum, and she was no further trouble. But she maybe wasn't as drunk as yours.


That's lovely. Thanks.
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Postby Ian Kendall » 08/29/12 04:51 AM

Someone sent me that Leacock story after a show in, I think, 1998. I've still got the photocopies upstairs somewhere. Nice to see it again.
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Postby IrishMagicNews » 08/29/12 05:52 AM

Is that Stephen Leacock story for real? If so lmao and pmsl and everything else.
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Postby Bob Farmer » 08/29/12 09:11 AM

Bendan: yes Stephen Leacock was real but his story was fiction. However, he really knows HOW to be aheckler with this:

http://www.online-literature.com/stephe ... lapses/35/
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Postby Corneilius Jay » 08/29/12 01:48 PM

Roberto Giobbi had a great idea whereby if a heckler wouldn't keep quiet through any mainstream methods like asking politely for example he would begin a card trick invite the heckler to help him choose a card.

"Of course to allay any suspicions on your part that I could be peeking at The card or cheating in any way I would like you to step outside the room to choose the card and I will call you back into the room when we are ready to proceed"

The heckler would leave the room and after he had left the magician would start a new trick leaving the heckler outside the room until the end of the performance (hopefully).

That could totally work if you just changed it around say maybe you could have sent her into the pub with a deck of cards? :)
She probably would have ordered a new drink and forgotten all about you.
Regards.
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Postby mrgoat » 08/29/12 02:15 PM

Corneilius Jay wrote:Roberto Giobbi had a great idea whereby if a heckler wouldn't keep quiet through any mainstream methods like asking politely for example he would begin a card trick invite the heckler to help him choose a card.

"Of course to allay any suspicions on your part that I could be peeking at The card or cheating in any way I would like you to step outside the room to choose the card and I will call you back into the room when we are ready to proceed"

The heckler would leave the room and after he had left the magician would start a new trick leaving the heckler outside the room until the end of the performance (hopefully).

That could totally work if you just changed it around say maybe you could have sent her into the pub with a deck of cards? :)
She probably would have ordered a new drink and forgotten all about you.


That's BRILLIANT.

Non threatening, not offensive and probably would have worked.

I'll remember it for next time. Thanks!
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Postby Corneilius Jay » 08/29/12 02:27 PM

I'd like to be there when you do it to someone to see what happens. :)
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