Classic Audience Members - the essay
This is a revision on my other essay. I have the same hopes in this essay as in the previous one. I hope to cover all the classic and common audience members and personalities of the audience as you may perform. I got this idea from Jay Sankey’s book Beyond Secrets, and just built upon its shoulders.
When you perform a show for an audience, no two of the audience members will have the same personality or character. In fact, there’s going to be lots of different people throughout the audience. And what I want to do today, is give you a handful of classic audience members you WILL come across. And this guide will teach you how to bring light from darkness.
Before I talk about the bad audience members, I want to touch on the ordinary, and cooperative audience members. Typically, most audience members are going to want to watch and enjoy the show you’ve put on for them. But this doesn’t mean these are the people I concentrate on the most, it means that they’re the people I have to concentrate the least on. This is because they don’t have any problems with the show. But the first audience member, you can spot first thing, is the shy person. This shy person will always be the one that’s in the corner of the room, not talking to anyone. They’re mostly likely and more often a woman than a man. Before the show, I suggest introducing yourself to everyone including “her,” so that you can get a clear impression of what she’s like.
From there, you want lower your energy. You never want to tell her to “loosen up” because that will simply make her more shy and reserved. To get “her” more engaged, you want to give her a reassuring smile and then immediately alter your attention to the main crowd or another member of the audience. And you typically want to glance over at her so that she feels more relaxed. And eventually, she will feel more relaxed.
The next classic audience member is Mr. Loud, and he is definitely more a man than a woman. You don’t need to search for him, because he’s usually going to pop out right in front of you. He’s usually calling out “funny” comments to be involved in whatever is happening. He’s always going to be the person to pick the card, grease the needle for Needle Through Balloon etc. What he really wants, is control. Mr. Loud is an insecure and controlling person. Everything has to be about him. How do you handle him?
So, the thing for you to do, is give him some of your attention – that’s right. Joke around with him, so when you go to another audience member, he felt like he got his attention. Depending on the type of Mr. Loud you get, he might still be obnoxious and loud. And if that happens, I’d just ask him to move to the back of the room, where none of the attention is at. It’s like preschool – if you’re not good, you get a timeout, and that’s just what he’s getting. If he still continues to be noisy and unruly, I guarantee you, most of the time, the rest of the audience will shut him up. And you don’t even have to do anything.
This next audience member is the worst one, in my opinion. He is the Know-it-all. Why does he annoy me? Because he thinks of magic as a series of puzzle pieces to be solved. I truly don’t want to be rude, but he is the “nerd” of the audience. What the know-it-all does, is explains or tells a theory of how to complete the trick in front of everyone. Yes, he is in most shows. You can’t do anything to stop his smartness or nerdiness, so all you can do to shut him up is, perform you most powerful effect, so he has nothing to say. Just let him realize that you put the show on, to perform, magic; not puzzles to be solved. Just hope that he doesn’t do anything to harm your show, again. But like most of the classic audience members, the other, good, audience members, will tell them to shut up.
A few years ago I was performing the card trick “Out of this World” to my family. Just to let you know before, my uncle is Mr. Loud AND Know-it-all, so try to handle that….at the end of the trick, he explained to everyone how it was done. I tried stopping him. I felt like crying, because I was so little and didn’t know what to do. But luckily, my cousins, aunts, and family told him to stop, “Don’t be an idiot,” they told him. He stopped.
So when a know-it-all explains a theory in front of audience, draw all your audience’s attention to whatever you’re doing in your hands (i.e. card trick, coin trick, mentalism bit etc.) and take like a few seconds to look up at the know-it-all, in a face where you’re telling him, “Don’t be such a party pooper. You’re a bigger person than that, aren’t you?”
Another character to work with is the Drunk Flirt. This person is the person who has been heavily drinking and too alcohol running through their body. Fortunately, I have never dealt with someone like this before. There is a difficult and dull connection between us that makes it tough to deal with these people. You can never tell them from their non-real or “real” emotions. For what I bring on the table, is real, I would want the same in return.
And last but not least, the Jerk. This is the second most challenging audience member to handle, in my opinion. It might sound like the Jerk and Mr. Loud have very much in common, but they really don’t. Mr. Loud wants to be in control, and the Jerk wants to screw things up for you and you look like a fool. But what they DO have in common, is that you can spot them really easily. There can be many things wrong with this person, for it could be a man or a woman. This first thing to do, is, as the Jerk makes his first rude and impolite comment, give him a big confident smile, saying “Don’t mess with me.”
Other ways to get the Jerk off your back, is to again, perform your most powerful effect or throw lots of one-liners at toward the jerk. Nothing too harsh but something that when he tries to make a run at me, I can shut him down, and that’s important.
Again, these are just a small handful of classic audience members: Shy, Mr. Loud, Know-it-all, Drunk Flirt, and Jerk. Look out for them, and now, I hope you might have an idea of what to do when you come across these situations.
Thanks for reading, and have a nice day!