Welcome back (to those of you who read the first posting). For those of you who may be stumbling upon this blog for the first time, welcome aboard.
Hello again! (OK, I realize I posted this a day late, my apologies, but I did type it yesterday). I have received a few emails with questions about hecklers and many questions about what an "uncle Charlie" is. Well, as almost any magician or comedian can tell you, a heckler is basically just a huge annoyance and one, that most of the time, you cannot solve the issue with in the "questionable" way that you may see fit.
Hecklers are people who "heckle", annoy or try to ruin a show for you while you're up on stage. Sometimes hecklers are people who are just attention hungry and want the performer and the audience to pay attention to them because they "know" they're funnier or better at magic than the person performing. Worse though are the hecklers who become that way due to drinking far too much alcohol or beer and suddenly they become "that guy" who nobody wants around. Being a performer, you have to learn to deal with these people in many different ways.
Sometimes ignoring them works, sometimes once you acknowledge their presence they quiet down and other times action must be taken. If you're lucky and performing in a club, bar or theater that has security or bouncers,sometimes they may take notice and remove the individual from the show which is a huge help. If you aren't a horrible performer and the audience is "on your side" and also annoyed by this person hopefully they will let "that guy" know and he will depart on his own realizing he's not as great as he thinks he is. So that's a basic run down of a heckler.
So who is this, "Uncle Charlie" you ask? Uncle Charlie is the relative or friend of the family that knows 1 or 2 basic magic tricks and performs the same one everytime he is over the house or at a family get-together. Even though he has shown you approximately 5000 times how he can take his thumb off his hand and put it back on, he will still do this ever single time he sees you. It seems that almost every private show I perform for adults, as soon as I take out a deck of cards there is one person there who wants to show me that one card trick he does.
Now, I don't mind at all and rather enjoy the quick break of performing to watch someone else. But..."Uncle Charlie" needs to realize that it is me, not him, that's getting paid to perform and after his 2 minute "trick" I need to get back to walking around and performing for the other guests.
I had a show last year (names and the town purposely omitted) where the brother of the man who hired me followed me around for over an hour of my 2 hours of walk around magic. Now I love if someone really enjoys watching or taking part in the magic and wants to see more of it, but unfortunately this was not the case. Each time I performed for a person or group of people at the party, he'd get their attention and then ask me for my deck of cards so he could also "show them something".
He insisted on performing the same 2 tricks for me each time also and then ask me if I knew how he did it. The first time was fine, but around the 4 or 5th time, I finally had to approach the person who hired me and explain that it was very hard to perform with this guy following me around. (I forgot to mention that this particular "Uncle Charlie" was also drinking a beer and after spilling it on himself a few times, he then would ask me to hold it for him so he could use my deck of cards).
1. Holding his beer while he performed was slightly degrading seeing as though I was the hired entertainment.
2. The cards became incredible sticky and started to warp because he had beer all over his hands, shirt and forearms.
The person who hired me, handled the situation very well. I was afraid he was going to pull his brother aside and either yell at him or tell him to leave me alone which might upset him and cause him to turn into a "heckler" (see how this posting all relates). Instead, he went over to his brother and asked him to accompany him on a beer run, to which the man seemed very happy to do. By the time they returned I had less than 10 minutes left of my 2 hours that I was there for and I was also given a generous tip on top of my pay. I was told the extra money was for me to buy a new vest and a new deck of cards seeing as though I had beer on both.
So the moral of this story is if you enjoy a show, hoot and holler (or a simple clap works also) after the performance and let the magician or comedian know you enjoyed the show. If you don't enjoy it, either just leave or occupy your time doing something else other than watching the performance. But please, whatever you do, don't be "that guy".