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Topic: Does it ever help to tell an audience, "Tough Crowd..."???
Message: Posted by: Brenton Keith (Aug 4, 2004 06:22AM)
I have been trying to break this habit for awhile now, where I find myself saying, "tough crowd". I keep saying it because sometimes it gets a good reaction when there is no reaction, which of course is what I'm looking for-some reaction. But I am wondering what others think, because my gut tells me it's never good to ever tell an audience that they are tough, and that it only digs me further into a hole. But again- sometimes it gets a good reaction, which is why I keep finding myself using it...

What do you think?

Also, I'm not only talking about comedy, but magic too...
Message: Posted by: Ron Reid (Aug 4, 2004 07:32AM)

I think it's a good line; I say if the audience is responding to it, keep it in.

Message: Posted by: duckster (Aug 4, 2004 12:34PM)
Sometimes the crowd needs a swift kick in the pants without attacking them. Especially in this day and age, Audiences forget that they have a repsonsibility at a live show, they are not in thier living room, watching TV, breathing thru their mouth.

One line that I have been using that has been getting a great reaction is.

(do the joke and get not much of a reaction)
"NUTHIN. I got Nuthin for that one"
let me try it again, this time with feeling"

(I do it again and more passionately and the crowd will either repeat their first reaction or go thru the roof, but I hope they don't do much because its funnier if I can say...)

"AND I STILL GOT NOTHING - I'm moving on..."
Message: Posted by: muzicman (Aug 4, 2004 11:43PM)
I watched Copperfield on DVD the other night and he was doing "Graffiti". After he revealed the first match on the paper, the crowd did not react. With a big smile, he slightly crumbled the paper and turned to the audience and said....

"Does this not impress you people"?

The crowd applauded!

I think what we can learn from this is to create an applause without resrting to the term "Tough Crowd". Sometimes a pose will queue an applause. Sometimes a revaltion will cause applause....
get creative and give them a reason to make some hand noise. Sometimes an audience won't applaud because they don't want to interupt your show. Getting an audience warmed up is the only way to break this barrier. You can do your own warmup, but to be the FEATURE act you need a separate warmup/MC. A warmup would be something that primes them for the real magic. It breaks the ice and makes a crowd not so tough.
Message: Posted by: ed rhodes (Aug 5, 2004 07:58AM)
I suppose it matters if you look like you're poking fun at the response or if you're really looking desperate. I remember the guy in "Magic" looking out into the dead audience saying; "Don't you people know how hard that was?"
Message: Posted by: damien666 (Aug 10, 2004 03:06PM)
As performers, we are (hopefully) giving our all to entertain our audiences. But Remember as well, the audience can always give more too. There's nothing wrong with demanding more from your audience - letting them know that you need and enjoy their feedback. I remember going to see George Carlin a few years back and when ever he got a really strong applause break, he would almost break character and say "I appreciate that!". Not on just his regular laugh breaks, but when the audience broke into applause - he let us know that it made him happy. I have listened to many of his recorded performances, and have noticed the exact same thing. If the audience applauds, he tells them he appreciates it - and because he tells the audience that Applause is what he wants and expects, it encourages the audience to do it more.
A live performance is an interactive experience, So if there is no response, by all means - bring attention to it and 'train' the audience to respond the way you want them to. Of course you want to do it in a way that endures them to you - you don't want an audience that is being forced to clap for a guy that they hate...
Message: Posted by: NJJ (Aug 11, 2004 11:08PM)
BE careful, if they don't respond to the LINE then you have just doubled your discomfort.

Often, calling it as it is, defuses the awkardness of a failed joke, poor routine or cricket chirping silence. Here's a few lines....

"Thank you for that warm round of indifference"

"And that is what Zen philosphers call "The Sound of No Hands Clapping"

"So that's how it sounds when mime's clap"

If one or two people clap:

"Thanks for the applause but, please, stay with the rest of the group."

"Thanks! I like you! If you come to all my gigs you could run around and make it sound like a standing ovation"

"Take your hands out of your pockets...i'll provide the entertainment."
Message: Posted by: Doug Higley (Aug 12, 2004 12:05AM)
Please consider this...have a CD or tape ready to fire WITH CRICKET SOUND FX...it worked for Daffy Duck and Bugs for years...it'll work for you.
Of course if you're a really funny person you'll have to throw in a few duds just to use the gag.

Also remember, Rodney Dangerfield made a living off that line..."boy...you guys are a tough crowd..."
Message: Posted by: harris (Aug 18, 2004 06:13PM)
This seems to be an overused bit, that did and does work for Rodney.

I have seen some magicians use it in the same place in there act no matter what the reaction was???

I go back to journaling and using books such as

A whack in the side of the head

The Artis Way

to stimulate ideas.

Be safe and creative.

Message: Posted by: cpatchett (Aug 18, 2004 07:11PM)
It worked for Rodney because of the nature of his act...it could just as easily kill an act depending on when and how it's delivered.

I love the cricket idea!

Message: Posted by: Peter Marucci (Aug 20, 2004 08:06AM)
I wouldn't use that line for the very reason that Nicholas Johnson brought up: If they don't respond, you and they are even worse off!

Two lines I use with effectiveness; they accomplish the same thing without putting the onus on the audience:

"Yes, when I first saw that I was too amazed to applaud, too."

And, when the applause is scattered and not all at once:
"Please try to applaud together. If you applaud separately, we'll be here all night."

Peter Marucci
Message: Posted by: cpatchett (Aug 20, 2004 04:05PM)
Here's another good alternative:

"Ah, I see you're all too stunned to respond."

And, if you can pull it off with the right zany delivery, you can probably get a good laugh out of this one:

"Come one, everybody...if you're happy and you know it clap your hands!"

Message: Posted by: jlibby (Aug 20, 2004 10:07PM)
I occasionally use the line "Tough room!" I'm not sure why. It just seems a little more generic.

And then I don't wait for more discomfort... I move on to the next bit!

See ya!
Joe L.
Message: Posted by: Sid Mayer (Aug 20, 2004 11:05PM)
How about, "I don't require applause. An occasional nod of comprehension will suffice?"

Of course, not if you're trying to make friends.

Message: Posted by: amadrigal (Aug 30, 2004 04:29AM)
I tap my imaginary shirt mic and ask "Is this thing on test 1 2 test test"?
that has hit everytime for me or I have used
"Alrighty.... I knew I shouldn't have quit that mime gig"!
Message: Posted by: Flec (Aug 30, 2004 10:57AM)
In awkward silences, here are some of the lines I find funny.

"This is free to you people, so I don't expect you to be impressed yet"

"You get what you pay for at this place"

"im not as good as the guys on tv...thats why I'm here at ****** and they are earning their millions on tv!"

"you're looking like you see this every day of your life?!"

"well it worked when the other table tipped me....but you didn't so I guess we'll work on that"

or sometimes...just sometimes I might be really cheeky and say "you're on a night out, lossen up and enjoy yourself people....i can only do so much!" (with a cheeky smile of course...i don't snap at them)
Message: Posted by: cpatchett (Aug 31, 2004 02:47PM)
"Tough crowd" WOULD work well in a biker bar.

Message: Posted by: Niko (Aug 31, 2004 05:18PM)
If you say a joke and no one responds to it, my line is 'uh, wasted on you lot!' (in a joking way, obviously).

Message: Posted by: cpatchett (Sep 1, 2004 01:52AM)
[quote]On 2004-08-31 18:18, Niko wrote:
If you say a joke and no one responds to it, my line is 'uh, wasted on you lot!' (in a joking way, obviously).[/quote]That one can backfire. How about, "That joke has a built-in time delay, so when you find yourself laughing later for no apparent reason you'll know why."

Message: Posted by: magicgeorge (Sep 1, 2004 09:14AM)
On 2004-08-12 01:05, Xmosis wrote:
Please consider this...have a CD or tape ready to fire WITH CRICKET SOUND FX...it worked for Daffy Duck and Bugs for years...it'll work for you.
UK comedians Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer would do a bit like this on their show, Shooting Stars. Vic would always tell a duff joke all the guests would remain stony-faced, cricket/wind sounds where played and a ball of tumble-weed would roll slowly across the studio floor.
Message: Posted by: Mike Giusti (Sep 8, 2004 12:32AM)
I tell the audience that they're gonna have to pipe down.

Works every single time.
Message: Posted by: BIlly James (Sep 8, 2004 12:55AM)
I had a gig at Sydneys comedy store, the guys before me were funny and the emcee was particularly funny (He looked a bit like Billy Connely and at one stage he came out in a pink fluffy neglige) but the crowd was ABSOLUTELY SILENT!!!
I have NEVER seen such a tough crowd, ever.
Anyway, I went on and did a couple of things to no response and then I asked the audience "So do you guys have much experience as a crowd?"
It didn't get the audience laughing, but all the comics in the back of the room cracked up! I'm sure that helped because my next bit not only got a HUGE laugh from the audience but they also broke into spontaneous applause.
The upshot being - if you're in the right room it can help to turn things around (or not).
Message: Posted by: Reg Rozee (Sep 8, 2004 03:58AM)
I've always thought making a decent joke out of the silence was the better bet. The timing is important here, I find you need that "pause and look" approach. Here's some of mine:

Pause, look down, and—"Hmm, this can't be a dream, because I'm not in my Spiderman underoos... (Or pink boxershorts, sister's leotards, lederhosen, naked, pick your favourite.)

Pause, look around at the walls, and—"You know, I think I can actually hear the paint drying!"

Pat or rub your ear or ears, and then—"The doctor warned me—if I did this trick again, I could go deaf!" This one works with faint applause as well.

"They told me that trick would just kill an audience, but I didn't [i]really[/i] mean to do it!"

Shock, then peer out at the audience sheltering your eyes with your hand (good if you have bright stage lights)—"That one backfired—I think I made the audience disappear!"

If you know a phrase or two in another language, then—"Wait a minute... this isn't the Japanese show, is it? Wakarimaska?"

For a solo clapper: "Thanks mom!", or "Ladies and Gentlemen—my mother!" This is much funnier if the solo clapper does a loud obnoxious hoot or whistle.
Message: Posted by: paulajayne (Sep 15, 2004 08:09AM)

Remember that we are dealing with todays generation and the TV is their main source of entertainment.

They do not applaud to the artist on TV and so in a theatre have to be educated as to how to react.

We therefore at times need to educate then that a reaction is required - even if it is just to get up and leave. LOL

We can do this by interacting with them and eliciting a response from them to questions or actions.

They then will realise that they are not watching TV.

Message: Posted by: cpatchett (Sep 15, 2004 11:04AM)
Paula, I can't remember whose line it is but someone uses something along the line of, "This isn't television folks...interaction is encouraged."