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Burton-on-Trent England
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Profile of clunk_71
Even though it’s seldom a problem, I wonder if anyone has any thoughts or ideas on that minority of people who try to ruin everything you try to achieve.

Last night I did an absolutely brilliant gig at a sought after venue and all night my performance was marred by women who were worse for the wear of alcohol. Smile

Despite all my efforts to prevent it, they just made a complete nuisance of themselves by trying to destroy everything I did by attempting to grab at my props/gaffs/gimmicks etc. Smile

99% of the people were great but this small minority of guests just try to make themselves big and clever in the presence of their peers.

So, I am asking if you can help me with advice..... not to stop it (because this will never happen) but to reduce it.

Many thanks
Best regards, Lee

Only do what your good at....and then everything you do looks good
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A good lecturer at your service!
4394 Posts

Profile of Paul
Hi Lee, I would think your situation is more likely in the UK at these Xmas company functions where most are p***ed from the free bar before they even sit down to dinner.

First, don’t lay anything on the table (you probably don’t anyway) secondly don’t use gimmicky stuff in this performing scenario, use stuff which if grabbed will mean absolutely nothing.

And most importantly, laugh at their behaviour!!!! I assume you are young, they are out to have a good time and are trying to wind you up. Don’t let them wind you up. It IS NOT that important, keep smiling, laugh at it.

When someone asked to shuffle a deck, insisted on counting every card in the deck to make sure it was a full one, I simply walked around to the other side of the table,
took out another deck and said, "I’ll show the rest of you some magic whilst she’s/he's occupied!" - but said it with a smile.

I use lines like, "I do a five minute spot and a twenty minute spot, it’s the same spot, just depends how many people want to count the cards."

If you feel you will not be able to win them over, have something like a Jumbo 52 on one card in your pocket. Have someone think of a card etc. use that card, get a laugh and move quickly on to the next table. Generally after the first trick you win then over. Unless they have seen a close upper before who was c**p, then it takes a little more work. Look polished, look in control, rather than letting them see the fear in your eyes Smile

Never ever, use snappy put down lines. The idea is WE are ALL having fun together.

Paul Hallas
Peter Marucci
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Inner circle
5389 Posts

Profile of Peter Marucci
Excellent advice from Paul.

Sometimes you just have to grin and bear it and try to work around or through the offending party or parties.

After all, if this were easy, everyone would be doing it! Smile


Peter Marucci
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Burton-on-Trent England
99 Posts

Profile of clunk_71
great advice Paul... thanx

I`m only young to some though, and on reflection a lot of the offenders (not that there were that many) did appear to be younger.

and you got it, bang on... xmass company function and free bar taboo.

I wouldn`t say I’ve had a lot of problems from people making a grab at anything gimmicky cuz even their attention was more focused on items that I voluntered out to them and not to what I had in my hands.
I also found that by putting them in the spotlight eased the situation a little too, because if they`re occupied and not watching they generally keep their mouth shut.

but as for put-downs.... never.

I find it generally works if you make them the butt of a light hearted joke rather than an insult. If people laugh at them, they are the center of attention not the cause of it.

but anyway, thanx again for your info Paul.
Best regards, Lee

Only do what your good at....and then everything you do looks good
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san francisco
152 Posts

Profile of btaxin
It’s all very useful advice. I get "on alert" when I hear about "free booze, no spouses". Somehow that seems to bring out the worst in some people, especially during the holidays. One thing to remember is that the grabber/heckler is usually more interested in being the center of attention than screwing you up.

Sometimes you can use that and arrange it so that both of you come out smelling like a rose. You can casually show your non-gimmicked props, or you can put the gimmicked ones in your pocket and quickly switch them for clean ones if they want to see them. You can make their skepticism a running, good-natured joke, and show that there hasn’t been any monkey business until the (hopefully) startling revelation.

If they’re really awful, just finish up and leave. Though these people show up very infrequently, it’s in everyone’s best interest that we have a strategy for dealing with them. Good luck!
Andy Charlton
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Palma Nova Mallorca Spain
311 Posts

Profile of Andy Charlton
If you get someone who really is intent on spoiling it all. Leave. But hit the next Table with everything you've got. All the A-List stuff. really build up the response and laughter. That way the other people on the spoilsport's table will be looking at Him/her, and thinking, "We could have been having that much fun if only that Idiot had kept his mouth shut."

I've had people come up to me saying." We're sorry about that A**hole, will you come back, we've told him to shut up or get out."

That's a lovely feeling.

"Keep that smile on your face, that excitement in your eyes." - Don Driver

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643 Posts

Profile of DoctorAmazo

I’ve had people come up to me saying." We’re sorry about that A**hole, will you come back, we’ve told him to shut up or get out."

That's MUCH better than having the manager say that to THEM about YOU! Smile
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319 Posts

Profile of Davro
Hello Lee,

Yes I'm afraid we have all been there!

I had a guy who when asked to shuffle the cards, dumped them in his beer! Yes, the whole deck.

I always carry spare decks. No problem, but you need to remember you're there to entertain! Keep smiling Smile Even if it is a bit forced sometimes

Regards, David
Best Wishes, David
<BR>Mid way this way of life we're bound upon, I woke to find myself in a dark wood, where the right road was wholly lost and gone.
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Veteran user
338 Posts

Profile of vovin
I do bar magic often, and always find it hard when some drunk guy want's to mess with you to get a laugh out of his buddies.

I usually put them in their place from the start, and I have never had a problem after that.
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Inner circle
A good lecturer at your service!
4394 Posts

Profile of Paul
Re: Vovin’s comments, a bar situation is a different scenario to a company banquet, or dinner function where people may have paid big money for tickets.

It’s a scenario where you can be less than verbally gentle.
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Inner circle
1875 Posts

Profile of VernonOnCoins
One time I did the bill switch, and this gorilla of a man grabbed the $100 out of my hand and gave it to his son. The gimmick went flying and later this jerk held it up for all to see and hands it back to me.
I eventually got the $100 back, but had to take 5 to cool off.

Some people were not raised with manners, it’s that simple. I learned to smile and just walk away.
Geoff Williams
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St. Pete Beach, FL
615 Posts

Profile of Geoff Williams
If my spectator snatches the cards off the table, it's my fault. I need to be cognizant of their "condition" and put things on the table if
1) they can be controlled or
2) it doesn't matter if they get picked up.

I need to be able to "read" people and act accordingly. Pick routines that happen in my hands only.

If they are intent on destroying the atmosphere of the performance (by snatching the cards and destroying them or refusing to return them), then smile, thank everyone for attending, wish them a good evening and safe ride home and politely move on to another table. The more professional you look, the worse the offender will be made to feel by their pals.
"Saját légpárnás tele van angolnák."

(Hungarian for "My hovercraft is full of eels")
Steve Screen
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Steve Screen
4 Posts

Profile of Steve Screen
Hi Lee,
We could run a discussion on this topic in Derby Magic Circle's Newsletter, (Lee and I are both members), but as this is an open forum, the advice I give is:

Never work to drunks!!!

In situations like this, the magic is usually wasted anyway. Find other more appreciative people to work to, after all there are probably several hundred people at this type of event....... they can't all be pains in the a**!

As a last resort, I would personally go to balloon models....... These are a great stand by in venues that have music so loud that you can't even hear yourself think yet alone do any 'patter'.

By making quality balloon models, like teddy bears etc. it can break the ice, get the groups interested and open the door to doing more magic.
Magical Dimensions
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Inner circle
5002 Posts

Profile of Magical Dimensions
The people who try to ruin everything you try to achieve should be taught a lesson.
What I do is head butt them real hard! Then I knee them in the *****.

OH! I am sorry, I was just thinking out loud of what runs though my mind when this kind of thing happens.

I stop performing and just start talking to the people around me. Getting to know them and winning them over. People love to talk about themselves. Just ask them!

All the while waiting for the jerk to leave. If I am not working in front of my close up table I will just move onto another group.
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837 Posts

Profile of brainman
I totally agree with Geoff!!!
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