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South Africa/Taiwan
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Profile of FrankStone
I was wondering if anybody has some real good heckler lines for kids?
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Profile of PROFED
I don't think it is a good idea to use standard put-down lines for kid hecklers. You would most likely alienate the adults. About the farthest I would go would to be ask a distruptive kid to wait for my show to be over, before he continues with his.
Peter Marucci
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Profile of Peter Marucci
Heckler lines for kids simply do not work, nor should they. Kids don't really heckle; generally, they just get over-involved in the show.

As Profed says above, all a so-called "heckler-stopper" will do is alienate the adults.

If you are having a problem with kids, rethink your entire act and how you present it before going to heckler-stopping lines (which, as I said, are not going to work anyway!).
Andy Wonder
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Auckland, New Zealand
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Profile of Andy Wonder
Generally I agree with the two posts above, most disruptive behaviour from children is not really heckling just over-enthusiasm. The situation I seem to regularly get is a child repeatedly blurting out whatever they want to say and just repeating it over and over until they are blue in the face. I have found the best tactic is to look right in their eyes and very genuinely say “I know” or ‘we will talk about it later’.

Having said that I do sometimes get real hecklers, among children that try to disrupt my show. When you ask them to quit their disruptive behaviour they do it even more because they can see they are annoying you, which is what they want to achieve. It has only been a real problem for me twice in the last year and on both occasions requesting the children to stop or any form of acknowledgement only served to encourage the very behaviour I wanted to stop.

One time I ended my show early because I could not stop a group of boys about 7 years old that were intent on pulling my shoes off. The other time was with a 5-6 year old boy that yelled obscenities at me throughout the show. They were not real obscenities like you might hear from an adult but juvenile toileting words repeated over and over with much gusto. Any type of attention I gave him only served to encourage it even more. Short of actually stopping my show and asking a parent to remove their child so the show can continue, I don’t know how else to deal with these extreme cases.

One thing is for sure if you do get a real genuine child heckler any put down line will be dangerous. It might possibly work if you can make them feel embarrassed by their own behaviour. In most cases it would set them up to go for revenge in a tit-for-tat war.
Andy Wonder, Auckland, New Zealand
Adam V
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Profile of Adam V
The "Let's talk about it after the show" is a great line. I always use it and it rarely fails to shut the kids up. It only works on those kids who are just getting excited about things though. For the ones who are going out of their way to be annoying an appealing look at an adult will usually help.

I suggest you get Silly Billy's notes on kids parties. They go in to massive amounts of detail on how to deal with this problems. Do a search for them because there is a great review here in the kids forum.

Here's the link:

Click here
Adam V - 9 out of 10 dentists recommend him.
Mark Butcher
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Rochester, NY
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Profile of Mark Butcher
Here is something I have used to great success with an over enthusiatic child. I'll bring him up as an assistant, place him over to the side and have him hold a magic wand. I then continue the routine I was doing, pretty much ignoring him. At the very end of the routine I have him wave the wand to help and then have him return to his seat.
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Plymouth UK
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Profile of Emazdad
A mate of mine told one particularly troublesome kid like this.

He said he needed a really strong brave assistant for a very important job, the brat did the ME! ME! ME! bit and my mate invited up, "right" he said "I've got a job for you, are you brave? are you strong? well what you have to do is go outside the door and don't let anyone in, you are the chief guard of the magic castle" Off the lad went and stood outside. My mate was only going to leave him out there for about 5 minutes but he forgot about him as he got caught up in the fun of the show and left him out there for 30 minutes.

Not the approach I'd reccomend myself, but there have been a few I'd like to do it to.

Another approach is to say "If you know how it's done come up and do it, What's your name? Boys and girls give a big hand to Bob the magician" When he comes up give him a silk or something and say, "Go on Bob" Once he realises his bluff has been called you can then sit him down and I the chances are he won't speak again.

My favourite is the 5' pole with a nail in the end, just hit him with it and he'll stop.

Why is it always a boy?
Yours Funfully
Clive "Emazdad" Hemsley

"Magic is a secret, without the secret there is no magic"

Remember there are only 3 types of people in the world, those that can count and those that can't.
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Milford Haven. Pembrokeshire wales U.K.
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Profile of p.b.jones
You could use Terry Seabrooke's anti-gravity glasses method ... three drawing pins sticking through a book cover and (as Terry says) when you have finished the trick, you simply tell the boy to go and sit down, slapping him on the bottom with the book/pins!
Phillip Smile
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Essex, UK
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Profile of keeblem
Hi Phillip!
I saw a lecture with Terry Seabrook and he mentioned what he did with the book - but I thought he was joking!!!

By the way— I use Terry Seabrook's version of Anti-Gravity glasses in almost every show I do!
Adam V
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I would never ever get a kid like that on stage. It's only going to encourage him more. Even though he won't know what to do with the silk, he'll still muck around with it and show off in front of his friends.
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Milford Haven. Pembrokeshire wales U.K.
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Profile of p.b.jones
HI Keeblem,
I think Terry was joking, so was I. I am not really saying someone should do this.
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Profile of eddieloughran
I was doing an open air show at the back of a pub and was geting a lot of trouble from a group of young teenagers. Eventually I lost my temper and asked for an assistant, preferabaly one with an I.Q. in double figures. Even I didn't believe I said it! Then one of them booked me for his birthday party.
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Connecticut, USA
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Profile of zombieboy
What my mentor in magic does is call the heckler kid up on stage, and have him hold two glasses of water on his palms. This renders him immobile, and teaches him not to mess with the magician. I've never tried this, but just a suggestion.
Reg Rozee
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Vancouver, Canada
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Profile of Reg Rozee
If they were fairly young, I'd be tempted to say, "I am rubber, you are glue, that bounces off me and sticks to you!!" Smile They might appreciate it if you know the "rules" most kids use when they start calling names...
Reality is what doesn't go away when you stop believing in it. -Phillip K. Dick

Who are you going to believe, me or your own eyes? -Chico Marx
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"You're adopted."
Thought: Why does man kill? He kills for food. And not only food: frequently there must be a beverage.
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Profile of magicgeorge
On 2003-05-11 18:57, zombieboy wrote:
What my mentor in magic does is call the heckler kid up on stage, and have him hold two glasses of water on his palms. This renders him immobile,

...either that or you've just given the troublesome kid something wet to throw at people. Smile
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Eternal Order
Northern California
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Profile of TheAmbitiousCard
Here's an idea that I use...

The effect is "The Big Surprise" by Michael Close. This effect is awesome on its own but has several redeeming side-effects for kids shows, busking, etc...

1. I use it as blackmail at a kids show... if they all behave "during" the show then they all get to see what the big surprise is at the end of the show.

2. You can allow the kids to yell/scream whatever when you "get anywhere near" the big surprise "during" the show. This acts as an outlet for the litte brats Smile and gives them some time to be loud. It also helps ensure that nobody ever touches the big surprise.

3. I also let them know that for the magic to work, they all need to concentrate.

This all increases your ability to control the audience from beginning to end which I believe is very necessary.

There should be little time available for a heckler to heckle due to the flow of the show.

So... let's imagine a kids show where someone starts to heckle...

Here are two possible scenarios...

1. The heckling starts ... you politely let them know that "Shhh... concentrate", or "We'll talk about it later", what-have-you...

If they persist, inform them that they don't want to lose their chance to see "The Big Surprise". The other kids will help inform the heckler that it is in all their best interest not to heckle.

2. During a persistent heckling, or a re-heckle, or even the dreaded super-heckle, if you walk over and reach for the big surprise, you'll have a whole room full of kids screaming and yelling. That will drown out the heckler and re-focus the magic in a dramatic way, where it supposed to be... away from the heckler.

You could also add a notion in their little heads that when you pick up your magic wand, all noise must stop and everyone helps concentrate. It sort of turns things into a wee bit of a (simon says) game that is fun for all.

Lots of fun, laughing, yelling, etc. and more importantly, quiet when things need to be quiet.

Let me know what you think. I'm not a professional kids' magician but I will tell you that it works for me during the several kids shows I do a year.

Look forward to your comments.


p.s. And if all else fails, I've got one word...

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Profile of jasper
I was once doing a rope escape routine and as soon as I was tied up a bunch of lads dived into my case of props. I escaped very quickly and offered one of the offenders to try the rope escape and proceeded to tie him up! And left him tied up for the rest of my show. I couldn't believe I was actually doing it! It worked because I kept it good humoured but I would not recommend it and havn't performed my rope escape again! Smile
Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.
--Albert Einstein
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Profile of Jewls
Smile Smile Smile Smile Smile

Maybe it's just easier when you are a Mom?

No really a lot of good advice here, and well, some not so good advice too.

I think you know which is which! Smile
Cheshire Cat
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Wilmslow, UK
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Profile of Cheshire Cat
Or a dad Jewls! — and I seem to be following you around agreeing with you tonight (afternoon for you?).

Now what use are heckler lines for younger kids? Also remember some of them may have learning difficulties or suffer from hyperactivity problems. Experience, experience, experience...
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