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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The April 2004 entrée: Wesley James » » Know it alls and skeptics » » TOPIC IS LOCKED (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Roger Boucher
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Now I am relatively new to performing. I have been doing it for about 1 year but have been doing magic for 4 years. And I was wondering your technique in getting rid of or disarming those people who "Oh I know that one" then lean over to thier friend and ruin the effect for that person, and just the overall atmosphere of the whole performance, and it isn't to say that I perform only the most popular tricks.

This happened when I was sitting with some friends at a pub and they saw some people they knew and wanted me to show them some magic so I obliged and entertained them but there was this one guy who acted as though I sucked when everyone else was enjoying the performance. His reasoning was that when you hang around with some guy that does magic (his friend) you know all of this stuff.

Now I am sure that everyone one time or another has encountered this kind of person and I was wondering if and how you deal with it.

Thanks for you input
Pete Biro
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1933 - 2018
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When someone says, "I know.... " hand them the props and say, "Let's see your handling."
STAY TOONED... @ www.pete-biro.com
Wesley James
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Hazlet, New Jersey
372 Posts

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Pete is certainly correct in the spirit of his answer. Those who do know would be unlikely to disrupt your performance. It is only the smart-ass, who knows just a bit, that would be likely to behave rudely. Nevertheless, one does run into such individuals from time to time, as well as drunks and miscellaneous other types of buffoons. In the real world of performing you often can't be too rough on these folks, since one of them might be your clients best client. Being prepared for the possibility and a broad mastery of the craft of magic goes a long way toward allowing you to deal with some such nuisances, in some situations, but every situation has to be evaluated as it develops. Perhaps the best defense is projecting a sense of professionalism and developing your audience management skills. No single answer would apply to every situation. Perhaps most importantly, maintain control of the situation, your own temper and keep on going. Don't let one smart-ass stop the fun for the rest of the audience.

One could write books, and have, on how to deal with such situations but experience will teach you much the same as the books. The books just make it available in one place, you'll still need to judge the situation and determine what is called for in the particular circumstances you face.

Wesley James
Daniel Faith
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Neenah, Wisconsin
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That type of person is usually and ego maniac and/or a control freak. They don't like the fact that you have all the attention and will try to secure some of that attention.
I found the best policy is to ignore it completely and continue like they don't exist. The audience will often shut them up on their own.
Never become the bad guy and get aggressive or rude.
Ignore it.
Daniel Faith
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Plainfield, ILLINOIS
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Profile of RandyWakeman
... I obliged and entertained them but there was this one guy who acted as though I sucked when everyone else was enjoying the performance. His reasoning was that when you hang around with some guy that does magic (his friend) you know all of this stuff.

I've merely learned to ignore Richard Kaufman. Smile
Steve Brooks
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Ahem, now back to the topic, I must agree with Wesley on this type of thing. People are people and every situation is indeed different. How I handle idiots in a crowd may or may not work for you. After all, my personality and how I come across most likely differs from you Roger, and therefore my approach may not be very successful for you in handling an obnoxious individual.

That said, I believe that pure EXPERIENCE will be your best teacher. If you perform for the general public on a regular basis, you will encounter these type of personalities more often then you might think, especially in a bar or pub where alcohol may be involved. Hope this helps. Smile
"Always be you because nobody else can" - Steve Brooks
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Profile of bishthemagish
When it is a magician playing the part of a know it all when your performing in a restaraunt or a show. They should really know better...

If it is just a person - most often - then all they want is attention. People do things in night clubs from the audience while a stage show is on and they are called hecklers. We get hecklers when performing close up to.

My oppinion - is to not put the heckler down, not to ignore them - or be in-polite. Continue performing. If they continue to be a heckler after a while your audience that wants to see the magic will join with you.

And most often THEY will put the heckler in his or her place.

But I do not recomend putting the heckler down if the audience isn't on your side - first!

Magic brings out the little kid in all of us... And little kids need attention.

And that is my slant. I hope it helps.

Glenn Bishop
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Tom Cutts
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Northern CA
5856 Posts

Profile of Tom Cutts
I never try to put anyone down during my performance. That would be an interruption in my intention. Most know-it-alls will easily walk into their own trap. On one occasion I had the "I saw that!" guy who was always wrong and the others knew it. I decided to make him the focus in an attempt to win him over. No other intention than to let him be the hero at the end of the routine... but he couldn't play that as asked either.

The routine ends with the participant spelling to their own face up, previously missing card. Well, this guy couldn't wait. Two cards before finishing he just had to look up and say, "Yeah, and I guess my card will be the next one I turn over, right?" Before he finished his sentence he had arrived at the face up selection. Upon seeing it and the contrast of this know-it-all totally oblivious to what was staring at him from the deck, the others broke out in laughter, releasing the tension this guy had been building by acting in the way they later told me he always acts.

If that weren't enough, he looked to his friends, who were laughing, in confusion saying, "What? What?"
Finally he looked down and became silent and a little embarassed. I acknowledged this and gave him a lift back up, and he was the polite spectator from then on. He may not have been happy, but at least he was polite.

Best of all it was totally unitentional on my part. It was all his doing and everyone at the table, including him, got that.


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