.:Just Another Magic Monday: Suddenly, Hecklers:.
And not even the good kind!
So let me tell you about last Friday’s show in Capone’s, featuring yours truly, Arianne dela Cruz, JB dela Cruz, Penguin, and Mike Unson…
A friend of mine from MTG was there, along with some of his officemates (I presume). They were having a good time, and because I told them we were having a free show in the bar in a bit, they stayed on to catch it. Things were going mostly fine until near the end of Arianne’s set, when one of the people from that group asked her to play “Price Tag”, but nothing too big a deal.
Then, during JB’s set, one of the people from the group decided to become a full-on heckler, and started exposing JB’s magic and ruining the fun for everyone else. JB managed to maintain his composure all throughout, but it was clear that this heckler was ruining the mood of the night.
Things came to a head when it was Mike’s turn, as the heckler went and tried to turn Mike’s set into a two-man act, where she says something ridiculous, and Mike puts her in her place. Repeatedly. This went on until at some point, this heckler actually got flashed in the face with a strong flashlight, then proceeded to go up onstage to accost Mike, who managed to keep his composure despite the clearly agitating situation.
Suddenly, there were hecklers.
Me? I got off easy, because during my set, the heckler was outside, grabbing a smoke. I managed to get through my set thoroughly unmolested, and only when Mike flashed the light at the heckler’s face and she didn’t even so much as flinch did we realize that this heckler was probably more drunk than Aquaman swimming in an ocean made of Tequila.
Anyways, the moral of this story is that no matter how good you are, it only takes a little too much alcohol for a member of your audience to turn against you. The onus is therefore on you to figure out a way to put that heckler in their place while keeping the rest of the audience on your side. For the most part, Mike pulled that off, even winning an applause break when his putdown really just deflated the heckler enough for her to want to accost him onstage.
To Tim Tayag’s credit, he also had an excellent comeback for when a heckler asked him if he was gay. Here’s the video for proof.
Performers of all kinds, whether magicians or otherwise, need to be prepared for hecklers. Yeah, they ruin the fun, but there are always ways and means to mitigate the damage they can do to your show, and it’s up to you to figure out which one works for you and in which situations.
Effective responses to hecklers range from: ignoring them, putting them in their place, breaking their arm (Ask Richard Osterlind about that.), humiliating them, or straight-up stopping the show to drive home the point you mean business.
After everything has been said and done, always remember: you hold the microphone, not them. You have the power. You have the pipe bomb, as CM Punk would put it. If you remember that little fact, you’d find yourself at a point where nothing a heckler can do could possibly faze you.