Dealing with Hecklers - Have we been wrong?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by christian1, Dec 12, 2009.

  1. #1 christian1, Dec 12, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 13, 2009
    Hey guy's,

    I know there have been tons and tons and tons of threads about dealing with hecklers. And they have great advice! What I want to do is examine some of the ways we have come about dealing with hecklers and examine them to see if they are really leading us in the right direction.

    1. The first thing I want to bring up is, one of the first thing I hear about when dealing with hecklers is try to bait them to think a trick is going one way then at the very end slam them with a ending the weren't expecting and their for out smart them. Is this good? I am not so sure it is. Why? We may succeed in out smarting the tougher specator/ heckler but usually it stings them. The reason is they are probably heckling you is that they are afriad they will look silly if you are able to outsmart them so therefore when you do a trick that intentionally catches them of guard it simply confirms there fears.

    So what can we do in place to take the sting out but still stop the heckler from heckling. Well one way would be acting suprised with the spectator act like you didn't expect the trick to take the weird spin at the end there for you were fooled with them and not outsmarting them. Does that make sense?

    2. The second thing I hear when talking about hecklors is avoid them try to move away from them. I don't think this is necssarly a good idea I think when we are performing and we see a difficult spector we should pick them out right away call them up perform something amazing. Don't be afriad or cower away be sure of your self and chances are the heckler will be happily silenced and he will be able to sit back and enjoy the show himself. And therefore you will be happy too.

    3. Okay another thing that is improtant is if heckler does catch you doing a move don't react! Act as if it was supposed to happen then perform a trick you know you can do flawlessly usually a person who can recover from a mistake will gain the respect of the audience whether on stage or on the street.

    4. Remember a satisfied happy heckler is a happy satisfied audience which means a happy satisfying tip for you. :)

    I hope this was helpful I would really like to hear your thoughts on the things I mentioned do you agree? How do you handle hecklers? What is the worst experience you have ever had with a heckler? How will would you have handled the situation differently now?

    Thanks all for the help, and remember a heckler is just another specator waiting to be amazed,

  2. #2 Luis Vega, Dec 12, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 12, 2009
    Why do you says heckler and then hecklor? sounds like some kind of super-villain

    I guess we all have our ways to get through hecklers,since we perform for different audiences each time there will be all kinds of types of hecklers and you can´t use only one tactic to avoid being heckled, the only thing you can do is try to work around it and find the right way to deal with them

    and beware magicians of the world...for "HECKLORD" is watching in the shadows to heckle you at the most unaware moment
  3. I seriously think one of the best solutions is just doing a self-working trick. Really, the heckler can't catch you for something you didn't do.
  4. This is a really good subject and one that certainly deserves some careful consideration by everyone here. My applogies in advance if I am a bit tired and run down tonight to put more effort into my reply than what I've shown here. I hope that within the next day or so I might find my second wind (so to speak) and flesh these thoughts out a bit more.

    Now then, onto hecklers. I know that I've posted material on dealing with hecklers before in one or two of my essays, and to give a more condensed version of those thoughts here I'd have to say: "I really like Doc Eason's approach to dealing with the heckler." Although Doc's advice is more for dealing with a heckling drunk while at a bar, I think with some minor retooling and some careful consideration to human psychology we can come to a fairly workable model that could apply to anyone, anytime, anywhere.

    In short this hybrid would be something like this. The heckler does so because they feel they have: 1) Something to contribute to your act that you've obviously missed out on. 2) They want to be the star of the show 3) They want attention (but necessarly want to be in the show) or 4) They're a jerk, and are doing it for the sake of ruining your act. Who knows, maybe they hate magicians? In some cases, such as examples one and two, you can play off of the heckler or roll with it. It add's a bit of spontanious improv to the show, and who knows the heckler may actually give you a line you can use later. Just don't forget to write it down as soon as you get off set! In other cases you're pretty much in a no-win situation, such as examples three and four. This is where understanding psychology comes to your aid. If you can tell the heckler isn't going to be constructive, then ignore them. If you aknowledge them you give them permission to interupt you and power over your act. If you ignore them, they will eventually give up and go away.

    Worst case situation you abort the act. Stop performing and refuse to continue until the problem goes away. You'd be amazed at how fast an audience will round on the jerk! Remember: It's your show, so be in control over all aspects of it!

    I'd avoid using too many heckler lines or too abusive ones. It puts you at odds with the heckler and can make you look like an ass to your audience. While they are great weapons, I find that most younger magicians don't know how to use them well. If you do chose to use one, be careful with it!
  5. Another heckler thread.
    In the many that I have posted, it just goes down to "depends on everything." it depends who the heckler is, where it is, when it is, what you are performing, who else is there, if you are paid, etc...
    I personally confront hecklers and get flamed for it. But I dont really mind... It gets the job done and they get put in there place.
    Now for your points.
    1. Although it is an intrigueing concept, i dont think a heckler will fall for "WHAT? how did those two cards change places??? what... thats weird..." If I was the heckler, i would just think youre futher mocking me.
    2. Tru dat. HAH! But I don't agree with the 2nd half. If he was hecklign in the first place, I dont think performing another trick will make em happy.
    3. I disagree. Although this may work sometimes if a double splits or you miss a shot, but if its something like a color change or a switch, the heckler would just say something like "yea sure.. sure it was on purpose... hehe... sure..."
    4. True but how?
  6. Christian have you ever encountered a real heckler, the ones that are so annoying to be around you feel like hiring Mike Tyson to punch them in throat. If so you would understand why some of what you said really wouldn't work. You are a bit young if I remember so you'll have plenty of time.

    1. I nearly never bait them or any such thing, however if I feel that maybe somebody has some heckling in them then I do a self working effect first to see how it goes. Simple reason being, there's nothing to catch and if they react by spewing out random guesses then it's time for heckler domination.

    I actually hate this type of reaction, because it means you are unsure of yourself but they know you aren't. They understand you have full control of it and makes it seem a bit cheesy. This is just my opinion though.

    2. I will agree for some part, it depends on your working environment. If you are in a bar type area and you find out the guys are hecklers then just avoid them. However you want to perform for everybody and if some lovely ladies are sitting around the jerkoffs I probably won't perform for them, because if they heckle with just them around imagine if some ladies are brought into the situation.

    Also, I realize hecklers are male and female but I see more males as I'm sure many do.

    3. There was a post about this not to long ago, and the biggest thing was simply not to react to any mistakes. If you make a mistake simply redo it without any one liners involved. If you get caught on a double simply say "lets try that again" then do a single and put in a KM move in there, or if you need the second card do a mix up where it's still second card and second deal it.

    This is why I learn as many sleights as possible because so many situations can arise, it's best to be prepared for it.

    4. Hecklers are nearly never satisfied until they feel they won. Thing is you can either slightly humiliate them or simply turn the audience against them.

    I usually do the latter because it's easier and much more foolproof. If you do the first here's a quick example of something I did a few times. Performed usually for a group of five or more and if I got heckled I did a tenkai palm throw and faked out everybody and told the heckler the card was way over there, lost, right where he should be.

    They usually got the message and it got a quick laugh, and I'm sure many would recommend against. Don't try to make them seem like a complete idiot, because otherwise audiences might go against you instead of the heckler.

    Otherwise just stop, don't do anything and wait until the heckler leaves or is booed away.
  7. Personally I think that this is another thread along the same conversation over and over. We all know about hecklers, we all have our different methods to dealing with them, some people have other methods than others which work for them. So I think that any method can work compleately well as long as it is suited to the magician, "to each his own."

    I like this thread idea though, focussing on the method behind the madness, good stuff.
  8. There is an old saying. "Don't wrestle with a pig, because you just end up getting dirty and the pig likes it."

    The thing tho is that many people here haven't seen REAL hecklers. And I mean people who are just the world's biggest douche bags and out to ruin you. What you guys have seen is pretty much a tough cookie or the fact that your material wasn't rehearsed enough to look good. Not to mention not many people WANT to see magic all the time.

    Now sense you are dealing with a Tough Cookie, I would say to either ignore him/her or do what I've read Aldo Columbini did. "Yes, You are correct! You are simply Fantastic sir!" You're not insulting them and they will pretty much (hopefully) stop pointing crap out.

    But with people calling you on your BS. You should actually take a mental note of where they called you out. Then simply work on that part a little better than your other stuff.
  9. Ignore them. If they persist, finish the trick and move on. Whether you are getting paid or not, move on. You can not perform for someone who is trying to perform. I find this to be a biggest problem among hecklers is that you are stealing their role as the "funny person" of the group, and so they want you gone so that you they can get back into their role. Obviously this is not an all circumstance solution, but use it when you can. Dirt off your shoulder.
  10. If some one interrupts you- you can always do what I saw Simon Lovell do haha

    He walked over to the interrupter and said "Tonight a small, tiny gremlin will crawl through your window yeilding a knife and will wake you up and say to you "if you ever interrupt an off broadway show again I will be back to take care of you..." " Simon the proceeded to act as if he was twisting a knife in his hand it was quite funny!

    just another way to deal with them haha
  11. Go Christian Bale on them.
  12. Oh!!! Good for You!!!
  13. Hey Guy's,

    Wonderful! Thanks all for the great respones! Very insightful stuff.Okay so alot of you mentioned that the people I was talking about were not really hecklers and you are right. I guess when I made the post I had the idea of tougher type spectator in mind one of the those people who are interested but are afraid of looking foolish and how to deal with this type of specator.

    I was trying to lay out that some times we unnecsarily fear this type of spectator/heckler and that sometimes we tend to fear a them and therefore we make spectators who are not really true hecklers into something there not.
    What I was trying to say is there are more than one way to handle this type of specator.

    You guys are so right! there are some hecklers who are just plain magic haters. I know one guy who never stops heckling me. He always trys to figure me out. I could levitate this dude and he would say he knew how it was done lol.:D I have had specators grab my deck of cards and start searching it for duplicates ( thankfully I palmed the duplicate off just in time:) )

    I almost lost my streched coin when I handed it out to a group of grabbing spectators. I have had people shout out how a trick I was performing was done ruining it for the other spectators. One time I was performing a trick and the specator tried to grab the gimicked thing I was using I just held on, waited until he let go pocketed the gimick and pulled out a deck for cards... some situations are just a lose lose lol.

    I say all this to say that you guys are right. There are some really nasty hecklers out there but also there are some potential hecklers that may be stopped by the things I mentioned above ( maybe).

    Thanks all for the great advice and as you have said I still have ALOT to learn. And the stuff you guys menotioned was very helpful,


  14. Could you post a performance, because it sounds like either youngins who are just rude, or maybe it's you.
  15. Sounds like you're not dealing with hecklers, but immature high school kids. You best bet is to simply not perform at High School. You see those people everyday of the week and really it just makes them jealous. Not to mention that High School is pretty much one big popularity contest.
  16. Amog them.

    For those unclear what that is, I'll briefly go over some points.

    Social situations are all about power balances... people who are AMOG's are people who crave the attention for themselves... this is essentially what a true heckler is (someone saying that you have two cards is NOT a heckler... it just means your Double Lift was bad).

    Anywho, to deal with them, rule number one is to Ignore them.

    When I used to be into pickup, there are guys who try to blow you out of set by appearing "tougher" than you, and the best way to deal with them is to ignore them... every time they try to get your attention, it just reinforces the frame that you are the important one and they are trying to get your attention.

    If someone ABSOLUTELY must be acknowledged... say "cool man" and then go right back to what you were doing, don't even look at them, just say it.

    Now there are some situations where this does not work.

    I was at a bar one time, showing the shooter girl my handling of the "2 coins in the hand, one in the pocket" trick... and a guy came up and started coming up with fake explainations of what I'm doing, trying to make me look socially lower.

    So I started off by saying "cool man" but after a while he started actually physically touching me and trying to interrupt my set.

    So I immediately stopped the trick, patted the guy on the back and called him the coolest guy I've met all night, then griptested him (I have a strength based effect using the grip test I like to do with "tough guys"), and you know what, he bought me a beer.

    Anyways, as for the comment about high school kids.

    The reason they heckle you is because you are getting attention in a social situation, and they're not mature enough to just shut their mouth and watch.

    Try the "cool man" thing, it works wonders.
  17. I think the best way is jsut to refuse to perform an effect when their presence, I have had the exact same things happen to me over and over again, regardless of if they are "real hecklers" or not it is stull an extream neusence. I find that refusing to perform a trick works best. As imature as it sounds it just shows to everyone how immature they are, the audience really wants to see a trick so they convince the heckler to stop without debat on your part or comming across as rude.
  18. Recently when doing mentalism i have found a new type of heckler, one that lets the trick happen, the spectator be amazed, then tell them a few minutes afterwards while i'm still there. Without throwing away my reputation i actually got so annoyed i told this guy to "Eat **** and die" .. sorry for language but i had tried everything else, seriously after this he just walked off.

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