I first was introduced to “warming up the crowd” when I was hired to be the opening act at fairs for some big name Nashville stars like Reba McEntire, Garth Brooks, The Oak Ridge Boys, not to mention a few rock ‘n’roll legends like Chubby Checker, Jan and Dean, and Herman’s Hermits. The agent told me it was my job to get the audience working as an audience, to get them laughing. I had to go out to a “cold house” (audience not warmed up) and get them ready for the big act. The big act didn’t want to have to warm up their own crowd, they wanted the audience ready to be entertained. So that was my job for almost 8 years in the summer, being the opening act for these stars.
Doing a little research I also found that most of the television shows had people, mostly comedians, who would come out before the show started and get them laughing and worked up before the actual show started. Looking further I found that in the children’s market a magician named David Ginn also did warm ups for his own shows. It made sense. Why waste good material on an audience that wasn’t ready to receive it !
I then decided to do my own warm ups. I found it usually had to do with getting the audience laughing and clapping, which often they forget to do as they view video games and television and don’t really have to respond. As I did these warm ups I found the enthusiasm for my shows by the audience was much, much greater. I could be my own warm up act, and so can YOU! In the next installment I will give you a few ideas on how to warm up your own audiences.