Have you ever gone to a show and been underwhelmed?
I know I have.
I was performing at a county fair a few years ago. All my shows were well attended. Laughs were coming fast and people were “with” me.
People were returning again and again. They would bring friends, neighbors and family with them. The crowds grew.
It was an incredible feeling that went on most of the week.
Then came the show where I walked on stage and had two people sitting mid-way up the bleachers.
Ughhhhh. What a let down. What a disappointment.
But they were there to see a show. And they deserved the best show I could give them. So I changed my attitude and went forward.
Small groups of people don’t behave like large groups. The laughs aren’t loud or long. You’ve got to stay focused on the people so you don’t lose any of them. (Especially when you only have two.)
So did I launch into my show? No.
I started talking to them.
First I apologized for being on a stage with a sound system. Ordinarily I would have walked out and started talking to them one on one. Instead, I was scheduled to perform and if anyone from the fair board walked by, I needed to be up there.
Then I started asking about them. What were their names? Were they from the area? What brought them to the fair?
I found out they came out to see my show. Wow – no pressure.
I asked if they were fans of comedy and ventriloquism. They were huge Jeff Dunham fans. Since I know Jeff we talked about him for a few minutes. I shared the fact I was shown in the audience of his Spark Of Insanity DVD.
They had that and were going to go home, watch it and look for me.
Then, and only then I moved the conversation to my act and how I got started. I did a casual opening bit from my show.
By this time, more people showed up. When I was done that bit, I had more. The show of two people only blossomed into a show for about 30 – but it ended up being very casual and very fun.
At the end of June I had a library show. My audience consisted of an autistic boy and his father, and a special needs teen and her mom.
Again, not my usual audience. A major let down from my shows that had filled the room in other libraries.
But I started talking to them and “sharing” some things. They ended up being a great audience. Plus we pulled in another ten people. So the show, while not spectacular, was fun and the audience enjoyed themselves.
You’ve probably heard the saying: Entertain the folks in front of you.
In these cases, that was very true.
Sure it may not be the show you want to do. It may not be the masses you were hoping for. But those people are there to see a show. Your ego can’t get in the way of that.
Show business has ups and downs. The only way to stay up, is to make sure you entertain people. Even if it is only one kid who arrived for your adult show. (Or adult who arrived for your kid show.)
Anyone who attends, deserves your very best. So relate to the audience on their level and make sure they leave with a smile!