Monday, May 5, 2008

Please Keep Your Table Conversation To A Minimum

I am always amazed by people who go to a comedy club or a movie or a play or a concert and talk throughout the entire proceedings. I've been annoyed by these boorish humanoids as both a performer and an audience member.

They just sit there, seemingly oblivious to the entertainment that's happening right in front of them and drone on and on about their kids, or their significant others or their recent trip to Aruba. They talk about groceries, soccer games and automobile repairs. They gossip about their neighbors, analyze sport's teams and plan their next get-together. The laughter of the crowd doesn't stop them. Shooshing by other audience members doesn't stop them. Being asked politely by management doesn't stop them. They just continue to talk as if they are in their own living rooms and not in a public place filled with attentive people.

My husband usually sums it up nicely by saying, "May I help you shut the f**k up?"

What's even more mystifying is how indignant they become when they are finally asked to leave. Most times they want their money back. Most times they claim they talked because the "show sucked." Most times they are adamant that somehow they are the ones who have been victimized even though they just ruined the night for everybody else.

If you're going to spend nine bucks for a movie, 15 bucks for a comedy club, 30 bucks for a play or, in some cases, 100 bucks for concert tickets, you think you would at least pay attention long enough to see if you've spent your entertainment dollar wisely. These people just want to talk. It makes you wonder: Why they don't go to a restaurant? People don't mind if you talk at a restaurant.

As a performer, I always feel bad for the audience members who have spent their hard-earned money hoping to have a good time only to have their experience greatly diminished by uncouth strangers who can't focus on anything more than six inches from their rude little faces.

As a paying customer, I always feel bad for the performer who is, no doubt, frustrated by the constant chatter and unable to give the best performance possible.

My only hope is that someday their kid's recital will be ruined by some loudmouth on a cell phone and they'll finally understand how the rest of us feel.


Suzy said...

I used to not mind hecklers. I would wait until they were SO disruptive then I'd ask them if they knew some jokes that were funnier than mine. And they always say yes so I'd ask them to join me on stage. I would hand them the mic and step back, so they couldn't see me anymore. These losers would break into a cold sweat and then tell a lame joke and every SINGLE time the audience booed them.

I miss hecklers.

Traci Skene said...

I don't mind hecklers. I can handle hecklers. But I can't handle people who just sit there and talk to each other. We were at the Pittsburgh Funny Bone this past weekend and three of our shows were negatively affected by this behavior. People were apologizing afterwards and we've even gotten emails from audience members who were as frustrated as we were.

Traci Skene said...

Al, I couldn't agree more. And we also had trouble with five drunk women who sat right up front. They actually said, "We're moms and we never get out of the house." That was their excuse. I can only hope rudeness skips a generation.