Friday, June 10, 2011


One would think that the reason you go to see a show is to become immersed in the moment. Theatre, movies, concerts, plays and musicals strive to take you out of the world you are in for a few hours and let you live in one that is created for just that purpose. That is the reason you buy a ticket, you pay to enter this world of the imagination. I know that is the goal of some people when they come to see a show. It is the reason I wrote my show and it is the motive for performing it.
Not so much for the lady in the fifth row of the audience tonight. She texted all the way through my show. Why would you do that? There are announcements asking politely not to use a cell phone in any way during the show. There is also a matter of common curtesy.
It wasn't that it was just distracting to me. Although from my vantage point looking at the darkened audience it was like a lighthouse beacon lighting up her face. Being a professional I am able to deal with distractions and still keep the show flowing; however, it is like playing piano with boxing gloves becomes so much more work than necessary.
She was not a teenager, not that age is an excuse for rudeness. But, she *was* old enough to remember life without the need for an instant text response. Nonetheless she insisted on repeatedly annoying me and everyone around her for most of the show. It was hard for the ushers to see her and get to her to stop her without causing an even greater disturbance. Neither did the people around her take it upon themselves to self-administer the rules. They were I suppose trying to be polite. I could, however, see the annoyed expressions on their faces from the ambient light of her phone.
I finally had one of my characters tell her stop it with the same technique I have employed many times to silence a heckler. I embarrassed her enough in front of the crowd that she sheepishly doused the phone. Had it been my old comedy club days when I had code words established with the bouncers she would have been thrown out of the theatre. I rarely miss those days more than tonight. I would have delighted in watching a huge bouncer throw her bulky ass out on the street.
Why come to a show and carry on a conversation, tweet, check your Facebook status, make airline reservations, post a video or do anything but watch the show. If you have other things to do, go do that, no one will miss you, But if you are at the theatre watch the show. It is not just a waste of her admission ticket, it is a waste of my time and a waste of time and money for everyone else who came just to watch the show.
I am sure she didn't learn her lesson. If you are that out of touch with your surroundings and that oblivious to your rudeness it will take more than a puppet reprimand to wise you up. And unfortunately I doubt that I am immune to that experience again. It is not that Congressmen are texting inappropriate things it is that most of the texting world is texting at inappropriate times as well. At the theatre is bad enough but while driving a car it becomes more dangerous than drinking and driving.
Can't a person go an hour and a half without the need to communicate superficial facts via their thumbs. Because they have no opposable thumbs, monkeys may one day take over the world while every human is looking down at their iPhones "LOL-ing" It may have already happened in the corporate world. I am sure monkeys run tech support for windows even now.
So here's to the lady in the fifth row center... yeah you the anonymous twitter twat. Please never come to my show again, nor any other for that matter. Stay home and send all the tweets your thumbs can type. Make sure that all your followers know that you do not have a life except that which can be stated in less than 140 characters. Let them know that you "like" their status and make sure you use plenty of textspeak, LOL, :0 OMG the person receiving the info will probably FOFL. Never leave your bedroom. That way you won't disturb the rest of us who have come to a show especially to get away from the very likes of you. And as for me, then I can give the crowd their money's worth without having to stop a performance and give you a lesson on manners ..|.. (*_*)..|..
As you were,


bob abdou/Mr.Puppet said...

Hello Jay, you might remember me from the article I wrote about you in "The Barker" magazine". Tom Crowl sent me your blog story today because whether one performs on a stage with 1.000 folks or a library show (which I do a lot) with an audience of 100, texting has been my newest problem. Last week I asked 10 of my peers who I respect and who have a professional reputation about the subject of texting during a show. I wanted their take on the subject. All of their opinions were right on, the common thread was only a few do it and this is now the world we live in. My personal problem with texting is this, I drive 3 hours to a show (in 100 degree texas heat), arrive early, lug all my stuff to the stage, set up and wait. I spend hundreds of my money back into my business, buying new puppets, writing new scripts, new stage, having a professional look (shine the dusty shoes) and when the show starts one knucklehead is texting throughout the show, I force myself to ignore them but it is hard. I get through the show and wouldn't you know, this same person who texted during my whole show comes up to me and says "really nice show". I force a smile and say 'thank you" but all the while I want to punch them in the face. (would that be wrong?)

Tom Crowl said...

I'll share a first. I was performing in a beautiful venue this weekend. Prior to the show, the MC asked that all cell phones be turned off or silenced. During my Human Puppet routine, one of the volunteer's phones went off. A great moment for comedy - but it threw off my timing and bothered me immensely just the same. Next time, and I'm sure there will be, I will have a well rehearsed adlib!

Bob Conrad said...

Technology has given us a new way to be rude!