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Old 02-24-09, 07:54 AM   #1
space commander
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Default Hat Lines

We all use them. Hat lines are, in a way, our signature at the end of a show. Sometimes that signature is an outright forgery.

Hat lines work only if they alleviate the tension surrounding the act of passing the hat. Intimidating banter only serves to drive the audience away. No matter what the subject material of the performance has been, the hat pitch is an opportunity for the audience to see the performer as a real person with very real needs. Just as with stock lines in shows, the hat line too is overwhelmed by a multitude of stock and tired lines. Lines that have been used so much so that I have even heard some audience members utter the lines before the performer has had a chance. This is not good, lack of originality only undermines the future of the form. Above all else the hat pitch must be unique for it is the justification for what the performer has done.

I have listed here numerous hat pitches that have been done to death. I have chosen to list them with the hope that those performers who read this can begin to explore other alternatives so we as an audience don’t die of boredom.

Remember, the original wave of commedia dell arte died because, ultimately, it simply stopped being original. All forms, including street performing, run the risk of extinction when the artists get lazy and stop trying to invent "new stuff"!

“Ladies and Gentlemen this is what I do for a living...pathetic isn’t it...”

“You could make four to five hundred dollars a year doing this...”

“When I pass my hat I would appreciate a donation just fold it up and place it in my hat”

“Remember the more you give the more I have!”

“Kids...if mommy and daddy don’t give you at least two dollars to give to the funny street performer it just means that they don’t really love you”
“If you don’t make a contribution I will have to go back to my old job... selling drugs to school children”

“So take out your wallet remove two or five dollars and give me the rest”

“Remember I’m saving for a house not an ice cream”

“Ladies it doesn’t have to be money”

“Think about it when you go to the theatre you pay forty dollars and found out later that it was crappy, here you see that its crappy first then you give me your forty dollars”

“Kids if mommy and daddy don’t give you two or five dollars to give the funny street performer that just means that they’re not really your parents”

“Of course if you are walking away without making a contribution I’m assuming that you are going to the bank machine”

“You’ve been a great audience... don’t spoil it now”

“If you enjoyed this show give me five bucks if you didn’t enjoy this show write your comments on the back of a twenty and I'll take the next bus outta here”

“If you don’t make a contribution I'll send a Jehovah’s witness to your house”

My favorite hat pitches were done by Waldo Woodhead, Danny Lord, Gazzo Macee and Ned Kelly.

I encourage you to list other hat lines that have been overused in this forum and, if possible, "give credit" to the original writer...

this ought to be interesting....
What ever I said before... forget about it. Everything's changed.

For an updated view of what I am thinking now, buy my book "The Pavement Stage". Revised to include observations and articles about street performing, the public space and freedom of speech worldwide. For more information send me an email.

Last edited by space commander; 02-24-09 at 08:03 AM.
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actor, busking, crowd mechanic, david cassel, director, producer, street performing, street theatre, theatrical scientist, writer

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