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Old 07-23-12, 12:05 AM   #1
Stephon
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Default Contagious "No"

We've all had to deal from time-to-time with misjudging an audience member as a potential volunteer, but they refuse to come up on stage.

This, of course, let's the rest of the audience feel more comfortable with saying, "no," and it spreads like a virus.

I'm curious how other performers have dealt with this, and to what level of success.
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Old 07-23-12, 04:18 AM   #2
davidkaye
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I haven't tried any of this, but my gut tells me:

If the person says no, tell them, "Hey, if you come up I'll let you get a picture taken of us together doing something amazing to send home to your family as a vacation memento..."

Maybe put something into your act where you can get the crowd to chant "Yes Yes YES!" several times. "Yell out YES if you want to see a rare special trick with a member of the audience! Do you want to see this amazing trick I've only done in Norway? Yes Yes YES!" Something like that.
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Old 07-23-12, 03:07 PM   #3
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I bail and do a different bit.
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Old 07-23-12, 07:33 PM   #4
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We need two guys, sometimes three, at the beginning of the show to help set up the rig. We cannot do the show at all without them, and yes, it sets the tone!

I always ask "What's your name?" and not "Would you like to come on stage?" because the answer to the second question is always no. If it's midshow, I'll try to get them engaged before I need them - like, when taking whip targets, I choose someone who's already yelling "smaller!" along with the crowd and ask them for their name then, then keep asking them if I should keep going. Then they're with me, and the crowd is in favor of them coming up.

If I get a refusal and I'm up close, I'll turn off my mic and say, "It's OK, we're going to treat you right and make you a hero". Most people are scared to come up because they've seen too many asshole street performers who mock their volunteer instead of celebrating them. I've also used (mic off), "Play the game, buddy".

If I still get a refusal, I'll say, "Wow, this feels just like senior prom!" and move on to the next guy.

I've also done, "What's your name" from the stage, then look away while saying, "Let's welcome Bob to the stage!" if they can't make eye contact, it's harder to refuse.

Dealing with refusals - I've done, "Awwww...Bob can't come up! He has a lifelong fear of spandex and we'd just be re-opening that wound! Good thing Stunt Bob is sitting right here!" (mic off) "Please help me out, it'll be easy and we'll treat you right".
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