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Old 08-20-06, 05:45 PM   #1
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Default Street Performing Psychology & the Art of Applying it

Through the span of my tiny busking career, 4 months, I've found that street performing is not just some dude on a corner playing guitar or a guy juggling and telling a few jokes (WHAT?! IT'S NOT?!?!?!). It's about ten percent 10% talent and the other 90 is this vast crazy ass super intracate social psychology and the art of applying it to different situations. This facinates me more than anything. More than the fact I can play 5 songs and make a hundred bucks easy, more than the attention I get from girls, more than all the perks- people buying me drinks, meeting super interesting people every day, getting gigs that pay well easy as pie. I've seen alot of posts about different lines- hat lines, heckler lines, ect. and so now we come to this thread. I think it would be great if everyone would share a bit of thier knowledge on this topic: What you find most helpful, some situation you used this in, or something. Anything from crowd control to prime location. Lets see how the game really works so we can play it better.

- A line that pays off more than the hat line. (a bit of my knowledge)

When I first started performing I used some hatlines and jokes I got off here and a few I'd made up myself. First couple weeks I added to my repertoire. I'd pull something out of my ass and it'd get a laugh so I'd reuse it. About a month ago I started thinking about the psychology of street performing and I realized that personalized jokes no matter how stupid almost always get a way bigger laugh. Not only that they bring the crowd together. I started making fun of stereotypes, being really politically incorrect, and empathizing with people- noticing something about them and that I understood from personal expirience and then making light of it. Basically- fondly insulting people or myself or something I knew the whole crowd shared like feelings about (not always insulting but also situations like once I was playing yellow submarine and there was a very odd looking fellow in my crowd "in the town where I was born lived a man who sailed the sea" then I pointed to him and said "He's right there" stuff like that too). I found out very quickly (as I had theorized) that this brought the crowd together and made a very strong bond with myself and the crowd. It's like all the sudden we all knew each other and could be ourselves. There wasn't that social anxiety anymore so there’d be much more crowd interaction and they’d do/say a lot more things for me to bounce jokes off of. I'm ridiculous, I made my crowd feel ridiculous, and made them all feel good about being ridiculous. It's paid off. I'm still working on it and it's becoming a lot like chess! (my fav game) I'm starting to see a few steps down the line when to strike. Every show there'll be a situation that I'm able to set up and then nock them dead with. I have a way better time doing things this way, I’m a lot happier, the crowd is a lot happier, I’m more confident and you know if you are confident and having a lot of fun your are a lot funnier. It's been such a relief not to have to rely on the same boring old lines anymore. I mean, I still kick them out, but having that having that spontinaity keeps things interesting and lets be honest, when you give your hatlines or a line specific to your show even if a person hasn't heard it before a lot of them know or would bet that you've used it several times before- they still laugh of course but when you are telling personalized jokes they can’t deny your wit and you’ll because you know you real are witty you’ll feel better about yourself. This is probably the most complicated and takes the most balls and brains of what psychology I've learned but it's been paying off most in lots of fun for me and lots of cash.

(hope I explained that one well, I'm still just figuring it all out. Exciting!)
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