LEGAL LIMIT – Drunks in your audience / by Bo Gerard

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Is has been said that the perfect adult audience for a stand-up show is one that is, A) intelligent and B) has had a drink or two.  But once they go past that second drink, things can get dicey.

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I don’t know if I've had more drunk people in my audiences lately, or if my tolerance for them has gone down, but I have sure had some trying experiences this past holiday season.  Aside from being great tippers, drunk people are annoying!!!

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This is less of a problem when I am strolling table to table, because if I encounter some unruly or disrespectful drunks I can just cut my routine short and move on to another table.  But during a stage show, you have to plow ahead in the face of inebriation.  Or do you?  What is a performers’ “Legal Limit” of tolerance?

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At first you'd imagine the other people at the offenders table would get him or her to pipe down, or if it persists you are confident that one of the party organizers would intervene and quite the interloper somehow.  But more and more, nothing is being done to quell the ardent belligerence that is raining down on you, ruining the show for you and the rest of the audience.

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It could be that people feel that the performer chose this particular line of work, and he should be able to handle any problem that arises.  Or it could be, as I have sometimes experienced, that the rest of the audience is also “in their cups” and don’t see anything wrong with a little jaunty, yet slurred, verbal interaction from the peanut gallery.  In this case, I have been sorely tempted to simply and politely sign off, and leave the stage.  But I have never done it.  After all these years on the stage, I practically have “The show must go on” tattooed on my brain, and I would find it nearly impossible to cut and run.

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How about you? Have you ever stopped your show because of one or more belligerent umbriagos?