A while back I talked about the frustrating trend of comedy show attendees filming performances. I did a little research for a followup, writing Matt Besser and asking them how they handle this at UCB LA. He said:
This isn’t something that I’ve really heard a lot of complaints about in the LA theater. In LA the theater is not that big so it would be easy to spot someone doing that so maybe people don’t do it as much. Sometimes people will do it in Asssscat and I guess we don’t care because we’re not doing written material. On the other hand, I had a guy tape me when I was doing my one man show in North Hampton MASS. It’s 30 seconds of part of one of my bits and it’s totally out of context so I’m not sure make any sense, and then it cuts to me doing my outro where I plug my CD and website. So that’s a pretty lame representation of my show.
If comedians told us that it is a regular problem then we would have our theater manager patrol the audience a little more. If we saw someone taping then we’d ask them to stop and cut off a finger (not a thumb). If they did it again we’d cut off a hand. A third violation is when we then cut off the hand of the mother of the perp.
Matt’s punishment strategy is sound I believe. Even douchebags love their mothers.
But Matt’s got an even better attitude about it, perhaps stemming from his improv background. Check out this recent
performance where he actually gets up close and delivers the address about his dog Martin Luther King and his dream for the audience member’s camera, heightening the conviction of the bit.
It’s not necessarily something stand-ups could do, but it’s a brilliant example of a talented player using what’s in the room.
Edited to take out the Australian referrence. It was in the YouTube video but apparently is not accurate. Thanks for the correct, Jouster!