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USA #1!

As many performers will tell you, doing crowd work can be very difficult. Even a simple call-and-response question to an audience like, “How are you doing tonight, ladies and germs?,” can be met with the kind of stony, cricket silence that immediately drains your performance of all its energy and enthusiasm. The problem, of course, is that you are putting the forward momentum into other people’s hands, and if those other people don’t feel like carrying it, it will drop like a stone. So, unless you are very sure that you’ve got the audience right where you want them and that they will do what you need them to do in order to carry the show forward, you might be better off just sticking to your material. This applies to stand up comedy, motivational speaking, and trying to get exhausted commuters on a crowded New York subway car to chant “USA!”. For example:

Ugh. It is bad enough to shout in people’s faces when they are all mashed together just trying to get to/from work, but to then have the audacity of pretending like you alone are the only person on the train who supports the troops because you were the one with the courage to pull out your Motorola ROKR, that is some real bullshit. I hope a rat crawled in his mouth and made its bedding and now there is a rat living right in his mouth. (Via BuzzFeed and TheDailyWhat.)