WHY AUDIENCES ARE DICKS

No, not you… this is about the others. You can love some of the people some of the time, but you can’t love all of the people all of the time. Especially when we’re talking about people on a night out. How to win friends and influence people, by Che Burnley.

I DJ and do stand up. They’d both be perfect gigs if I didn’t have to deal with audiences, because audiences are dicks. Not you, though, immediate audience member in front of me right now shouting… it’s those other guys: drunk, loud, obnoxious and giving a bad name to other audiences members.

You, however, dearest spectator, you are lovely, polite and show an empathy beyond your years to me, the unfortunate individual who has to put up with this shit on a regular basis. No, honestly, when you put your arm around my neck, draw me close enough so that flecks of your spittle lubricate my ear and aurally tongue me with tales of how you just want to help, I praise the gods of entertainment for gifting you an insight into my job that borders on enlightenment. And, you know, I have never heard such words before from any other pissed-up random.

A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of DJing to a unique young girl who had never been told ‘no’ before. She endeared herself to me by demanding a raft of songs that I either didn’t have, that didn’t fit the night or that had already been played. Having never been denied anything other than discipline, she obviously had a gap in her social skills and could only answer my suggestions of similar songs choices with a grammatically helpful: “Who the fuck is this shit you’re playing anyway?” Look, I admit I can be indulgent as a DJ, and sometimes drop obscure songs from new artists, but hopefully by the end of 2016 everyone will have heard of my young upstart find of the RnB/pop scene, Michael Jackson…

Comedy audiences provide similar fun and games. I recently met an over-enthusiastic audience member, trying to beat the sugar tax by having more coke than a chancellor in a brothel, who must have been a massive fan of my comedy, as he proceeded to tell me during my time on-stage and obviously wanted to help me by joining in. It’s always great for comedians to have unwanted interjections to keep us on our toes… and, to be fair, I’m sure most audiences would rather hear a procession of comics find new and inventive ways to call them and their mates a bag of dicks, rather than hear the actual material we spent time coming up with. It’s great focusing on making one person’s night special, because comedy is all about the individual – rather than those dick-ish audiences.

As public figures, comedians and DJs are obviously also owned by you, the audience member, which is why I guess my new friend then sat himself down to chat after the show and decided to try and grab my dick as a joke. Fortunately, his aim was as good as his bants’… and he poked me in the taint.

Thanks to programmes like The X Factor and social media, there has been a shift towards a belief that the individual’s opinion is paramount, should be shared immediately and is obviously what everyone else is thinking if the aspirant recently got loads of likes and a few retweets. Being negative seems to have replaced being constructive, or actually doing anything yourself, because being a dick is easy and seems to get more hits.

It’s a similar story at the football – I sat watching my team, Oldham, against Blackpool recently, when it dawned on me that we’ve long since tipped over from encouragement to sheer love of misery as, from the kick off, all I heard from a couple of supporters behind me was a barrage of insults to our players and manager. This advice was dispensed while our heroes were reeling off a list of tactical gems, such as ‘put a foot in’, ‘useless’ or ‘don’t give it him, he’s shite’. They must have picked this up whilst bawling at 8-year-old kids playing Sunday league…

We won 1-0 (Editor’s note: find out why it’s ‘we’, here) and have gone from relegation certs to two points clear of the drop zone in 15 games since new manager, John Sheridan, took over. Joe Royle Jr behind me, however, obviously could have done it better and with more style if only given the chance to show off his years of experience honed playing ‘Football Manager’.

Apparently, fans have become consumers now. That’s fine when, as an audience, we stand up and demand better (as when Liverpool FC fans protested a rise in prices, when secondary ticketing sites exploiting gig-goers are exposed or when clubbers realise that Justin Bieber is still a cock), but not when individuals moan that they are not getting a bespoke experience.

Here’s a tip: when you’re in the middle of a shared event, it’s not all about you. Show some respect for the other members of the audience and the people trying to give you a good time – there is no big conspiracy that everyone is trying to ruin your night and neither should everyone have to indulge you for enjoyment to be had. Anyone who thinks otherwise should be forced to work in town on Grand National weekend… maybe then we’ll realise what dicks we all can be.

Look, I don’t want to be ‘that guy’, but my kids have been my audience over the school holidays and I’m starting to think my youngest has been a bit of a…

@cheburnley

Pic of Joseph Grimaldi courtesy of Public Domain

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