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A good emcee is the way to be

In my own mind, I am the most relaxed dancer. I've danced through power outages, being sick, audiences who would rather do ANYTHING than pay attention to the dancer, but there is one way to guarantee I am annoyed during a show. And that is a terrible emcee. Live or online, a good emcee controls the vibe of the show, making it comfortable for both performers and the audience.

I've been lucky to be in shows with the most glorious emcee in the galaxy (Joanna S if you are curious. Her pasta applause is legendary) and suffered through some pretty terrible ones, and I've decided on some rules for effective emceeing. I will probably have more thoughts in a year or as soon as I post this blog, but these are today's thoughts.

Some things to avoid:

  1. Don't talk about the weather.

  2. Don't mention how attractive you think the performer is

  3. Don't make the show about yourself

  4. Don't read the bio verbatim (especially the written version)

  5. My troupe has this rule: No poop jokes. it's been more divisive then you'd anticipate

Some things to do:

My personal suggestion is just to do whatever Joanna does, which includes:

  1. Make sure to learn how to pronounce all the performer's names

  2. Be flexible if things in the show change. They will if you like it or not

  3. Treat the producers, the performers, and the audience with the utmost care

  4. Be the first one to applaud, clap, and scream for the performers. You let the audience know they are supposed to enjoy the show

  5. Work to create ways for the audience to interact and feel like a community (even more important right now!). Invite them to enjoy the experience with you.

What do you think? What makes someone a great emcee?

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This is Joanna, dropping in to comment that I completely agree! The real job of the emcee (introductions and transitions aside) is to manage the energy of the show and keep the audience engaged. For the current time of all virtual events, I think it's really important to not just pretend everything is exactly like an in person show, because it's not. Without a live audience right there in front of the performers, it's all up to the emcee to channel genuine excitement and applause for the previous act with enthusiasm for whatever is next. Also, you are spot on with the rule about not mentioning how attractive you find the performer. For one thing, it's going to come …

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See, this is why you are such an amazing emcee! You have a super nuanced job, and I think you handle it so well. You are a great mirror for the community to see what should be happening. We all have essential roles, and your ability to model the perfect attendee is such an asset.

Your pasta box is legendary too.

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