Erin, ever-performing, took a couple of hostages at the playground. A brother and sister team, four or five years old, sat on the bark chip floor in front of a playset as Erin clambered to the top. She lounged on it like it was a piano and she was wearing a glittering gown, and she started to croon to her audience.
“Ah ah ah….ah ah ah….” she began, the first measures of a Little Mermaid medley coming out of her lungs.
The sister on the bark had a Hello Kitty backpack at her feet, and applauded Erin’s singing, rapt. The brother on the bark shifted, agitated. He could hear that Erin was making sounds, but there were no words, and she wasn’t projecting much.
Suddenly, the brother shifted forward. “I hate this!” he shouted. Then he started throwing bark.
I was stunned at the reaction, though I could sympathize: The Little Mermaid drives me crazy. But still, you don’t throw bark at a singer.
I wondered how Erin would react to this heckler. Would she pull a Bill Burr, and just start insulting his hometown for the rest of her time?
Would she go all Joe Rogan, and make fun of the kid’s shirt?
Or would she follow Zach Galifiniakis’ lead, and mock his attention-seeking by giving him even more attention than he was comfortable with?
In the end, what Erin did was: 1) Realize she’d lost half her audience. 2) Assess the reasons why she lost half the audience. 3) Determined to get that part of the audience back. 4) Adjusted her set list.
She went with “It’s a Small World”, and everyone had a good time. But then, she had to deal with the worst kind of set-interrupter: The Little Brother Who Steals the Limelight for Himself.
It bore a striking resemblance to this:
I think I need talent managers for both of my kids.