To the performers who were entertaining at a comedy show for kids this weekend: We ALL owe you a heartfelt apology. It is no exaggeration that many of the kids there were terrors, they were bullies, they were obnoxious, loud, overbearing, pint-sized hellions. And their parents, yes, those parents who were there for the night but sat back in oblivion with their glasses of wine and friendly chit-chat were worse.
As one comedian toughed it out through a performance where one kid actually shouted that he was a loser, that kid's mom stood by and did nothing. As other kids shrieked and jeered and told another magician he stunk and could NEVER trick them, their parents stood by and did nothing. As a third performer, who was so frustrated by events actually left the stage empty and sat in the audience till the kids figured out he'd left them... their parents stood by and did NOTHING. The host of the night tried different strategies... concentrating ONLY on the quiet and respectful kids... then later... intentionally working with the loud and raucous 8 and 9-year-old devil spawns. Nothing worked. The guy balanced a wheelbarrow on his head, did tricks with hamburgers, even gave cash prizes and some kids were still intent on ruining things.
OK none of our kids are angels all of the time. But my kids actually were well-behaved and polite on this day, and so were other kids, and they were ALL frustrated that most other children were being so horrible. Maybe it's because our kids weren't with a party. They were just there with us as a family. Maybe it was the riot mentality that took over the other kids who started screaming together and then never let up THE ENTIRE TIME. It doesn't matter. It was wrong.
All I know is I saw three performers at their wit's end as a roomful of elementary school kids who brought them to their knees. And I felt bad for these guys. When I used to entertain at parties to make money for college, we'd be hired for kids parties on occasion too. I'd explain to the people who hired us ahead of time that we were there to ENTERTAIN NOT TO BABYSIT. It is not the job of the entertainers to deal with a riotous mob of heathens. It is not their job to put up with insults that are somehow justified because the kid is just a kid. THIS is how these performers make their living. They entertain those who WANT to be entertained.
The night really bugged me and my wife who talked it out with our kids afterwards. And then we got even MORE annoyed when we realized the parents who really need to apologize are so oblivious they don't realize they need to. They're probably so used to their kids raucous, hellacious, disastrous behavior, the getting everything they want immediately or else, that they don't even realize anymore that this ISN'T normal behavior.
To those parents: your kids were embarrassing. They were loud. Above all, they were MEAN. And you were just bad parents. You sat by and did NOTHING. NOTHING. It was unfair to the performers working their butts off on stage, and it was unfair to the kids there who WERE well behaved and actually wanted to be entertained.
So I finish where I started. I am here to apologize for those other horrifyingly bad kids and their oblivious parents who drank their wine and ate their appetizers and then left without another thought as to how disgusting their kids were. To the performers who took the stage, others of us actually appreciated what you did and the effort that it takes to try and entertain a roomful of kids. I'm sorry you were disrespected. I'm sorry the kids were obnoxious. I'm sorry their parents were oblivious. Not all of us are like that.
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