How do you feel when the audience ignores you?

I often feel sorry for music performers at restaurants, especially when it is a band and not (say) a solo pianist who knows that he or she is there to just provide background music. It must be galling when the people in the room completely ignore you and continue to talk and eat and I often wonder how they feel. Maybe Ted Cruz can tell us because he recently had that experience when he spoke at an event in New York City as part of his campaign in that state’s primary being held today.

You would think that a gathering of rich Republicans would provide a welcoming and responsive audience for Cruz. He must have thought so too and so the rude way that he was treated when he gave a speech to such a group must have come as a shock to him. Hardly anyone is paying any attention to him. Watch these videos as he struggles to make himself heard over the din and clatter of people eating and drinking, talking to each other and on their phones, and walking around and even walking out of his speech.

Donald Trump and John Kasich had spoken just before him and were received much more attentively. I have to think that the audience was deliberately insulting Cruz because of his contemptuous ‘Now York values’ remark made during one of the early debates.


  1. smipowell says

    It appears that the woman who objected to the conversation also spoke Arabic. She objected to the content of the conversation that he had with his uncle and not with the sign-off “inshallah”.

  2. Numenaster says

    I have performed in restaurants, as a singer with a band and as a solo dancer with recorded music. If it’s a restaurant, you can’t expect that everyone will be paying attention to you. They came in to eat primarily, they didn’t buy a ticket to see you in concert. Viewed that way, any attention you DO get from the audience is a bonus, and very welcome. I tend to start performing directly at anyone who does pay attention, and I appreciate them a lot. A room where NOBODY is watching is a very lonely place, and it’s hard not to take it personally.

  3. Sophy says

    I always liked performing at our local farmer’s market. I knew I was background music so was less stressed and therefore sang better. When people stopped to listen I’d focus on them but, as they were there for shopping, they would only hear a couple of songs before moving on. But I knew I my purpose was to add to the market not to compete for attention.

  4. says

    Ray Wylie Hubbard tells a story about a time he was doing a show at a crawfish shack and just playing his heart out and was being completely ignored and finally he got to the last number and wrapped it and heard, from across the room, slow clapping… And he said “thank you, thank you, I appreciate it.” and then he noticed that it was a guy banging on the bottom of a ketchup bottle.

    And he then tells the story about another time a different musician had heard him tell that story, and was deep in the weed that night, and tried to tell Ray’s story and fumbled it and concluded, “I heard someone clapping, and said thank you thank you and someone was pouring ketchup” and the audience just stared at him in complete puzzlement.

  5. says

    I have to think that the audience was deliberately insulting Cruz because of his contemptuous ‘Now York values’ remark made during one of the early debates.

    That’s one possibility. Another possibility is that they’re afraid they’re going to be stuck with Cruz and would rather know as little as possible about his views, because then they’ll have to realize how thoroughly fucked they are.

  6. moarscienceplz says

    If I am in a room with live musicians, and if I think they are doing a good job, I try to focus on at least two songs and applaud them. I also try to acknowledge the table bussers. Any job worth doing deserves applause when done well!

  7. Dunc says

    There is a (possibly apocryphal) story that this is how Black Sabbath ended up inventing heavy metal… They were originally a jazz band, but they got fed up of being ignored when playing clubs, so they turned everything up really loud so that the audience simply couldn’t talk over them.

  8. lorn says

    Tabby Lavalamp @ #4:
    “I’m sure I’d object to Ted Cruz’s conversations with his uncle too.”

    Given their history of radicalism and violence can we start kicking evangelicals and dominionists off airplanes if they scare us?

    This could be fun.

  9. lorn says

    Remember that the opposite of love is not hate, its indifference.

    Cruz feeds on the hate he inspires. Being ignored is much harder for him to deal with.

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