The Audience

Everyone who presents something to an audience hopes for a good one – but the nature of what they are doing sometimes needs markedly different receptors. Here is a guide to what to aim for.

a. If you are putting out a political message, try to get your supporters in the audience and gee them up to squeal and hoot whenever the television cameras are turned on. It is a technique that is as old as history, and just as vile.

If you can locate anti-aircraft searchlights, line them up on the stage either side of you. Arrange the audience in a large rectangle in front of you. Leave adequate aisles that will allow marching groups to move forward at suitable intervals with banners held high.

Get a good cinematographer to film it for you. It’ll be a triumph…It will…

b. If you are putting forward an altogether more spiritual message, try to have suitable acolytes arranged in pods in front of you, waving like sea grass in a warm current. If they refuse to wave, club them until they do.

Incense, sitar music, and free drugs are also a good ploy. Be mysterious and Eastern. If you are brown, you’re down…

c. If you need laughs – like a drug addict needs a hit – aim for Catskill stand-up in front of an audience that knows the jokes already. Give them a buffet with shrimp and you have them in the palm of your hand. Remember that schmaltz will make everything move slicker.

d. If you can arrange for an audience that is comprised of equal portions of offendable millennials, semi-Red academics, and lapsed Methodists, you can gain notoriety and publicity by reading a phone book. Or a tram ticket. Anything you say will be wrong, and as you are starting from such a reliable base, you can actually say anything you like.

This is the dream audience – you can cast the truth upon them and watch them writhe. You can lie shamelessly to them and get the same reaction. You can stand there silent and whip them with their own tortured guilt.

Knock yourself out.