The Edinburgh Festival One-Liner That Helps Keep Your Audience Attentive

The Edinburgh Festival draws to a close. It’s been too long since I last went there. Here’s one of this year’s most reported gags of the comedy Fringe. From stand-up Ben Target;

Pop up your hand if you like participating in market research


Reminded me straight away of a classic audience engagement tactic.

Take a poll.

It works well when used well.

It goes without saying that there has to be a point.

Typically (but not exclusively) better with larger crowds.

Often best when you’ve a secondary question to reduce those hands and see motion.

You can gauge during rehearsal any point at which energy or attention could wane and deliberately slip one in there.

One trick that works is to first ask everyone to put their hands in the air. It gets the blood flowing for starters. Then they put one down, rather than up, according to responses.

You could even use the comic’s line from above before your real poll to check who is properly awake in front of you, boom boom…

Pop up your hand if you like participating in presentations

…and the ‘winner’ of this year’s best joke once again came from corny one-liner king Tim Vine;

I had to get rid of my hoover. Well, it was collecting dust.

As he says himself, straight from the school he hones that gave us

Velcro. What a rip-off.

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