How To Be and Not To Be "The Life of The Party"
Guys, DO NOT dance LIKE THIS
Other Images of Being "Life of The Party"
There’s “that” certain something that lives in all of us humans that cries out, “hey! Let me at that social gathering, for “I” can be the “life of the party.”
Come on, people. Let’s (don’t “smile on your brother. Everybody get together and try to love somebody right now”) be up-front, brutally-honest and sincere. By the way, that lyric, “Smile on Your Brother,” is by the Youngbloods, from 1973.
We’ve all had this fiery urge to rush home and get out our best suit, press it, wear our best cologne (or perfume, ladies), shine our shoes and attend a party at someone’s house and lay in wait just hoping that the host or hostess will say, “hey, you can sing. Get up there and do some Beatle songs.” Or they might ask, “say, you have quite the reputation for being a comedian, so why don’t you regale us with some of your funniest routines?”
Sometimes it happens. Sometimes it don’t. The host or hostess asking us to “put some life” back into a dying party.
And you bet your best beaver pelts, we would all jump at the chance to do such a task and without as much as a mild complaint, but we are all, deep-down inside, entertainers.
Some good. Some not so good. Okay, to be fair, there are people who cannot stand public life or the idea of being in-front of the crowd to entertain them if only for a moment, for this type of exposure makes these people very nervous. I respect that. And do not worry. If I ever have a party and there are nervous friends of mine with “public fobias’s” there, I promise to not ask them to sing, tell jokes or tap dance.
At first glance, you might be tempted to think that a story like this would be of very-simple mechanics. Not so. There is a lot that goes into being and even not being “The Life of The Party.”
All comedians, male and female, were all once the “life of someone’s party” at one time or the other. Did you ever think of that?
Or did you, like me, think that these famous spinners of hilarious one-liners just “paid their dues,” in some smoky dive in Wolverine Hide, New Jersey, with a manager named, “Jake,” who charged five-percent for his management fee and like magic, one day were discovered by a Dean Martin, Steve Martin, or a Jerry Seinfeld?
Life isn’t that simple. And life certainly doesn’t operate from that standpoint.
A lot of people, men and women, have “tried” to be “the life of the party,” because someone, maybe an intoxicated uncle named, “Leon,” coached them into it and they found out just how tough, really tough, keeping a crowd of people at attention and entertained simultaneously.
By the way, uncle “Leon,” never remembered the damage his coaching did to the fallen “stars-to-be,” thanks to his loving-abuse of Evan Williams whiskey with Coca-Cola.
So you see, being the life of any party is not that easy. For anyone. It requires a lot of a person. Lots of guts, nerve and the ability to be heckled, cursed and the talent to dodge whatever objects are thrown at them by the disgruntled crowd.
So now, with your kind permission, I would love to share with you, my story fittingly-titled, “How to Be or Not to Be The Life of The Party.”
Preliminary Planning: Item 1- For Men and Women: Always Check the Crowd
A. This is for “your” benefit,” not theirs. And you will come more apt to be a success at being “the life of the party” if you simply stand back and check the crowd.
2. This tip is for you if you just show-up at this party on the unmeant invite of a coworker who only invited you so you wouldn’t “rat them out” to the boss for swiping liquid paper from the office supply closet for use at their home.
3. And this tip is for you if you were sincerely invited. All I am advising here is to “know your crowd.”
Item 2 - Why Know Your Crowd?
1. if the crowd is in a mellow, laid-back buzz from alcohol, then you can use pretty much any material you wish but . . .
2. if the crowd has a few rednecks, or just plain troublemakers who are pretty much intoxicated on alcohol, then choose your materials wisely.
Item 3 - Using Wise Choices
1. do not use any form of ethnic-based humor. I do not care if there are representatives from all ethnic origins, leave the keg of dynamite be.
2. if the crowd urges you to use ethnic-based materials, make sure that the people urging you to do this are sober enough to admit it was their fault if “your” attempt at being “the life of the party” goes south.
Item 3 - Things Not to Say
1. “could ya’ bring me a Seagram 7 straight-up? I want to be buzzed like this crowd.” Fights can easily start from comments like this especially if there are those in the crowd who are “hiding like vipers in the grass,” who secretly hate you and take exception to your innocent remarks.
2. “you gal’s look like dimestore broads out on the town,” needless to say, you will be introduced to a new way of heckling: Getting your very eyeballs scratched out by these angry women who you have just insulted.
3. “hey, who made this drink, an assassin?” Could be a hard-working college student (hired to cater this event) working his or her way through law school made your drink and now you have even insulted them.
Case in point. Not everyone, everytime, will appreciate your humor especially if you are not famous as you kick-off your campaign for stardom as “the life of the party.”
Item 4 - Jokes Not to Tell
1. southern-related, pro-redneck jokes, even if you are at a party in Green Leaf, Georgia. The south is growing more sensitive, so please, help the south to continue this evolution and leave redneck jokes to pro’s like Jon Repp (you can see him on YouTube).
2. political jokes may go over well in New York City, but be very careful. There are lots of President Obama supporters still living in the United States. My motto was, “a wise ‘life of the party,’ is a ‘successful life of the party.’
3. wife-related jokes. Henny “King of The One-liners” Youngman, famous for, “take my wife. Please,” played this angle to death. Besides we all want our wives to be happy, not angry.
4. girlfriend-related jokes about her menstrual cycle; slow getting ready to go out and how she is in bed, just “let sleeping dogs lie,” and you will pardon this pun. Please.
Item 5 - Styles of Story-Telling to Use and Not to Use
1. long stories with humorous areas are fine, if you are Bill Cosby, but friend. You are not. So shorten your stories, and see how many laughs you will get.
2. do not use complex, over-the-crowd’s-head story-telling styles such as: Tom Green, MTV alum; Dennis Miller, Saturday Night Live alum. Keep it simple. And enjoy the acalades.
Item 6 - Songs Not to Sing
1. “Tie a Yellow Ribbon (‘round The Old Oak Tree), Tony Orlando and Dawn. Need I explain?
2. “I Am Woman,” Helen Reddy. Fine if you are a woman, and have a singing talent, but otherwise, this is not a wise song choice.
3. “I Love to Love You Baby,” Donna Summer. No way in creation that anyone struggling to be “the life of (any) party can do this classic as well as the late, Donna Summer. I don’t care if they are white, black, yellow, male, female or Tom Jones first cousin. Some songs just need to be left alone.
4. “Dancin’ Queen” Abba. Fine if you are a talented woman “life of the party,” but not for any male trying to be “the star” of the evening.
Which brings me to the arena of dancing.
Yes, dancing. Some would-be people striving to be “the life of the party,” actually try to get their crowds in a good mood by saying, “let me show you my dance moves.”
If the man or woman is not gifted with dance skills.
So my only advice about this one is: “if you are skilled in dancing, do it.” But if not, tell the band or DJ, “give us some dancin’ music,” then acknowledge the DJ and his machinery, and while the crowd dances, you take a break and re-group for your big finish.
Item 7 - Things Not to Do if You Do Try to Teach Your Crowd to Dance
1. (guys) do not kick your feet and legs up in the air unless you are kin to dancing legends, Fred Astaire or Gene Kelly. For an amateur to try dancing stunts like these legends did on stage is simply inadvisable and embarrassing for the amateur dancer trying to be “the life the party.”
2. (girls) same advice applies to you if you are in a dress. The crowd doesn’t need to see your “private areas,” so if you are going to use dancing in your program to be “the life of the party,” dress in slacks, shorts, but not a dress or skirt.
Final Item - - When It’s Time to Shut Down Your Act
1. when you see members of the crowd yawn as if they haven’t slept in days.
2. when you see them just standing, not listening to you, but chatting to each other.
3. when you see them checking their watches.
4. when looks of disgust and impatience appear on their faces.
Just stick to the basics, my “life of the party” “wanna-be’s,” and things should turn out good for you.
I leave you with this one time my wife and another married couple were asked to sing on stage at this other couple’s church.
We were excited. The crowd was of moderate-size, not that it mattered. We weren’t on stage for ourselves, but to cheer people up.
The man of the other couple started out by saying, “you are in for a treat tonight,” referring to our singing.
Long story short. We sang two songs. The crowd never responded. Our sound equipment “was” on. I was so nervous, I dropped my microphone and a high-pitched squeal shot through the church sanctuary.
That was our first, and last time to sing for anyone.
Oh, if HubPages had been around in 1988 and I had read a hub such as this one, maybe our group would have been successful.
I can be thankful for one thing. God never laughed at us.