Weirdo Show Host Guidelines:
• Think of the DC Weirdo Show as a story. The evening's acts are chapters and you are the transition, the connective tissue, the charming glue between them.
• Think of the first half as the audience's opportunity to get to know the performers; think of the second half as an opportunity for that performer to raise the stakes and take what the audience knows about them to the next level!
• Your job is to help the audience have the very best experience they can and to set up your fellow castmates for success.
• Consider... what information can you provide that will help the audience appreciate and receive the next act?
BEFORE THE SHOW Hosting Do's:
• Check in with performers about their acts:
◦ What is the tone of their act?
◦ Anything you should *not* say about the act (surprise reveal, twist endings to keep secret, etc.)?
◦ Any information they definitely *do* want you to say about them/their acts?
• Write note cards and use them, if you prefer. There is no shame in having them with you on stage - you look prepared and professional!
• Think in the time leading up to the show: How does each act help "tell the story" of the show? What "glue" can I provide to help facilitate the transition between acts?
OPENING Hosting Do's:
• DO raise the energy level as soon as you hit the stage and then help the audience settle into the evening. Audience members have jobs, go to school, have stress, may be going through tough stuff, they work hard, they are here to have fun. Encourage them to leave their worries behind for the evening. Invite them to let their hair down, their freak flag fly - to relax and allow us, to trust us, to take them on a fun ride into weirdness. We take this trust very seriously at our show!
• DO use gender neutral terminology to address your crowd. Here's a great resource for that: http://equalityspeaks.tumblr.com/post/144067215623/a-list-of-gender-neutral-alternatives-to-ladies
• DO establish your character and set the tone for the show - Are you a shocked observer? Are you an experienced connoisseur of weird? A confused tour guide? Are you increasingly/hilariously uncomfortable with each act as it unfolds? An historical character spoof related to the show theme? If you already have a performer persona, how can you build on that to reveal how this persona hosts a show? Here is a great tool for working on your hosting persona: https://dsmcknight.com/2015/11/02/character-information-sheet/
• DO let the audience know what to expect. Will it be an evening that's funny? Disturbing? Thought-provoking? Uncomfortable? Some combination of the above?
• DO some housekeeping:
◦ How many have never seen our show before/how many of you are returning weirdos/how many of you have no clue what the fuck you have wandered into? :)
◦ Restrooms are down the hall, behind the sound booth.
◦ We have a house photographer and we'll be posting them online after the show. No flash photography please.
• DO use stage names at all times.
• DO express your admiration, gratitude, respect for performers in your transitional remarks.
• DO consider witty, thoughtful transitions between acts that help the audience be in the best frame of mind to enjoy and receive the performer who is about to take the stage.
• DO feel free to use profanity thoughtfully and artfully, if that's your style.
• DO sharpen your jokewriting skills, if you like to plan ahead.
• DO sharpen your improv skills, if you're more spontaneous.
• DO strive to develop a mix of prepared material while leaving room for off-the-cuff inspiration. <- this advice is cited as a crucial preparation strategy for successful hosting.
• DON'T make the show all about you.
• DON'T express attraction to, imply sexual history with, sexual arousal about or comment on the bodies of other cast members.
• By the same token: DON'T talk about or make reference to *your* body parts.
• DON'T decide to "throw in" an act of your own into the show without expressed permission of the producers.
• DON'T use sexist, racist, homophobic, xenophobic, ableist, transphobic, etc. language or jokes. This is lazy, offensive, unacceptable hosting. You will not be invited back. Or paid!
• DON'T use coercive tricks to get an audience member to kiss you, touch you or otherwise be embarrassed. This is unethical at best, assault at worst. You will not be invited back. Or paid!
• NEVER insult your audience. Ever. See above.
THROUGHOUT THE SHOW, Hosting Do's:
• DO keep an eye on your time. We strive to start at 9pm and end by 11. If we're running long, see how you can shorten your hosting to get us back on track.
• DO have in mind the minimum info you need to say so that, if you find you need to keep it snappy, you can get right down to business vs places where you can add/embellish because you have time.
• DO think about when in the show to mention our merch table, vendors, raffle, extended commentary, etc. If an act needs some set up/clean up time, this can stretch your hosting to accommodate while this is going on.
• DO embrace your audience as your fellow weirdos. We want them to feel part of the show, included, welcomed. Part of our show identity is that we are all weirdos at the DC Weirdo Show - not just those of us who are on stage doing weird things visibly for cash.
CLOSING Hosting Do's:
• DO thank the bar staff by name, photographer, sound/light operator, our show volunteers on site.
• DO include our stage assistant for Curtain Call.
• DO be sure to restate your name and take *your* well-earned applause!
• DO mention the next show's date and title.
• DO end on an energetic and fun vibe.
OPTIONAL BUT GREAT IDEAS... ESPECIALLY IF YOU'RE NEW TO HOSTING/NEW TO DC WEIRDO SHOW:
• Consider meeting up with members of the cast the week before the show; get to know them, their acts, ask questions.
• Consider meeting up with the producers the week before the show; get to know them, their priorities, ask questions.
• Attend the show you're hosting before you host. Get a feel for their audience, flow, what's important, any show traditions you'll want to be familiar with and support when you host.