Author: Abbott, Kyle

The Art of the Moving Lips
Hello fellow bluegrassers . . . or whoever is reading this. Welcome to this month’s Bluegrass ‘n Stuff. If you didn’t know this already, it’s been a very giggy couple of months for the Abbott Family Band. Did you see them at the Otter Opry? *Phew!* What a great crowd! Anyway, usually we do a little bit of talking, but mainly we just whip through song after song. Recently, however, we have found that if we babble on more, we can lengthen our set and leave some ‘new’ songs for another gig. It’s just like a restaurant that waters down its drinks. So with that worthy goal in mind, let’s review a few tips on ‘patter.’ Please note that this is just the beginning; just the tip of the pancake stack when it comes to the Art of the Moving Lips...

First off, it’s highly illegal to peddle patter, but you all knew that. Next, timing is crucial in delivering patter. It’ll take some practice to master the art of blabbing. You should almost never do something like saying "Check out our CD’s out front!" just after someone cuts loose on their instrument (unless you’ve put it off ‘till the last song). Also, in patter it’s a bad idea to toot your own Volkswagen "awo-oo-oga!" horn. Don’t say stuff like, "It must be a great honor for you to be able to see us."

Now let’s tackle humor. If you tell a good joke (with good timing and all the fixin’s) you may be able to save your failing performance or lackluster tweener act. If all you’ve got is ‘Yo’ Mama’ jokes, your best bet would be to just go with tried-and-true toilet humor! Very easy; big laughs every time. If you are like most people, when you tell a joke you want tons of laughs without difficulty. Toilet humor gets ‘em every time. You have to remember, though: use your potty-related words wisely. Just rattling off those words may have the little ones rolling in the aisles, but the older folks may not be as . . humorified. If you put ‘toilet terms’ in the form of a joke or story, you can appeal to both audiences. I’ll give an example later.

Some additional, crucial tips: #1: Repeat the names of your band and band members. The audience is liable to forget. #2: If you are going to talk about yourself, keep it simple. Nobody, but nobody, cares if your band played at the Rootin’ Tootin’ Root Beer pub or won the Kentucky Fried Chicken eating contest for the 11th time! Well, actually, I personally might be interested in hearing about the KFC eating contest, seeing as I still enjoy watching a particular lawnmower infomercial after seeing it over a dozen times. #3) Try your best to tailor your patter to your audience; for some folks, you may be limited to jingling your car keys.

So that's that for this month. If you would like to see all of my articles, you can visit, but whatever you do, please don’t leave any comments! Now for my joke of the month: An accountant and a banjo player meet each other at the door of an outhouse. The accountant ushers the banjo player inside but the banjo player says, "Oh, it’s OK. Come on in . . . pause . . . it’s a two-holer. (Wait for laughter.) So they are both in there taking care of business, and as the banjo player pulls up his pants . . . another pause (young kids will probably laugh at the word "pants") . . some coins fall out of his pocket and into the hole . . . well, the ‘drink’ by now. (Wait for groans.) So the guy reaches for his case, pulls out his banjo, and promptly drops it down the hole. The accountant exclaims, "What did you do that for?!?" The banjo player replies, "Well, I ain’t goin’ down there for just thirty-five cents." HEEYYYOOOO!!! That's enough.
Posted:  9/13/2007

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