People often say that children are the hardest audience to work with…they’re not wrong! If you’re performing for adults, they’ll normally sit nicely and politely clap, even if they think you’re about as entertaining as a table leg. Children on the other hand will ALWAYS let you now what they think. I remember watching a video on an entertainer’s website before I started as Mr Banana Head. After after a minute a child shouted out, “This is really boring.” It scared the hell out of me but actually helped as I’ve always tried to ensure those words are never uttered at one of my parties. I do it by talking quickly for two hours without stopping so no-one can get a word in edgeways.
That’s not totally true, I just put everything of myself into every party and approach every one as if it was my last. That’s why come Sunday evening I’m absolutely finished and don’t surface again until Tuesday lunchtime. I also do my absolute upmost to make it as entertaining and inclusive as possible for every single child. That said, I am still interrupted at almost every party, thankfully however not by comments about being boring. Instead, it will be something different every time, sometimes random, sometimes bizarre but always entertaining in their own way. In honour of this, here is my list, (in no particular order) of the top 5 interruptions at a Mr Banana Head party.
The Gymnast: This was only last week which is what gave me the idea for the post. I was in the middle of my routine with Mango and a girl at the front shouted out, “Mr Banana Head, look, I can do the crab.” She then proceeded to contort herself into the crab position whilst inadvertently punching and kicking everyone close to her. She then stayed there whilst all I could reply with was, “Well done, that’s very impressive.” I wanted to ask what else she could do but realised that would be a huge mistake that would end in carnage!
Monty Python: This is actually my personal favourite and I think always will be. I had done Charlotte’s party a few weeks previously and I saw her again at a friend’s party. Again, part way through my routine with Mango, with the laughter dying down after he’d hit me on the head with a comb she stands up. “Look Mr Banana Head, I can do a silly walk.” She then preceded to walk up and down the hall and around the children doing the funniest and freakiest walks I’d ever seen. John Cleese would have been proud. It was partly how random it was and also how funny I found it that makes it my fave.
Spider-Man Pants: Although not strictly an interruption this has to make the list. I had two birthday boys up to help me and asked if their favourites were Rapunzel and Cinderella? They both shouted “NO” so I asked if they preferred things like Spider-Man and Batman. They nodded and one of them proceeded to pull down his trousers to show me and everyone else that he was wearing Spider-Man pants. His friend then puled his trousers down to show us all that he was wearing………normal pants. I actually wrote a separate post about this a couple of years ago as it made me laugh so much.
Pooh Time: I was just about to pour some milk into a dad’s head when a boy stood up and very loudly told me, “Mr Banana Head, I did a really big pooh before.” I just replied with, “That’s nice”, to avoid further disclosures but it was to no avail. “Sometimes my poohs are small but his one was so big.” In focusing on him I did accidentally spill a bit of milk on the dad but fortunately he didn’t sue me for emotional distress.
The Nose: The subject of my nose does come up a lot but one particular observation stands out. Again, as I was about to pour the milk a girl shouts out REALLY loudly, “Mr Banana Head, why is your nose so big?” Everyone laughed embarrassingly but I replied with, “Well, to be fair it is quite big. It’s just part of me and noses come in all different shapes and sizes.” I then went on to explain that I accept and love myself as I am and that’s really important. I was hoping those words would resonate and stay with her, guiding her through life. She paused, looked at me thoughtfully and finally said, “Yes but why is it so big?” One day my words of wisdom to get through and help someone on their life journey.
So there you go, I love the interruptions although they can make my job more challenging. As I’ve said lots of times previously, I absolutely love the unpredictability of children and the fact that they have no filter, particularly when they’re young. I’d never change that and look forward to today’s outbursts at Paddy and Ava’s parties.
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