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Frank: I see you shiver with antici...
—callback for The Rocky Horror Picture Show
When the audience for a broadcast or performance are invited to participate in some way. This can include:
- Taking part in a public vote which influences the show.
- Contacting a show and commenting on a topic, or making song requests
- Inviting audience members on-stage, or having the cast or presenters go into the Studio Audience.
- Interviewing audience members, or calling someone up to play a game.
A Super-Trope to Official Fan-Submitted Content, Caption Contest, and Audience Participation Song. Usually involves No Fourth Wall. Depending on the audience, can lead to Audience Participation Failure.
Anime and Manga
- Ever since the movie for Yes! Pretty Cure 5, the Pretty Cure movies have had the Miracle Lights, basic flashlight-like toys that are given to the audience (mostly the kids) to use. The movies always start out by telling them what the Miracle Lights are for and what not to do with them (shine them in your eyes, pull on another's Light, swing them around, and, in the case of the Fresh Pretty Cure movie, launch them into space.) They're used near the very end of each movie, the mascots urging the children to shine the lights and give the heroines their movie-only Super Mode to save the day.
- A few movies do tend to subvert these a bit - the Pretty Cure All Stars movies nor the Heartcatch Pretty Cure movie doesn't use the intro segments of the Lights and the Fresh Pretty Cure movie has main character Love Momozono / Cure Peach urge the children on (the mascots had been separated from the other Cures at that point)
- The author cuttingmoon57 once had a poll where fans can decide the size of the katana Luso would get in The Tainted Grimoire.
- The Blues Brothers involves this in Australia, specifically the Valhalla theater in Melbourne, where the audience lovingly recite the dialogue, dress up as their favorite characters, throw items such as dry toast at the screen, and dance in the aisles to the movie's awesome soundtrack. It's an awesome experience.
- The Rocky Horror Picture Show redefined audience participation, to the point that there's practically an entire script for what to yell at the actors and what props to throw. The whole thing started when an audience member responded to Janet using a newspaper to protect herself from the rain by yelling, "Buy an umbrella, you cheap bitch!" It just crescendoed from there.
- Most theaters that regularly show the movie also have a cast of (volunteer) live actors who'll perform in front of and generally engage the viewers as the film is shown, either adhering to the original audience script or (more commonly) making up new jokes all the time, in tune with pop culture and current events. You're almost guaranteed never to see the same exact Rocky twice.
- Repo! The Genetic Opera shadowcasts run on audience participation. The show encourages audience members to stand up and sing during certain key songs (We Started This Op'ra Shit!) or to wave/throw certain props (such as blue glow-sticks for Zydrate containers) at other key moments. The show also has a number of call-backs delivered in the Mystery Science Theater 3000 tradition.
- More recently, the 2003 film The Room has elicited this kind of response, albeit not the director's intention. Complete with people throwing plastic spoons, roses and footballs at the screen. See here.
- 13 Street: Last Call is a film project, wherein you, the audience submit your cellphone number, and the software randomly picks a number and calls it. Throughout the film, the audience member speaks to the protagonist via voice recognition, helping her make vital decisions that drive the film's plot.
- Anyone who has ever been to a movie theater in India can testify that this is the whole point in watching a Bollywood movie.
Live Action TV
- Many game and reality shows use this in various ways. They may get to influence the show by being a gameplay mechanic to assist the main contestant or voting for someone to be eliminated/saved/etc. Or even better, all of the contestants on a show may just be plucked from the audience by default (See The Price Is Right, Truth or Consequences and Let's Make a Deal for examples)
- Community had audience participation of the voting variety. Fans designed their own Greendale flags and then voted for one to become official, the winning one was introduced in "Basic Rocket Science" and the voting was written into the plot as having been done by Greendale students.
- In-universe, a Klingon Opera audience knows all the songs, and any member might get called on to play any part at any time.
- The cast of Whose Line Is It Anyway gets their improv suggestions from the audience.
- Sports Nation is built around audience participation via the polls in which the audience votes on ESPN's SportsNation website, for which the show was named.
- In one episode of Call My Bluff, Barry Cryer gets the audience involved in his definition, much to the astonishment of Sandi Toksvig:
Sandi: I can't believe you got Audience Participation from this lot. I always thought they were just a Laugh Track!
- Dr. Oz likes to get his audience involved. At least one lucky member gets to be the "assistant of the day", and sometimes the front row or even the whole studio gets in on something (heaven help you if it's a new dance)
- Studio 3 is a quirky between-shows program for Australia's kids' channel ABC 3. As such, in includes a lot of audience participation, such as chances for kids to be part of the show by sending in videos, photos, or popping up on the show's webcam.
- Adam Hills in Gordon Street Tonight has Audience Participation to the hilt. The audience are asked to fill in a questionaire before the show begins and Hills uses the answers in the show, including calling specific people out. The show sometimes revisits in later shpws past audience members, such an Anglican minister who willingly adopted the title "The Church Of The Latter Day Geek" for her own church (much to Hill's surprise).
- One Monty Python sketch ("The Cannibal Undertaker") was so offensive, the audience rushed the stage in protest. Actually, the BBC wouldn't let the guys do the sketch w/o some sort of negative consequences, so they went all out; the audience participation was what allowed the sketch to air. In fact, if you watch the scene, you'll notice that two of the people leading the charge are Terry Gilliam and scriptwriter Ian Davidson.
- This was how That '70s Show was originally going to have its title decided. The audience for the test screening were to choose between the two working titles, Teenage Wasteland and The Kids Are Alright. But the audience came out of the test screening refering to it as "That 70's Show" and the name stuck.
- If none of the panelists on QI know the answer, Stephen Fry will sometimes ask the audience- and with several hundred people in, usually some of them do know. The audience have thus won several episodes.
- The Thursday Next series plays with this in the first book, The Eyre Affair. Thursday and Landen attend a long-running production of Richard III which involves cast members being drawn from the audience, shouted call-and-response from the audience, and pun-based props.
- In The Dark Sleep, Bobbi's stage performance as Shanghai Lil is prefaced by her costar staggering around the nightclub, apparently drunk, and asking the clientele if anyone has seen his girl Lil.
- Paul and Storm are probably the Rocky Horror of musical comedians; half of their songs just won't work live without banter with the audience. One of their songs, "The Captain's Wife's Lament", is regularly side tracked by joking with the audience and the general consensus is that if it runs under ten minutes, you've been short-changed (the studio version clocks in 2:25; the record is 35 minutes).
- My Chemical Romance are encouraging their fans to do this with the universe based on the new album.
- This is the basis of an Audience Participation Song.
- The Protomen have numerous songs where the audience is encouraged to clap along and chant or sing certain parts. Some key examples are the "WE HAVE CONTROL. WE KEEP YOU SAFE. WE ARE YOUR HOPE," in Will of One, and the back-up in Breaking Out.
- Elvis Costello had an entire audience participation tour back in 1986, and brought it back again in 2011. Called "The Revolver Tour", it featured a giant carnival-style wheel that audience members would spin to determine which song Elvis would play next.
- Subverted by Tom Lehrer in 'The Irish Ballad', which parodies folk music in general:
- 'One of the more important aspects of public folk singing is audience participation, and this happens to be a good song for group singing, so if any of you feel like joining in with me on this song, I'd apreciate it if you would leave, right now!'
- Weezer did this with the Hootenanny Tour, in which audience members were encouraged to bring instruments along and play along with the band.
- Professional wrestling lives and dies on this form of audience participation; a suitably "hot" crowd is practically a character in the show.
- So much so that Dave Meltzer, of Wrestling Observer fame, factors the crowd into his ratings of matches on his five-star scale. Many matches have been elevated from good to great because of a hot crowd.
- I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue has audience participation in the intro to the Pick-Up Song round. The chairman typically says "...and points mean prizes. What do points mean?" and the audience shout back "PRIZES!" Due to this being such a well-known catchphrase, they've taken to subverting it.
Humph: And points mean Gatwick Airport. What do points mean?
Jack: ...And points mean prizes. What do idiots shout?
- The classic example is probably Peter Pan demanding that the audience clap to restore Tinkerbell, which makes this Older Than Radio.
- Ayn Rand's Night of January 16th had a jury selected from the audience to judge the defendant guilty or innocent at the end of the play.
- Most Pantomime performances involve their audience at some point.
- The Bible: The Complete Word of God (abridged) selects six couples from the audience to play the animals on Noah's Ark. The rest of the audience plays the drowning sinners.
- At one point in Seussical, which doubles as a Crowning Moment of Funny:
- Cirque Du Soleil often involves the audience into its acts.
- Drood is built on this trope. Since the source material was never completed, the audience decides the identity of one mysterious character, who the murderer is, and which two characters spontaneously fall in love.
- Moo with me.
- Vanities, while the girls are practicing cheers in the first scene: "Gimme a T.(T!) Gimme an I.(I!) Gimme a G.(G!) Gimme an E.(E!) Gimme an R.(R!) Gime an S.(S!) Put 'em together and whaddaya get? (Tigers!)"
- In Passing Strange, we have characters running through the audience and audience members being sung at.
- The Cirque Du Soleil show Mystere has a bit before the start in which clowns lead audience members all around the room, to every place but where they need to be seated. And of course, there are audience-interaction segments during the actual show as well.
- The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee has audience members join in the spelling.
- During the "Money" song in Avenue Q, the cast runs out into the aisle with buckets and hats asking for money to build Kate's Monstersorri school. All of the money ends up being donated to Broadway Cares: Equity Fights AIDS.
- Modern Luv: "Turn down the lights, take out your cell phones...", in the final number.
Stand Up Comedy
- Jim Gaffigan is known to do something similar to this, while not actually having the audience participate, but anticipating what they're probably thinking. You can tell he's doing this when he does a Stage Whisper.
- "Is he going to whisper to himself after every joke?"
- Jeff Dunham also will answer questions from the audience using Walter.
- Ross Noble's entire act will be based primarily around the audience's action in the first few minutes, as well as the surroundings of the theater at the time. You are guarunteed to never see the same show twice, and it's triply funny if you see it live.
- About half of Dara Ó Briain's act consists of him talking to select audience members.
- Promoters pay attention: even if a comic at your venue is on this list, or is especially good at audience back-and-forth, please do not advertise in a way that encourages hecklers.
- As a general example, crowd-funded games (such as those on Kickstarter) often involve pledge-participation. In addition to donation gifts for different levels of support, many studios will also poll their backers as to some of the content that will be going into the game. Other times, they will promise to include certain additional features if the project meets certain stretch goals, which can often help drum up a surge of further funding for the project.
- Metal Gear Solid pulls off a little bit of this when fighting the FOXHOUND member Psycho Mantis. He asks the player to place their controller on the floor for a real-life demonstration of his psionic abilities, then the game activates the controller's rumble function to make it seem as if Psycho Mantis is moving it around the floor.
- The main characters of Voices can hear the readers' forum posts in their heads.
- Request Comics has this as a central conceit: readers can request ideas for Ben Heaton to make webcomics out of.
- Tempts Fate, the hero of the side-comic to Goblins, is sometimes indirectly aware of the audience's guesses to the riddles he must solve. One time he says "I bet if a lot of people made a guess, they would say..." another time he states that "Over 400 people wrote [the answer to the riddle] on the door.."
- Homestar Runner: Strong Bad Emails and annual Halloween costume contests.
- The Jupiter Palladium has fan characters which appear from time to time
- Books Don't Work Here Has No Fourth Wall and all the Non-Player Character are afraid of what would happen if the audience stopped reading the comic. because of this anyone who is an avatar of someone in the real world is treated as a first class citizen, and live in the lap of luxury. Readers who donate to the comic can request an avatar of themselves.
- Gronkh often lets his viewers decide what to do next in his Let's Plays.
- Psycomedia starts every episode with a feedback section known as backfeeding and will often tackle topics based on requests
- The Simpsons had, at the end of season 22, a vote to decide whether Ned Flanders and Edna Krabappel should get together. They did.