Talent Show Ideas
May 13, 2015 4:23 AM   Subscribe

I need ideas for a talent show that a friend hosts. It's just for fun, more of an excuse to get a bunch of different people together and have a few drinks, but I would prefer not to look like a complete fool. Last year I read a few sections of my favourite Terry Pratchett book (The Last Continent) but I can't do that again (if nothing else it would end with me in tears) ... this year I need some ideas (restrictions and more information inside).

To give you some idea, last year included but was not limited to a pole dance (athletic not stripping), a guided wine tasting, a rope tying display, one guy play the piano, another telling dirty (but not sexism) jokes and a magic show. This year (that I know of, it's fairly secretive) so far have an accordion display and a cheese making and tasting show.

It's all adults and we shall be drinking, risque is fine but not offensive (though we are all Aussies, so it takes a bit too be offensive). It's a few weeks away so I can get supplies and practice.

I am a bit of an introvert (so I would prefer something that didn't require the audience to participate, incase they dont), I cannot sing, or play an instrument so that's out. I have a science background (physics) so something along that lines would be cool but the rest of the group is fairly scientific literate so basic experiments are out and we will be drinking so I wouldn't want anything too dangerous (though I could go first to minimise risk). Food or drink ideas would also be interesting but at this point throw any ideas at me!

Above all, it's about fun, it's not serious but as I said above I would prefer not too look like a complete fool :-)
posted by Lesium to Grab Bag (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: Forgot to mention, something involving a Terry Pratchett would also fantastic but probably not just a reading as I did that last year (and tears)
posted by Lesium at 4:27 AM on May 13, 2015

Cheesy perhaps, but could you get a simple kit (even a kid's kit!) and do magic tricks?
posted by easily confused at 4:56 AM on May 13, 2015

A puppet show? The more homespun the better.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 5:06 AM on May 13, 2015

How 'bout science-based magic tricks where you go on to explain the chemistry or physics involved. Fun with liquid nitrogen is a whole genre on its own. There are many YouTube videos also showing science tricks/explanations plus others based on optical illusions and perception errors. Perhaps you could humorously recreate the science fair tropes of our youth, e.g., make a volcano, mix Mentos and Diet Coke, play with dry ice, etc. Build a trebuchet and launch a pumpkin or basketball.
posted by carmicha at 5:47 AM on May 13, 2015

Maybe make a Drunk History (Drunk Physics!!! Drunk Universe! Drunk Sagan!) video of yourself, or yourself and a few friends, and play it at the party? (Make a friend dress up as a black hole somehow, and other friends get "sucked in" while you idiotically narrate how all this works?)

Or do it live, if it's not terrifying, with like a really shitty powerpoint presentation and a laser pointer?

YMMV on willingness to be drunk for hilarious science.
posted by functionequalsform at 7:20 AM on May 13, 2015

My dad taught me the "one hen, two ducks" memory test, which both he and I have done successfully in talent shows. It's actually a radio announcer's enunciation test. For a talent show, you get a volunteer up from the audience (you just need one person) and give them the memory test. Start by asking them to repeat "one hen", then "one hen, two ducks", then "one hen, two ducks, three..." and so on. When they fail, usually around item five or six, the wow moment is you reciting the whole thing top speed.

Here's the version I know:
One hen.
Two ducks.
Three sqwauking geese.
Four limerick oysters.
Five corpulent corpuscles.
Six pairs of Don Alverso's tweezers.
Seven thousand Macedonian warriors, dressed in full battle array.
Eight brass monkeys, found in the ancient, sacred crypts of Egypt.
Nine sympathetic, apathetic, diabetic old men on roller skates, with a marked propensity towards procrastination and sloth.
Ten lyrical, spherical, diabolical denizens of the deep who haul stall around the corner of the quivery of the quay, all at the same time.
posted by snorkmaiden at 8:51 AM on May 13, 2015

What about something like Cup Stacking, where you rhythmically set up and take down patterned stacks of cups? It's pretty easy to learn. You could set it to a song if you want to get fancy - make the song as fast or slow as you are with the cups.

Do a bit of showmanship, then go way out there and come up with a recitation relating to towers in Terry Pratchett books while you put up and take down your stacks of cups. I've never read the books, but googling shows that Clacks are a series of towers on hills that are used for semaphore signalling, so maybe make up a story about a signal technician climbing the first tower (while you build it with cups) and the signal goes from there to the second (while you build the second tower) and then it goes to the third (while you dismantle the first stack and set it up on the far side of the second). If you want all the crying feels, the signal being transmitted could be the message about Pratchett's death being sent throughout his world.

Or something along those lines.
posted by CathyG at 10:21 AM on May 13, 2015

Learn and recite a poem? If you want something science-y maybe John Updike's poem about neutrinos.
posted by crocomancer at 12:18 PM on May 13, 2015 [1 favorite]

I'm seconding going to youtube and searching for "science tricks" or "bar tricks". There should be something interesting enough for a talent show if you spend a little time going through some videos.
posted by stray thoughts at 4:09 AM on May 19, 2015

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