General Question

RareDenver's avatar

What does this say about the USA vs the UK?

Asked by RareDenver (13097 points ) June 18th, 2011

I’ve noticed on America’s Got Talent that the audience are very quick and very vocal to “off” a bad act, whereas on Britain’s Got Talent the audience tend to let an embarrassing act go on till the bitter end whilst laughing amongst themselves.

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15 Answers

WasCy's avatar

Obviously it’s a cultural difference, but part of it has been “developed” in the US.

For example, this is the modus operandi of the Apollo Theater in Harlem, where one-off beginning talent acts were given a short leash and then either “appreciated” all through the act, or hooted off the stage quickly.

The Gong Show introduced that method to a national audience and institutionalized it.

rebbel's avatar

The Brits almost invented politeness, hence their letting the bad act struggle to the end.

trickface's avatar

@rebbel made the point I was trying to make, but I couldn’t finish my answer without it sounding offensive, so thanks man.

ucme's avatar

I’ve never really watched the programme that much, but from what the wife tells me this isn’t neccessarily the case. According to my beloved, the brit crowd give bad acts the old heave-ho pretty damn quickly. Shouting “off, off” like they were gladiators.
As for the yanks, well they sit through WWE…....nuff said ;¬}

RareDenver's avatar

@ucme I’m not saying it never happens on the British show, it’s just that it happens a lot more often on the American one and when it does it comes quickly, the act barely have a chance to get going it seems.

@rebbel I’m not sure it’s polite to sit and let someone embarrass themselves whilst the whole audience laugh

ucme's avatar

If that is sometimes the case i’m betting politeness is the last thing on their minds.
Probably more like “let the fuckers squirm!” A cynical but perceptive bunch.

FutureMemory's avatar

@RareDenver I’m pretty sure live tv audiences are heavily coached on how to react, whether it’s American or British.

RareDenver's avatar

@FutureMemory very good point Jerry, Jerry, Jerry

lillycoyote's avatar

Then again there’s the British Parliament… the House of Commons is a tough room… it’s good thing none of the Got Talent contestants from either side of the pond have to perform in front of them. :-)

filmfann's avatar

Brits seem to know how to behave themselves, with the exception of after Soccer matches.

rachelnmusil's avatar

I think you could look at it one of two ways.
Either the Brits are too polite to say anything about a bad performance or they are reveling in it being funny or embarrassing, and the Americans are either being rude or are embarrassed for that person and want it to stop.
It’s hard to say without asking all of the audience members. It’s probably a bit of both.

Blondesjon's avatar

I think the “quickly offing a bad act” thing started back when we offed King George and we haven’t looked back since.

ucme's avatar

Off topic & in general, but worthy of a mention I feel. @filmfann‘s remark about the behaviour of football fans in Britain is 20/30 years out of date. Wembley being given the champions league final in 2013, just 2 years after hosting this years is testament to that. It needed saying!

JLeslie's avatar

Maybe because the US has the history of the Gong Show? Not sure if the UK ever had that exported to them, or their own version. I don’t think it is necessarily more polite to snicker while letting someone continue. I am sure the audience is told what to do to some extent, as someone mentioned above.

Rheto_Ric's avatar

The UK audience will watch a bad act and indeed cheer them on because a bad act can be as entertaining as a good act. UK audiences embrace diversity.
The American audience will call for the head of a bad act because they have a much narrower idea of what entertainment is. They like winning, and can’t bare losers.

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