The Five Worst Kinds Of Broadway Board Commenters


Something about proximity to the theater world–or wanting proximity to it–makes people extra crazy and dramatic sometimes.

Here are the five most Tony-deserving types of annoyances that lurk on the show boards that I happen to spend half my life on:

(5) The ones who respond to a long, involved comment by smugly pointing out the error buried in it.

“It’s Nina Arianda’s second nomination.” “Rumple was actually a bomb, not a medium hit.” “Only one ‘t’ in Billy Elliot.” “Soundtrack???? It’s called a cast album!!!!!”

(4) The shameless shills who register just so they can write stuff like:

“The musical version of Long Day’s Journey in the basement of the Rat-Tat-Tat Diner on 42nd Street is one of the most breathtaking nights of theater I have ever experienced. The plot moves (it’s a swift five hours), the choreography is the jauntiest since Newsies, and Joanie Spalding is the most dazzling discovery since Streisand, though her accent was a little off in Act Nine. By the way, I am not a shill. If I was, would I have told you about the accent problem?”

(3) The broken records who can never let their irritating opinions rest for one second.

“As I said here five seconds ago, The Death of a Salesman was the biggest disappointment since The Goodbye Girl.” Somehow they managed to shoehorn that point of view into a discussion of how much drinks cost at Jersey Boys. It’s always followed by people moaning “Yes, we know! You’ve said that before!” punctuated by a #5 type reminding, “There’s no ‘The’ in Death of a Salesman.”

(2) The ones who ask obscure head scratchers like, “The Pirate Queen: Anyone know how it changed from previews to opening night?” or “Could Carol Channing do Funny Girl?” With every icebreaker, these nuisances remind one that there is such a thing as too much free time.

(1) The contrary nightmares. These semantic wretches are like the mistake-correctors times a thousand. Their biggest offense is in trying to shout down anyone who dares to leave a negative opinion. Interestingly, their attempt to drown out such critiques is way more negative.

“So in other words, just because you didn’t like Once, you think it’s OK to come here and say you didn’t like it? So I guess all the critics and awards givers should just step aside because you’ve decided to state that you had problems with the show. Well, did you ever stop to realize that maybe it’s you who has the problems and not the show? Have you ever looked in a mirror and figured out why you can’t hop aboard the success train without a fight?”

To which the poor person types, “I was just stating my opinion. Isn’t that what this board is for?”


This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on August 3, 2012

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