Articles, Blog

Beware the Executioner at Harlem’s Apollo Theater

♪ I’ve been living with
drama, I’m on my knees ♪ ♪ Can you pray for me, Mama ♪ – I’ve been kicking people
off the Apollo stage, for what, 31 years? If you’re not good enough,
you get booed off the stage. (laughs)
The audience love it. ♪ So good, so good, not so good ♪ I’m C.P. Lacey, the executioner at the world famous Apollo Theater. All together now, “Boo!” (laughing) Welcome to the Apollo
Amateur Night, are you ready? Amateur Night at the Apollo
is the granddaddy to all of these shows that you look at today: “X-Factor,” “America’s Got
Talent,” “American Idol.” You come and you sing or you
dance or you do your magic or tell a joke or poem, and
the audience will decide whether you go on to the next level or whether you get booed off of the stage. That’s where I come in, grrrr! (upbeat music) My role is to educate
you about your own talent or lack thereof. Our booing policy is this: There is a boo here, a boo
there, a boo here, then the boos just get paramount. We have a noise meter back stage, and when it reaches a certain boo level, the next thing you know there is a siren, enter the executioner to kick you off of my stage. (audience applauding) The executioner character
changes after every execution. At the top of the show,
I’ll gong someone off as Michael Jackson ♪ You’ve been hit by,
you’ve been struck by ♪ ♪ A boo criminal ♪ – The Godfather of Soul, James Brown ♪ So true, so true, you just got a boo ♪ ♪ Da da da da, hey, hit me ♪ Prince. ♪ Di di di did boo ♪ The Apollo Theater is a place
where we, as African Americans could go and perform. Folks like Ella Fitzgerald,
Sammy Davis, Jr., James Brown, and Lauren Hill have
graced the Apollo stage. I don’t enjoy kicking people
off the stage, per se. If time allows, I try to get
to the person who got booed off the stage, and just encourage
them and console them. Go back to the woodshed, learn
your craft, and come back. And when you’re very, very
good, we’ll give you the claps. The Apollo always invites you
to come back and try again. (audience applauding and cheering) – Thank you, man, thank you Apollo! – Every week, without fail, when they say, “Here is the executioner
saying goodnight to you folks, thanks for coming in,” there’s always someone that
goes, “Boo, I hate you!” (laughs) They just love being a part
of the Apollo audience. (audience applauding)


  1. kght222 Author

    apollo theater amateur night, where acts come to bomb. if ya get booed off the stage hold your head high and realize that ya just have more work to do, you wouldn't have been on the stage in the first place if there wasn't any value in your performance. they aren't going to put a singer on stage who doesn't know how to sing, they aren't going to put a dancer on stage who doesn't know how to dance. if you are up there on stage you have shown the apollo already that you got some skillz, you just gotta learn how to pay the billz.

  2. Jerry Schwinn Author

    I remember being about 12 years old and watching Lil Wayne in one of his first performances with bird man on Showtime at the Apollo at like 3:00 a.m. He must've been about the same age as me.

  3. O l l Y Author

    Life Lesson
    Because we should be better at what we do and try again. People have their opinion on us.
    That shouldn't stop us.
    Keep trying, until you don't get a single boo! 😉😃

  4. Erick Morales Author

    I literally live 2 blocks from the Apollo Theater and I have never been there before, I know what the show is about but never been interested in attending. I guess is time to give it a try.

  5. Steven Universe Author

    Are they really trying to say that white people stole the concept of a talent show away from them too? Sorry, but I believe talent shows predate the Apollo theatre… just saying


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