Message to Audiences: Put Away Your Phone During Performance

Fans who bought tickets to see comedian Chris Rock perform Thursday night at the Toyota Music Factory in Irving had a choice — either leave their cell phones in the car, or have them placed in a locking pouch.

"This is their art that they're protecting, and so I think that they have a right to protect," said Tricia Miller, of The Colony, who kept her phone sealed in the pouch during the performance.

Others chose to leave their phones in the car.


The latest news from around North Texas.

Siblings Share Message of Love

Hair Care Tips During Salon Shut Downs

"I do understand them wanting to make sure that their performances are secured, and not bootlegged, and not put out on the internet," said Beverly Dunn, of Dallas. "So I do understand the approach of it, but it just seems to be over policing to me."

A San Francisco company called Yondr provides the pouches, which allow audience members to keep the phones with them during the performance.

But before they can use the phones, they must leave the performance hall to have the pouch unlocked.

"I think it's a good idea," said Anthony Johnson, of Dallas. "A lot of people are recording, a lot of people can bootleg those things nowadays, so I can certainly understand it."

Comedian Dave Chappelle started using the Yondr pouches about two years ago, and other artists — including Chris Rock — have since followed.

At the Alamo Draft House Cinema, there are no locking pouches, but the cinema has always had a policy of no phones allowed during a showing. Moviegoers must step outside the theater to use their devices or risk being ejected without a refund.

"I like that. I like that you don't have to worry about bright screens, or like interruptions or things like that. I enjoy the movie better," said Melissa Alonzo, of Dallas.

"I know you want to capture memories and all that, but if you put away the phone you're actually in the moment, you are there," added Alonzo's husband, Martin Alonzo.

Several of the moviegoers say it only makes sense for comedians to want phones put away.

"With comedians, they want to keep their material more, so they don't want it going on YouTube two seconds after they perform it. So, I think that for those, it does benefit them in the long run," said Gary Sandoval, of Dallas.

"I hope that it does become a trend," said James Wallace, a manager at Alamo Draft House Cinema.

"You go to a lot of different performing arts spaces — whether it be a concert, or a play or a movie — and it's almost like more people are watching it through their phone rather than just watching what's going on in front of them," Wallace added. "I hope that there is a movement back to everyone putting their cell phones away and just enjoying it."

Contact Us