An esteemed throwback to vaudevillian show business
days, "the hook
" (typically appearing most like an endlessly-long shepherd's crook
snaking horizontally) is employed to ensnare performers and yank them off to backstage
should the audience begin to weary of them without their awareness (or acknowledgement) or if they begin incorporating "forbidden" topics into their stage show.
If its silent approach is anticipated, the hook can be sidestepped, but hook operators (who are -never- seen even in part) are very good at what they do and should the hook's attentions be evaded for too long it will be replaced shortly with "the Guido" and his friend "the blackjack."
In traditional (especially Warner Brothers) animation, the hook's efficiency is such that the unwanted on-stage presence usually keeps singing and dancing, briefly, even as the hook carries them off in a gust of wind. Some moments later, the erstwhile performer's hat and baton will clatter to the ground as the MC is already introducing the next act.
My mother had a few stories about the hook that she used to tell me as a small child, and I'd like to relate my favorite of these to you. You see, it seems one time my great-uncle, who wa-- URK! --