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Topic: Bum, poo,wee
Message: Posted by: graemesd (Feb 12, 2005 04:20PM)
Ive used all of these words in my show
I know that the majority of you wiil outraged but they are funny and offend no one and should be used delicately
Message: Posted by: rhinomax (Feb 12, 2005 08:15PM)
No no no
Message: Posted by: NJJ (Feb 12, 2005 09:08PM)
Yes yes yes

Welcome to the Café graemesd, You'll find a lot of prudes here!
Message: Posted by: rhinomax (Feb 12, 2005 09:37PM)
Nick ....prude? that would be a first for me ..... My response simply states no bum, no poo, and no wee, for me (was not that the quandry)

I prefer to leave bathroom humor out of my routine as I perform for children
those who need it to be funny I am sorry if this offends just my humble opinion

People change and society changes and those who do not adapt with it

We can't change others but we can change ourselves.
Message: Posted by: rossmacrae (Feb 13, 2005 12:35AM)
Can I say that anything of the sort needs to be used ADVISEDLY and VERY SPARINGLY?

How many times have you upset, alienated or put off (use what terms you like) one or more members of your audience with such terms used too freely? Weigh that against whatever entertainment value you have gained by using such terms (is there really ... no, REALLY ... much value that you couldn't have gotten as easily some other way?) Which is worth more?

True, there's Bette Midler's famous comment (and I often agree) "Screw 'em if they can't take a joke!"

On the other hand (there's ALWAYS the other hand) there's your duty to serve your audience ... if you're not their servant, why do you bow at their approval?

Is there something you buy with the "naughty" terms that is so essential to have? Then go for it! But if it's just for a cheap laugh when, with a little work, you could have gotten a better one, do the work.
Message: Posted by: NJJ (Feb 13, 2005 02:46AM)
Could agree more!

My two favourite kid's jokes at the moment are

"This is my rabbit Lou. I call her Lou because she drinks out of the Loo." (Loo = toilet)"

My spring wand turns around at the top and then the bottom. The kids scream "NOW ITS SPINNING ON THE BOTTOM" to which I reply. "My bottom's spinning around!?!?!"
Message: Posted by: rossmacrae (Feb 13, 2005 02:54AM)
"Okay, Billy, stand right here beside me and hold this wand ... don't look at me, face your friends, they want to see your face, not your butt."

The "My bottom's spinning around!?!?!" comment ... I used to say "What's wrong with my bottom?" and turn to try to see it ... and keep turning and keep turning, because you can never really see it properly.
Message: Posted by: JB the Clown (Feb 13, 2005 03:48AM)
Bum Poo Wee - Abso loo tlee

I Juggle a beany dog, dinosaur and pear (Real pear not a beany one ;-), attempting to take a bite out of the pear during this dangerous routine. Inevitably I catch the wrong thing " Awwwwww no! I've just bit a Dinos BUM""" etc etc

So much fun

Message: Posted by: graemesd (Feb 13, 2005 03:53AM)
Wow I didn't actually expect to hear some support!
I'm not alone hooray
Message: Posted by: Dennis Michael (Feb 13, 2005 06:56AM)
A friend appears his small dog. In his belt he has a syringe, and as he turns, the dog appears to pee on the front row. It is really funny. And he doesn't tell them its water! (People laugh at the expense of others is a common rule of what's funny)

Although I don't use Bum, poo, wee, this is what rabbits and birds do naturally. If it occurs during a show, I will address it and find the humor in it.

Rather than show a prop empty, there is always something in it. For instance when I use the change bag. I say to the kid assistant, "Notice there is nothing in this bag." and the childs say "Yes there is... Scooby-Do" My response, "Opps I forgot to take Scooby out. This is his where he lives. I forgot to take him for his morning walk... Here's Scooby...Doo-Doo?" Tied to the feet of Scooby with fishing line is fake poop. So when I take out Scooby the Fake poo is dangling.

Poo is funny and all the kids know what it is. It's a quick laugh, groan, moan, oooh, yuk, reaction, and I move on with using the bag. ("Even Scooby like to play tricks on me...it's fake!")

The gag acts as a transition and reason for using the Change Bag.
Message: Posted by: p.b.jones (Feb 13, 2005 08:22AM)
A friend appears his small dog. In his belt he has a syringe, and as he turns, the dog appears to pee on the front row. It is really funny. And he doesn't tell them its water! (People laugh at the expense of others is a common rule of what's funny)

Yeah my dog puppet does a similar thing !

Message: Posted by: prude (Feb 13, 2005 08:36AM)
I cannot believe what I am reading here. Quite disgraceful.
Magic is an art form not a vehicle for low class crudity especially in front of children.

Even the mildest sort of crudity is not suitable because of what Ormond Mc"gill calls the "feeling tone" You lower the dignity of your art and your performance.

The slightest impropriety should never be used in any magic show. Please don't quote to me examples of supposed leading lights that use it in great abundance. As soon as they do that then to me they are no longer artists just purveyors of low class entertainment which appeals to low class people.

I don't approve of this for adults let alone children. You are breaking the suspension of disbelief and presenting yourself as a low class person.

You should keep this sort of lavatory talk to your private conversations if you are the sort of person who indulges in it, but for entertainment purposes in a children's show it should be rigidly eschewed. Even the slightest improper word or crude joke sets a bad example and should plain never be done.

With regard to "dog poo" props I cannot believe what I am reading. I have often suspected that the people who pontificate the most about children's entertainment on here are dreadful performers. Before it was sheer gut feeling. Now I am utterly convinced of it.

No artist in his right mind would use such offensive words and material in a children's show.

Again quite disgraceful and the people who advocate it should be quite ashamed of themselves for degrading themselves and even worse the art of magic.
Message: Posted by: AlmostAmazingJames (Feb 13, 2005 10:45AM)
I assume who ever Prude realy is,he is making fun of all of the uptight magicians round here.
Message: Posted by: rhinomax (Feb 13, 2005 10:46AM)
As a parent of 2 daughters I am always watchfull of what may effect thier charecter

I hope my clientel are as watchfull, and would not like to see the entertainer they hired as a source

I don't see this material as disgraceful just uneccessary and a detraction from profesionality,and betrays the trust my clients current and future have that my act will bring clean and wholesome entertainment to their children
Message: Posted by: Tom Cutts (Feb 13, 2005 11:22AM)
And we wonder why magic has such a poor reputation.

I hope you have permission from the trade mark holder to use Scooby-Doo in your show.
Message: Posted by: rhinomax (Feb 13, 2005 11:32AM)
It is odd to me words like prude and uptight are tossed around this thread as if punitive remarks have been made on this subject

other than Prude (who ever you are) first post (be it satire or opinion)and myself simply stating I don't use it. Most seem to be for it

Den I must admit I am surprised to hear you use rubber poop in kid show

do you then handle it in front of them

my clients expect Comedy and humor in my performance that have the audience howling with laughter. Everything is suitable for all audiences and no unsuitable or risqué material is ever used.

Message: Posted by: glodmagic (Feb 13, 2005 12:27PM)
Disney gets away with it in every film they make.
Nick and the Cartoon network does as well.
Films like Shrek are loaded with this type of humor.

You go Den, great idea and I'll bet they are screaming in laughter!
Message: Posted by: SanCho14jfm (Feb 13, 2005 12:57PM)
But is it bad to use the word "booger" in a show? I think not.
Message: Posted by: Rupert Bair (Feb 13, 2005 12:59PM)
I use Wee all the time.

My puppet tell me he needs a wee. I tell him he can't as were doing a show. He keeps on asking me so eventually I say you can go now, he says 'WEEEEEEEEEEEEEEeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

Message: Posted by: magic4u02 (Feb 13, 2005 01:22PM)
I think it depends upon your character and the character you are trying to portray on stage. If your character is trim and proper and you present magic in this manner, then jokes of the sort mentioned, would not only be out of line, but would not go over well cause it just does not fit. So I guess your first step is finding out who you really are as a performer and who you are not. This can help you determine what might be acceptable.

Kids are indeed familiar with these jokes and use them a lot. They do find it funny and it does get a laugh. I would just be careful as to how far you push it and how often you do it or use a line like this.

The idea of "it's on the bottom.." and then chasing around to look at yours.. is a funny line and would certainly get a laugh without really being rude or considered blue humer.

Find out what works best for you and keep in mind your audience and who you are performing for.

Message: Posted by: rossmacrae (Feb 13, 2005 02:54PM)
Prude - you named yourself aptly. You are WAY too uptight. HOWEVER - (I resisted the urge to begin this sentence with BUT[T]...) - that doesn't mean I support those who go too far the other way.

The "dog poo" props, the "squirting [pee???]" gags - WAY too much, in my opinion.

Well, it's the wide variation in opinion that seems to mark this discussion. In another genre (comedy) we had Lenny Bruce getting arrested so we could all have some freedom for actual public discourse, we had Richard Pryor telling the ABSOLUTE TRUTH about the human condition and he needed the vivid language to do it, and then, once the door was opened by far more talented people, we had idiots like Andrew Dice Clay and Howard Stern just cheapening everything they touch. Where do you draw the line? More to the point, where do YOU draw the line?

As for "Disney gets away with it in every film they make. Films like Shrek are loaded with this type of humor." I've often thought Disney was WAY too fond of butt-jokes (they get old really fast) and Shrek seems to be accepted as a delineator of what's acceptable language for kids (not in my house). My statements may seem odd considering that my whole family watches South Park, but then (1) South Park is one of those "the jester speaks the truth nobody else can" comedies despite its usual gratuitous offensiveness, and (2) my kids know the difference between what they see and how they ought to act.

I once sent back (and actually got a refund from a MAGIC SHOP, miracle of miracles!) for a balloon book that was sold as a delightful routine for grownups, and turned out to consist of a balloon dog with a urinating *** - SOMEBODY must have thought this would be acceptable entertainment for decent people ... but I can't picture anything but a mass exodus of audience and a quick firing following this routine. But, gosh darn it, it just goes to show the variation in judgments among otherwise reasonable people - I'm sure there are one or more people that go to the same church as we do, that have their clock-radio set to Howard Stern every morning, too!
Message: Posted by: Bill Scarlett (Feb 13, 2005 02:58PM)
Just because Disney and The Cartoon Network get away with it doesn't make it right. In fact, I think it is terrible to be reduced to the lowest form of humor; bathroom talk. C'mon folks, we're grownups, why don't we act like grownups. We can still be silly, joke around and be lots of fun without resorting to potty humor.

As a parent with young children, I will say that if I hired a magician and they started using bathroom humor in my home, I would not be a happy customer. Some parents might not have a problem with it but I would never recommend that magician to my friends.

Sorry if this makes me a prude, but I think there are lots of customers out there like me.
Message: Posted by: JB the Clown (Feb 13, 2005 03:10PM)
I think this whoile thread may be going a little potty <;o)
Message: Posted by: NJJ (Feb 13, 2005 03:55PM)

What 'ranking' of humour do use to decide that bodily functions belong on the lowest rung? Read a bit of shakespeare and you'll find it FULL of this kind of humour.

To me, the lowest form of humour is that that nobody laughs at....toilet humour can OFTEN fit in that catergory if used on the wrong crowd. But kid's will RARELY not laugh at this sort of stuff.

In my academic studies I did quite a bit of research into the nature of humour. Essentially, comedy revolves around taking to mutually exclusive frames of reference and putting them together. Comedy HAS to break the rules! Often the rules are minor (like puns which find new meanings for the SOUNDS of words, breaking the rules of language) However, when you starting break rules around bodyily functions, race, gender etc, you run the risk of stepping too far outside the norm.

Rhinomax - Sorry I implied you were a prude. I was thinking more of other posts in other threads then yours.
Message: Posted by: rhinomax (Feb 13, 2005 05:39PM)
To me the ranking of humour comes from the client who has been trying to quell little Billy or Suesies fascination or preocupation with poopy, farting or whatever(if you have children you know what I mean) and suddenly the hired entertainer is pulling rubber poop from his change bag

We are childrens entertainers the art of magic is our medium. To me rubber poop taints the wounder and beauty of it

Nick no need to appologise I knew where you were coming from

but as there are prudes among us magi consider how many may be among your clients
Message: Posted by: Popo (Feb 13, 2005 06:02PM)
SanCho, You asked if it is bad to use the word booger in a show.No it'snot! Anyway, one joke I always use is that I ask the kids if they always wash their hands after using the bathroom. Most will yell yes but a few will say no. I tell them they should because one time I didn't and when I came out I had Poo on my hand. As I say this I hold up my hand which has a Winnie the Pooh hand puppet on it. The adults laugh harder than the kids!
Message: Posted by: Deke Rivers (Feb 13, 2005 06:09PM)
I can only speak for myself, but I would not hire a performer for my own kids who used those terms. While "offensive" may be a little strong, I think bathroom humor is in particularly poor taste for kids. Just because they use it doesn't mean it's right, and just because it gets a laugh doesn't mean it should be in a show. I think that 20 years of MTV, cable television, and reality TV has made us lower our standards. I'd hate to see them lowered all the way to kids' shows.
Message: Posted by: rhinomax (Feb 13, 2005 06:16PM)
Popo is that pronounced poo-poo :) the poo puppet is funny! As Kyle and Ross and others stated many can pull this stuff off. your routine in its odd way promotes good bathroom hygene. I could never have come up with such a routine. funny inventive but to me still potty talk
Message: Posted by: NJJ (Feb 13, 2005 08:20PM)
I've never had a client complain about my 'potty' humour EVER.

Performers of all sorts tend to be over sensative about what people will and won't find offensive.

The sponge ding dong is the perfect example. A higher percentage of magicians will take umbridge at the ding dong then of the general public. In fact, the public tend to LOVE it!

not that the ding dong is in my kid's routine....

People always talk about 'resorting' to toilet humour....I see it as just another tool in the box for entertaining our audience. You use the right tool for the right job!

Take risks!
Message: Posted by: prude (Feb 13, 2005 08:55PM)
I am sorry. Nothing that is being said here justifies the use of impropriety by so called magicians. I say "so called" because anyone that uses this type of material when presenting magic has absolutely no right to call themselves a magician.

This is not a wind up on my part. I mean every word I say and I am deadly serius about it. I don't care what your "character" is. If your character allows you to use this sort of material then it would behoove you to immediately change that character.

There is utterly no excuse for vulgarity or references to "bottoms" and suchlike.
It lowers the art and dignity of what you do. Anyone that does this is by the very doing of it a bad performer. Playing with dog poo may be fine for jokes with your friends or at the office but is certainly not quality fare for children's entertainment.

We are the practicioners of an ancient and honourable art which has been handed down to us by those who have gone before. We owe it to those upon whose shoulders we now stand to perform it in such a way as to enhance our image as artists not vulgar second rate comedy club entertainers.

If Mr Johnson recieves no complaints about his admitted "toilet humour" I can only say that his audiences think it even if they don't say it. And even if they don't think it there is still no justification for doing it.

Again quite disgraceful. Anyone who advocates the performing of Ding Dongs cannot in all honesty be considered a magician. The first rule is "If in doubt cut it out"
People who used "Ding Dongs" in performance do far more harm to magic than the most ardent exposer.

Again you should all be ashamed of yourselves.
Message: Posted by: Lee Darrow (Feb 14, 2005 01:14AM)
Dignity of the art... Interesting choice of words. Soupy Sales was considered one of the best children's TV entertainers. Clean as a whistle, but FAR from dignified! in fact, his signature gags were the classic pie in the face and having one of his puppets pull him off screen and a fast repeat pucker-pop! sound came up and, when he pulled back on screen, his hair was mussed and he looked at where the puppet had come from and said "Don't kiss!"

Rocky and Bullwinkle actually broke the barrier of adult/child entertainment by doing what I call the "split level" approach - the overt, slapstick comedy for the adults, and the sophisticated jokes and puns for the adults. Exchanges like: Rocky - "Hey Bullwinkle! Do you notice who's not here?" Bullwinkle - "Well, Prince Savanapuma, for one!" alongside gags like Mount Wantchatakea Peak and Upsydaisuim, Gidney and Cloyd and the Kerward Derby prove that children's entertainment doesn't have to be dignified - but it does have to be funny - or at least fun.

Class children's entertainers, like Silly Billy (also a 100% clean act) is far from dignified, Hank Moorehouse's Mr. Bubbles, the same. In fact, many children's entertainers are nowhere near "dignified." Muppets are a perfect example. While some of the human characters are definitely "adults," the Muppets themselves are about as far from dignified as you can get and one, Sam the Eagle, even lampoons those who are overly "dignified" with his incredibly funny stuffed shirt attitude and delivery.

Given that the Muppets and Soupy have all won many prestigious awards, including Newberry Awards, National Library awards and Emmys, I hardly think that dignity is a deciding factor for children's entertainment.

Fun, engaging magic, laughter and a certain level of propriety, certainly, but dignity? Probably not.

Lee Darrow, C.H.
Message: Posted by: p.b.jones (Feb 14, 2005 02:53AM)
As you are the full time performer and seem to be doing really well and most of the critisism is coming from non pro performers, persolally I would go with what works mate bo**cks to any rules, first rule of being a full time pro ... forget the rules!
Message: Posted by: rhinomax (Feb 14, 2005 05:26AM)
Phillip how do you define nonperformer ?

I believe this thread started to discuss the use of this material or not

it seems that those who use it are most threatened by those whom simply do not and state why

I hope my humble opinion has has not offended any one

always a performer

David Anderson (my real name)
Message: Posted by: NJJ (Feb 14, 2005 06:15AM)
David - I'm not threatened by those who not (like yourself) but by those who do not and wish to force others to not use. (i.e. prude aka mark lewis(?) )
Message: Posted by: p.b.jones (Feb 14, 2005 07:13AM)
sorry I never said non performer! I said non pro performer by that I meant performers who do not make thier entire income from magic/performing, I also said "mostly coming from" not that all the critism was from non pro workerrs
Message: Posted by: Paul (Feb 14, 2005 09:03AM)
As for that noble distinguished art of Punch and Judy.....

Yes, bring back the pre pack flat prop days and the artistry of Devant, that's what I say. Did Devant or Robert-Houdin use these words? That's the guide. But then, did childrens magic exist in those days...No it was just magic for all.

How the heck did "Ding Dong" get brought into this "The Little Darlings" thread????

Message: Posted by: Bill Scarlett (Feb 14, 2005 12:15PM)
A magician can be plenty silly and "undignified" and have the kids rolling in the aisles without using potty humor. I'm having a hard time understanding why people don't see that this might hurt their business rather than help it. Plastic poop, peeing puppets, that's just wrong. Doesn't the possibility that you will offend your client make any difference to you?

And thanks to PJ for noting that us part-time professionals ought never have an opinion that clashes with the full-timers. I will go back to my place and try not to step out of line again. I just thought you might be able to learn something. I am not just a magician, I am also a potential customer.
Message: Posted by: NJJ (Feb 14, 2005 03:17PM)
The real question is that hasn't been answered is what is WRONG with potty humour?

If you take out EVERYTHING from your act that MIGHT offend people you'll end up with a very boring routine indeed.

e.g. I've met more people who don't like seeing animals in a magic act then who don't like potty humour.
Message: Posted by: p.b.jones (Feb 14, 2005 03:25PM)
And thanks to PJ for noting that us part-time professionals ought never have an opinion that clashes with the full-timers. I will go back to my place and try not to step out of line again. I just thought you might be able to learn something. I am not just a magician, I am also a potential customer.

I never said you where not entitled to an opinion, just that personaly I would not listen to it! I would go with what works for me, I think Nicholas should go with what works for him. When your living depends on it you do the stuff people pay to see ... politicaly correct or not... just do what works!
Message: Posted by: Kent Wong (Feb 14, 2005 03:36PM)
Wow!! I almost didn't read this thread because the title didn't make much sense. Am I ever glad I did. Whenever, I perform for children I know there is a very fine line that I cannot cross. For instance, I don't use knives in my show out of respect for the kids' safety and in order to ensure that they don't try the same thing at home. I also don't swear in my show because, as a parent, I wouldn't want my kids exposed to that kind of language (plus, I don't normally use that kind of language anyways). At the end of the day, it boils down to the fact that kids may get the idea such behaviour or language is acceptable - if that's not the case, don't use it.

If in doubt, ask the parent who hired you so as to ensure it doesn't offend. After all, they are the ones responsible for the upbringing of their child; they are the ones responsible for the other kids in attendance; and they are the ones who are paying you.

Message: Posted by: NJJ (Feb 14, 2005 04:36PM)
I'd rather see toilet humour in a kid's act then knives and fire. No kid ever died copying toilet humour!
Message: Posted by: AceTony (Feb 14, 2005 04:47PM)
I would NEVER NEVER NEVER use this kind of humour, well that's what it might say in the instruction booklet, but, oh dear, what is this world coming too? Don't listen to these naff comments about not using this material. If it works for you, use it. SIMPLE, USE IT!!!
It looks like the professionals amoungst us can see the potential in the fun side of this humour, but many of those who don't really work that much, with little expeience, decide not to use it. If I was starting out now in magic, instead of having 25 years experience as I do, I would go with the professional views on this topic.
Message: Posted by: Kent Wong (Feb 14, 2005 05:42PM)
On 2005-02-14 17:36, Nicholas J. Johnson wrote:
I'd rather see toilet humour in a kid's act then knives and fire. No kid ever died copying toilet humour!

I agree. However, parents have a responsibility greater than the physical safety of the kids in their care. Moral and social ubringing are also extremely important responsiblities. There may actually be a place for potty humor in some shows, but it is our responsiblity to make sure it is the right place and the right time. Just as there are divergent views among magicians on this forum, there will lso be divergent views among parents. Remember, it is the parents who are inviting us to come into their homes and entertain their children. We are the outsiders and so, we must be respectful of any limits that may or may not exist.

We cannot go blindly on with our performance without taking that reality into account. Otherwise, all we are doing is performing for ourselves instead of serving the needs of our clients. If the parents agree that such humor is acceptable, and if it serves to accent the magic, then by all means use it.

But if you are unsure, then why take the risk of offending the parents? I know that I am capable of performing a very entertaining kids show without potty humor and so, it wouldn't be a huge task for me to simply modify my patter. Maybe not everyone has this ability - but 28 years of performing experience sure helps.

Now, I'm not trying to preach to anybody or to change anyone's mind. This is simply how I conduct MYSELF in the art of magic. Although I have my own opinions in this matter, nothing qualifies me to tell others how to act.

As for magic somehow being some kind of high-brow art form, give me a break. Before Robert Houdin, magicians were outlawed in France as being associated with the lifestyle of vagabonds. Yet, magic has always persevered and today, it has a greater reputation than ever. It is my firm opinion that this popularity is directly as a result of the overwhelming variety of performing styles available today.

So, I do not believe that performing "potty" magic disqualifies anyone as a magician. But, in all circumstances, the magic must come first as the vehicle for entertainment and the performing style must keep the client in mind.

Just my two bits :)
Message: Posted by: magic4u02 (Feb 14, 2005 06:49PM)
In my opwn personal opinion on this, I would do not try and use any type of potty humor or use of fake dog poop or the like. For me and the character I portray on stage, this is just out of acharacter for me.

However, if it works for you and if it fits your own unique character and style, then go for it. I would just hope that your show is not entirely depndant upon this humor only. If your show is dependant upon this brand of humor, then I think it is time to reevaluate yourself and your show.

I find there is many other ways to engage my audiences and get them having fun, laughing and having a great time without having to resort to these gimmicks. This is just me though. If you feel you can use it, people like it and you are not getting complaints from it, then go for it. I just prefer using other techniques.

Message: Posted by: prude (Feb 14, 2005 09:27PM)
I would like to address the point that the esteemed Mr Darrow made about "dignity"
At no time did I say that the performer couldn't be undignified. He can stand on his head and make funny faces as much as he likes for all I care. I merely stated that VULGARITY lowers the dignity of the ART.

And as for the silly notion that magic isn't an art form I can assure you all that it IS. I will certainly admit that not one performer in a hundred actually performs or looks at it in that way but art form it is. With regard to magicians being ill regarded in Robert Houdin's day I don't doubt it. I expect there were just as many incompetents around then as there are now. Hopefully they were somewhat less vulgar.

Magic has gone down the drain in recent years what with "performers" using insult humour, vulgarity, politically incorrect patter and even treating audience volunteers badly.

I have no idea what the relevance of being a professional has to do with this matter. However I agree with Mr Scarlett and I am a full time professional magician. If I am not deemed suitable then perhaps I should mention John Calvert who is well known for his antagonism to unseemliness on stage. Surely nobody in their right mind would accuse Mr Calvert of not being a professional but he seems to have managed to have a career spanning several decades without having had to utter one vulgar word or make one tasteless joke.

However it doesn't matter anyway whether you do magic for money or not. Art is something with which money has no concern. You either do things the right way or you don't. Young Mr Johnson with his talk of "Ding Dongs" certainly doesn't. I am afraid this young man has rather a lot to learn. Let us hope he does so quickly before he taints the art further.

He may be getting support from Wales. However I would simply say that Mr Jones laudable though he may be rather reminds me of the professional magicians decried in "Our Magic": who call themselves "perfeshanals" but perform in a rough and ready manner.

Vulgar and low class humour may be perfectly acceptable entertainment in certain British "cabaret" venues. However it is hardly class entertainment and it lowers the dignity of the art form and equates magicians with second rate low class entertainment which is more suited to the vulgar comedy club environment.

Victor Farelli once said "anyone can raise a vulgar laugh" There is really nothing clever about it. Any fool can do it and most fools do. It takes a good entertainer who can hold an audience without resorting to vulgarity.

This thread specifically applies to children's work. How anyone can even conceive of this type of "humour" for children is beyond me.

The "tone" of what you do is very important. It reveals what kind of person you are. One trifling vulgarity shows that you are the sort of person who talks like that all the time. You may get a temporary vulgar laugh but you will have done yourself and your art damage.

Message: Posted by: rossmacrae (Feb 14, 2005 09:43PM)
"Young Mr Johnson with his talk of "Ding Dongs" certainly doesn't. I am afraid this young man has rather a lot to learn. Let us hope he does so quickly before he taints the art further. Ding dongs indeed."

Actually, I opened the door to that - and the "Ding Dong" wasn't what I was referring to (but now that you mention it, I wouldn't perform THAT either!)

I was making an example of a balloon book I had sent back - directions to "table hop" making a balloon dog with a "functioning" male member. I thought it was hideous in concept and unthinkable as material for anyone's performance, I returned it and to my great surprise I got my money back.
Message: Posted by: itsmagic (Feb 14, 2005 10:19PM)
Certain kind of humor may not be appropriate for certain age groups or audience groups. A group of 4-7 year olds may find certain things funny, whereas a group of 11-14 year olds may not. I think we should be cognizant of our audience's tastes.

Having said that, certain performers are known for their brand of humor and audiences pay to experience that kind of humor.

Andrew Dice Clay doesn't perform for a bunch of 4-7 year olds, nor would parents allow their kids to witness his performance. On the other hand, Andrew Dice Clay's fans may or may not wish to watch a "prude" perform magic. Yes, the "prude" magician may be entertaining and even funny without "vulgarity," but must EVERYONE be subjected to experience the same kind of humour or entertainment style?
Message: Posted by: Lee Darrow (Feb 15, 2005 01:06AM)
Okay, I stand clarified on the dignified issue. No problem - and I agree on the vulgarity issue as well.

As for the Ding Dong - Well I use a Square Circle and produce about a dozen Hostess Ding Dong cakes from it and I completely fail to see what's wrong with that. As Eddie Izzard asks in his shows "Cake or Death?" :lol: :lol: :lol:

Lee Darrow, C.H.
Message: Posted by: p.b.jones (Feb 15, 2005 02:48AM)
I would not use Ding dong Either, but I think the words Bum , Poo, wee which we started this thread about are not in that league and I do not see them as rude, vulgar or offensive. Though I use none of these words in my act as I said my puppet dog does pee on the kids and will continue to do so.
as to wether I am " laudable though he may be rather reminds me of the professional magicians decried in "Our Magic": who call themselves "perfeshanals" but perform in a rough and ready manner."
I would rather leave to the people who pay me to decide .
Message: Posted by: ThePartyMagician (Feb 15, 2005 02:51AM)
If in doubt, ask the parent who hired you so as to ensure it doesn't offend. After all, they are the ones responsible for the upbringing of their child; they are the ones responsible for the other kids in attendance; and they are the ones who are paying you.

That my friends is the "secret" - it doesn't matter what WE may think is acceptable. Our clients (ie. the ones actually paying our fee!) are the ones who we should be thinking about here.

If the parents are okay with that kind of humour - then you can (not 'must') use it. If they are NOT happy with it, if you go ahead and use it anyway, are they going to refer business your way?

To each their own...but ensure your client is happy with whatever you choose to do! :)

Kind regards
Message: Posted by: rhinomax (Feb 15, 2005 05:42AM)
Mike it is good to see someone who cares about that posible client (be them few or many) but thay are out there that would prefer you don't pull rubber poop from a change bag in front of their 5 year old

my only hope is that your a (Properformer?!?!?!?!)as the words of us non properformers may not be acceptable to some in this forum

Phillip I don't know how many shows one must do to fit your criteria, pro or nonpro I take all posts in this forum equally. Some of the finest thinkers in this art are or where non pro ( Dai Vernon, Walter Gibson, Gene Anderson, Kohl and CO,General Grant, the list goes on)
Message: Posted by: ThePartyMagician (Feb 15, 2005 06:00AM)
my only hope is that your a (Properformer?!?!?!?!)

Hehehee - I do indeed count myself as a "pro performer". But then, anyone who is making money from magic is a 'professional' in my book (certainly in the taxman's eyes, hehee!!). Maybe not even a good professional, but a professional all the same. However...I do NOT want to turn this subject into a debate about 'pro/amateur' status as that's a whole other topic! :)

Let's keep the focus on what we, as entertainment "professionals" (see above paragraph!)can do to enhance our show and increase the experience of everyone who sees us, so that they remember having a 'magical experience'.

As entertainment "professionals", we have the ability to influence lives with our magic - HOW we influence them is our choice. Whether toilet humour works is (obviously!) open to discussion...

Just a few thoughts, NOT the end of the topic by a loooooooooong way!

Thanks all for your thoughts/insights etc. It's ALWAYS good to hear different opinions from people, as it enables us to get a more 'rounded' view of things.
So I suggest that we continue this discussion without name-calling, personal criticism or put-downs, but rather with a willingness to discover what will help us to provide the VERY BEST entertainment we can for our clients.

Kind regards
Message: Posted by: graemesd (Feb 15, 2005 06:44AM)
what a great thread - glad I started it!
just come back from a show thought I'd do the whole thing without the dreaded words at all - the kids didn't smile or laugh once!!!
miserable kids
Message: Posted by: rhinomax (Feb 15, 2005 07:28AM)
Well that speaks volumes
it is unfortunate you cant get laughs (with out poop that is )
I would suggest updating your material
perhaps you could set that as a goal

I have never use this kind of material and my show never fails to get positive response both from kids and their parents
Message: Posted by: Bill Scarlett (Feb 15, 2005 07:36AM)
On 2005-02-15 03:48, p.b.jones wrote:

Though I use none of these words in my act as I said my puppet dog does pee on the kids and will continue to do so.


Wow! Do you advertise that to parents as a highlight of your act? I am a professional parent and I can tell you that doing that would be a sure way to get me NOT to hire you. Things must be different in Wales, I guess.
Message: Posted by: Macbeth (Feb 15, 2005 07:45AM)
Does this mean I've got to change the name of my monkey puppet called 'Spank'?
Message: Posted by: rhinomax (Feb 15, 2005 08:39AM)
Funny Phillip your web page reads




and then have a dog puppet pee on a room full of 5 year olds

Misleading ?

well yer the "perfeshanal" you must know what is best :) lol ;)

sorry just a bit of fun

well peace to you all I believe I have spent way to long in this thread

but it sure has been fun

great views from both sides of the fence

I agree do what is you but lets be careful with the young minds we entertain

Dave "Topper" Anderson
Message: Posted by: RJE (Feb 15, 2005 09:06AM)
Hehe, this looks like a fun thread to get involved in.

Personally, I don't us the words listed so far in my children's act. However, I have no problem if others do. I do use the appearing bra trick on a little boy as the climax to a rather hectic routine blending a number of effects at a fast pace that audiences find hilarious. In thousands of performances to literally over 100's of thousands of audience members over 20 years, there has been only 1 concern voiced by 1 mother in the late 1980's. I use this routine as my closer because it is a sure thing.

Back to words we choose to use, if you use "potty humour" as it is being described here, and you keep getting booked, then I guess it is not offensive to the clients doing the rebooking or referrals. If you do not get rebooked or referrals, then maybe your act is offensive.

There are lots of things that might offend. Your clothes might be offensive. Your "preaching" might be offensive. Your choice of aftershave might be offensive. And on and on...

You aren't going to please everyone whether you are using potty humour or not. If it works for you, then by all means do it. If you personally find it offensive, then don't do it.

Well, that's my opinion voiced.

Message: Posted by: Kent Wong (Feb 15, 2005 09:11AM)
O.k., I'm going to get into a little of semantics here and I apologize in advance for that. I often hear the phrase "professional" magician. In context it only seems to mean a magician who is paid to perform.

But many people in this world are paid to do things. Does that make them a professional? Have you ever heard of a "professional" cab driver? What about a "professional" cashier? I'm not trying to belittle any of these jobs - I have the highest respect for them. But I hope you get my point.

Being a "professional" magician must mean something more than a person who turns tricks for money (read into that what you will). If you look at the recognized professions (ie. Doctor, Lawyer, Engineer, etc), they all have certain common elements. They all have extremely high standards for admission. They all have an established eithical code of conduct to which each member adheres, and they have a self-governing body to ensure that ethical code of conduct is maintained. Notice, here that an out-of work lawyer, doctor or whatever, still remains part of the profession and thus, continues to be a "professional". Thus, the phrase "professional" really has very little to do with whether a person makes any money at what he/she does.

Unfortunately, Magic does not have an established ethical code of conduct. It does not have a self-governing body. And it does not have high standards of entry. So, as a Craft or an Art form, magicians do not qualify as a "profession".

That, however, does not mean that individual magicians cannot be "professionals". If a magician establishes and adheres to a specific ethical code of conduct in everything he/she does, and vigilantly governs himself/herself according to that code, then the magician is a "professional". And this will hold true regardless of whether that magician is earning some, none, or all of his/her livelihood from the Craft.

Now, I've referred to Magic as Craft and as Art. What is it? In my opinion, it is both. As an art form, it is a vehicle for individual self expression. As a vehicle for artistic self expression, I have to agree with Prude when he/she stated "You either do things the right way or you don't". However, as a "professional" artist, what is RIGHT is defined by your own ethical code of conduct and not necessarily societal acceptance.

In fact, if you look at the introduction and evolution of many art forms, you will see that they did NOT receive immediate social acceptance. Rock & Roll music is a prime example. Ballroom dance is another (the thought of two bodies of the opposite sex in public contact with one another was quite alarming when the Waltz was first introduced in the United States).

Sometimes social acceptance takes time to achieve. But the "professional" artist will tend to persevere as popularity for his/her art form continues to grow. In fact, many well known artists were not well respected in life, but only came to be revered in death.

So, Bathroom Magic may not be socially acceptable today, but if those who practice it continue to adhere to their own high standards of ethical conduct, they have a right to consider themselves "professional". Similarly, if that same performer engages in Bathroom Magic as a vehicle of artistic expression (and not a crutch because that's the only way they can get a laugh), then they also have a right to consider themselves artists.

Again, just the opinion of one guy, with a little too much time on his hands :)

Message: Posted by: p.b.jones (Feb 15, 2005 11:34AM)
With regards what I have on my website,

Funny Phillip your web page reads




Well truthfully no one here (where I live) would consider a puppet weeing on the crowd as blue or even off colour, I do a puppet show for Pembrokshire coast national park in fact we have just written a new show which goes out 140 performances in schools march 1st - april 29th this year,if you know anything about local authorities like this in the Uk you will know that they must be Squeaky clean and politicaly correct. I have performed for them 7 years now both the school shows and 2 days a week on the beach throught the summer. well the words bum, pee and poo are all in the script and this will be for kids 4 - 11 years old.

with regards my own comments on pro, non pro I was not trying to get into a pro non pro debate, merly point out that there is a vast differense bettween a FULL TIME PRO and any other type of PRO. Until you have worked full time where ENTERTAINING is the only thing that pays your bills or you starve will you understand that rules are nothing, you do what you need to to feed your family Ext.
I agree there are some things in which part timers /amature magicains are in many ways superiour to Full time Pros , particularly in the fields of creating new effects /slieghts and winning magic competitions to name a few. Full Time Pros normaly understand the rael world performace side a little better as their lively hood depends on it. I do not mean that this makes them any better than anyone else just different
Message: Posted by: rossmacrae (Feb 15, 2005 12:13PM)
"no one here (where I live) would consider a puppet weeing on the crowd as blue or even off colour"

I would.

Yes, I realize that I have been a voice (in this thread) standing up for the possible acceptability of "pushing the limit" ... A LITTLE. Maybe it's just one of my quirks, but getting peed on by a puppet (no matter that it's just water) is distasteful to me. Certainly I would be thoroughly distracted from any mental connection with the performer (and there goes all the entertainment, for me).

This discussion is akin to a lengthy "political correctness" thread a while back.

Some people can take offense at ANYTHING, and make not the least bit of mental effort to see things in a favorable light if there's the least possibility of construing things in an unfavorable way. I remember having a contest: "make a stupid, ugly, disgusting face" and later had the parent-in-charge question me because one visiting parent told her I was calling the children stupid, ugly and disgusting. Time for that Bette Midler quote a few messages back.
Message: Posted by: p.b.jones (Feb 15, 2005 12:48PM)
with respect you don't live near me!
Message: Posted by: R2 (Feb 15, 2005 02:22PM)
I don't agree with the use of this form of cheap humour. David Copperfield presents one of his many ducks, whilst having it urinate on the audience.
I thought this was tacky, tacky, tacky! He did this bit more than once during hte evening presentation. I was unimpressed. I admit to being a prude.
Message: Posted by: NJJ (Feb 15, 2005 03:13PM)
While I recognise that not everyone likes to use this type of humour for whatever reason, no one has actually said WHAT is wrong with it! (aside from parents MIGHT be offended)

Its been called crude, tacky,immature, cheap, vulgar and undignified. But aside from using this highly emotive terms, no one has said WHY doing any of these things is bad!
Message: Posted by: Frank Tougas (Feb 15, 2005 03:16PM)
Political correctness has nothing to do with this. It is simply a matter of good taste and calling people prudes who don't agree is simply an unintellectual way of getting out of presenting a good case for using these words.

Yes I am fully aware that they get laughs - but they are easy laughs. It is the difference between seeing a comedy performance by Steve Martin or Gallagher vs Chris Rock. Endless usage of foul language is funny but leaves me with a bad aftertaste, like I've been duped into laughing. It's just a comedy crutch and I would not use them, but then again I would never tell anyone else that they can't.
Message: Posted by: AlmostAmazingJames (Feb 15, 2005 05:59PM)
Frank, hitting a watermelon is not a cheap laugh?
Message: Posted by: magic4u02 (Feb 15, 2005 06:09PM)
As far as why this might not be a good thing to do, I have several comments as I see it. I think that if you have to resort to using potty humor and blue material, it really lessons your credibility as a magician.

As a parent, I am not so sure I want my children hearing these things from someone I am paying money to. Sure, some of them may not care, but you also run the risk of those who do care and this can really hurt you in the long run.

Just as good word of mouth can travel, so can bad word of mouth. All it takes is one poarent not appreciating the humor you are doing, for it to spread like wild fire in the area. Why run the risk of getting that bad exsposure?

If I am a performer who strives to meet the needs and exceeds the needs of my clients, then I really want to make an effort to not only entertain the children, but to solve their needs as well. I think one of these needs is to present a show that is fun for the kids but that does not teach them that it is ok to use potty humor etc. If the magician says it, then so can I.

In my own shows, I feel that I can present a fun show and get the kids involved just as much without having to use that kind of humor. It does not effect my show at all. I am not forced into using that humor to get a good response.

If I ever feel that my show or routine is weak, the answer is not to throw in bad humor like that to get a laugh. That is the easy way out. The answer is to go back and rethink what is wrong and how you can fix it. Chances are there are great ways to make it better without taking the easy way out.

Message: Posted by: NJJ (Feb 15, 2005 06:39PM)
On 2005-02-15 16:16, Frank Tougas wrote:
Political correctness has nothing to do with this. It is simply a matter of good taste and calling people prudes who don't agree is simply an unintellectual way of getting out of presenting a good case for using these words.

Yes I am fully aware that they get laughs - but they are easy laughs. It is the difference between seeing a comedy performance by Steve Martin or Gallagher vs Chris Rock. Endless usage of foul language is funny but leaves me with a bad aftertaste, like I've been duped into laughing. It's just a comedy crutch and I would not use them, but then again I would never tell anyone else that they can't.

I would suggest that it is 'unintellectual' to automatically discount a form of humour because it revolves around normal (and pretty funny) bodily functions.

What is WRONG with getting easy laughs? I get easy laughs form hitting myself in the head with a magic wand. Does that make it BAD? Of course not! Kyle makes a good point about using humour to cover poor magic but I think that is true of ANY type of comedy.

I agree, "politically correctness" is irrelevant. Its just at term that people use as an excuse to be racist and sexist.

I call people with moral problems with performers using these simple words prudes because I strongly believe that the defination "One who is excessively concerned with being or appearing to be proper, modest, or righteous." applies exactly to people who think there is something wrong with perfectly normal parts of everybodies lives.

If you choose to not use these words then that is cool. It doesn't suit a lot of people's characters and a lot of people don't like to take risks. But don't condemn those who do.

I wouldn't make sex jokes in front of kids because sex isn't and shouldn't be a part of their lives. However, we all have bums and we all poo and wee and its pretty *** funny to make jokes about it.

(in fact, I think we need the prudes. Making poo and bum jokes about prudes is far funnier.....) :)
Message: Posted by: prude (Feb 15, 2005 09:26PM)
Dearie me. Dearie me. YOung Nicholas really does have a lot to learn doesn't he?

He asks what it wrong with impropriety. The answer is simple. Impropriety is improper. It is improper to use improper material. Self evident I would have thought.

The very fact that he even has to ask the question denotes someone who has not matured in the art of magic.

Let me try to spell it out for him. If you use improper words or humour (let alone that disgusting obscenity known as the Ding Dong) in a performance you give a rather negative impression of yourself. You appear to be a cheap second rate humourist rather than a master magician. If you do not feel that you care about being seen as a master magician then at least be willing to be seen as a master entertainer who has no need of vulgarity to entertain people.

You destroy what actors term "the suspension of disbelief" by using vulgarity. You rip apart the illusion that you are something special. You show that you are just some fellow who would be at home on a construction site instead of a public stage.

For kid shows especially you cannot possibly be a good children's entertainer if you use words such as those mentioned. I shudder when magicians say to kids "every one of you sit up straight on your bottoms". Why they cannot simply say "sit up straight" is beyond me.

Nicholas wants to know what is wrong. Here it is. You lower the tone of the performance.And furthermore you make it a little harder for future magicians that come along. The booker may tend to equate other performers with people like you and tar everybody with the same brush.

Magic is an art form not an arse form.
Message: Posted by: Josh Riel (Feb 15, 2005 10:06PM)
Now I know your not being serious. In your 4th paragraph you made it clear that many master magicians are cheap second rate humorists, due of course to the fact that the use of "improper" words causes this outcome. If telling a kid to sit on their bottoms bothers you, I think you need to escape from your mothers house and get a real job in the outside world...... I know it's bright and scary here, but it will benefit you. This is of course said in humor, I think your making a pretty funny joke Prude.

But really Nicholas, It seems to me you are condemning people who chose to not use course language, rather than the opposite which you seem to believe. Don't let it rile you. Noone will ever be able to keep from getting condemned by someone, somewhere. And you will never change someones mind if it's already made up. You think bum, poo, wee are O.K.? Sex is over the edge? Be prepared for the day you have to take the conservative stance against someone who thinks sex is a funny subject to talk about to kids, and so therefore O.K.
Message: Posted by: prude (Feb 16, 2005 12:44AM)
I can assure Mr Riel that I am perfectly serious. Vulgarity does bother me.

However how people behave off stage is no concern of mine. If they wish to express themselves in an inappropriate manner I have no choice but to let them do so.

However where performing magic is concerned I feel that it is my duty to point out to offensive "perfershanals" and others the error of their ways.

If people are dim enough not to see how they are hurting the impression they are giving the audience then I feel it should be pointed out to them. Surely you can see that the majority of the public do not like this sort of thing. Even the use of the word "bottom" gives an ugly jarring note to to what should be artistic classy entertainment. It makes the entertainer seem coarse and his performance unprofessional. It is the mark of the amateur no matter how much they get paid.

I am afraid that Mr Riel has misread my fourth paragraph. I suggest he goes back and re-reads it. I did NOT say that a master magician is a cheap second rate humourist-I said he wasn't a master magician if he used vulgarity.

Let me spell out the obvious to some of you. If you use vulgarity then you are a vulgar performer. A vulgar performer is not a good performer-he is a vulgar one.

You must maintain that illusion. You must maintain that suspension of disbelief. As soon as you utter one word of vulgarity you break that illusion and appear just what you are in real life.

A vulgar low class person. Fine if that is the sort of person you are but please keep it off the public stage.

Sorry. The art of magic deserves more.
Message: Posted by: Lee Darrow (Feb 16, 2005 02:34AM)
Doesn't it come down to two very real concerns - keeping the people who hired you happy and entertaining the kids?

With those considerations in mind, one would think that ASKING about such material BEFORE getting to the show just MIGHT be the way to make this decision? Maybe not the right way or the wrong way, but the way that will keep the performer out of hot water more than making an ad hoc decision based on mindreading the client?

Personally, I don't do such material for the kids. But I also don't do balloons, either (had an incident where a kid bit one, aspirated a piece and almost died - thatk heaven for Dr Heimlich!), so take what I'm typing with a grain of salt.

If one is working for the Duchess of York or the First Lady of the United States, the bum and poo material might not be the best choice (although in the case of the First Lady, that might not hold true - I hear she has a rather "earthy" sense of humor), while doing a show for P-Diddy's kids (if any) it might be just the ticket to some more work.

As they say in the UK - "horses for courses." Just check the track conditions before you saddle up!

Lee Darrow, C.H.
Message: Posted by: graemesd (Feb 16, 2005 02:55AM)
Well that speaks volumes
it is unfortunate you cant get laughs (with out poop that is )
I would suggest updating your material
perhaps you could set that as a goal

from rhinomax

cant believe you thought I was being serious - I believe it was meant to have one's tongue firmly pressed into one's cheek -d'oh
Message: Posted by: NJJ (Feb 16, 2005 04:38AM)
Hehehe....Prude said arse form! Now THAT is funny!

Impropriety is improper? It is improper to use improper material? Huh? What sort of tautology is that?

What do you mean by lower the tone of the performance? Are you suggesting the their something classy about magic and toilet humour lowers that class? Cos I'm not classy when I perform for kids. I'm silly, irrevant, fun and FUNNY!

Josh said "But really Nicholas, It seems to me you are condemning people who chose to not use course language". I'm sorry I created that impression. Let me repeat myself a little....

If you choose to not use these words then that is cool. It doesn't suit a lot of people's characters and a lot of people don't like to take risks. But don't condemn those who do.

Its been a while since I studied Freud but I believe that one aspect of the pyscho sexual stages is for children to make jokes about their various bodily functions. It helps them to test the limits and find out what is acceptable before moving on. Freud believed that you could get stuck in various stages which would affect you in later life. I.e. you might become anal-retentative.

BTW - this is a GREAT thread! I love a good disargeement!
Message: Posted by: Macbeth (Feb 16, 2005 05:03AM)
I think that there is a great deal of cultural blindness going on here. Phillip is from the UK, where one of the best childrens TV programmes is "Dick & Dom in the bungalow" where they play the 'Bogie' game. (Dominic Wood started as a magician and has his own magic set on sale).

I still remember "Spit the Dog" who would spit on people every time his name was mentioned. As far as I recall society hasn't crumbled because of that.

In the UK we tend to have a general understanding that Children have bottoms and sometimes need to be told to sit on them.

I think it depends on the situation, I am hoping to go to Arizona this summer and will be doing a couple of small shows for my friend's church and realising that they have an American view on humour I will not be using my monkey puppet as he is not very well behaved.
Message: Posted by: p.b.jones (Feb 16, 2005 05:46AM)
HI Macbeth,
I wonder what these US guys would make of Ant and Dec when they do Saturday morning kids TV, rememmber the regular weekly farting Sketch (one of the characters had a bad wind problem )

What would cause offence would be an american performing over here and saying "Sit on your Fanny" as this has a completely different meaning here.

Message: Posted by: RJE (Feb 16, 2005 08:22AM)
As for acceptable for kids, how about Robert Munsch books? He has sold 10's of millions of children's books world wide and topped the New York Time's book list with many. One of his classics is titled "Good Families Don't" and it is all about farting.

Or, there is the award winning children's television show, "Big Comfy Couch" which also does skits about passing wind and other bodily functions. This show was syndicated on PBS and I believe shows in many countries around the world and has been watched by millions of children's and their parents.

You may not agree with these two extremely popular children's entertainment examples, but they're working for somebody.

Message: Posted by: Macbeth (Feb 16, 2005 08:39AM)
On 2005-02-16 06:46, p.b.jones wrote:
HI Macbeth,
I wonder what these US guys would make of Ant and Dec when they do Saturday morning kids TV, rememmber the regular weekly farting Sketch (one of the characters had a bad wind problem )

Quality entertainment. I still remember them reading the letter from the kid whose dad used to fart in the biscuit tin.
Message: Posted by: Tom Jorgenson (Feb 16, 2005 09:53AM)
After watching many magicians perform at fairs, etc., I have realized that there is a relationship between off-humor and a very real unconscious dislike for kids. I have seen one magician stick a bird's butt into a kids face so he can smell it, this same magician makes fart jokes, dirty underwear jokes and bad breath jokes.

I have also noticed that it is the most talentless of performers who rely on these remarks. Apparently they can think of nothing better or funnier.

My opinion? These are children. Keep it clean or get off the stage!
Message: Posted by: prude (Feb 16, 2005 10:03AM)
British people are indeed very vulgar and I note that young Mr Johnson comes from Australia which is one of the most vulgar and improper places on the face of the earth.

However there is no lack of crudeness in North America either. I am quite surprised and beyond horror to discover that Mr Evans does the Bra trick in his children's show. I understand he is a schoolteacher and a Canadian. This is a very odd combination quite out of character with the bra trick. I suppose the years of appearing at a leading Toronto dinner theatre must have worn down his high standards of propriety.

Mr Johnson brags about how funny he is as a children's entertainer. He also said in a previous posting that if everything politically correct was removed then he and others would no longer be funny.

This of course is utter rot. If he cannot be funny without using vulgarity I would suggest strongly that he work on it. There are thousands of entertainers the world over who are extremely funny indeed and eschew vulgarity utterly and completely. With regard to him being "funny" without being classy I can assure him that it is perfectly possible to be funny and classy at the same time. I suggest he puts a bit of effort into it. It should be possible even in Australia.

Perhaps we should narrow this down into the context of a childrens show which is supposed to be the intent of this discussion. We can leave vulgar adult perfomers to their own crude devices for the moment. I do not think Mr Darrow's suggestion of checking with the parents to be a good one. It only brings attention to the matter. If I were the sort of person who would wish to inflict crudeness on my audiences I would just go ahead and do it on the grounds that forgiveness is easier to obtain than permission and perhaps the parents will be too inattentive to notice.

Canadians shouldn't be doing tricks like this. They are not the sort of people that one associates with this type of material. I would have thought that the Bra trick would be more suitable for Australia. In fact I heard that a performer in Perth makes quite a speciality of it. Very improper indeed.

If you think that you should perform in a posh manner for the Duchess of York ( I have a feeling that she might not be as posh as you think) you should show equal respect for "lesser" audiences. Mrs Bush may not be averse to "earthy" humour but that does not mean that she would appreciate it for her guests. I get a feeling that her husband might be a trifle intolerant about the matter too.

At any rate regular people should be treated with the same respect as the high and mighty.

I really don't think I am going to say much more about this matter. It is perfectly clear to me that there is an eroding of the high standards that should be a prerequisite of performing magic. I learned to keep things at a high level when I first studied the art. It is better for the performer, better for the art and better for the audience.

It simply is not necessary to use even the slightest vulgarity as a children's entertainer. I have managed for decades without it and with all due immodesty I don't believe there is a single person here who can match the entertainment I produce when I perform for children.

No. I don't need to see any of you perform to judge. I can just sense it from your postings.

This place is really like an Australian lavatory. I shall leave you all to urinate and defecate in it.

I am going to much fresher and more entertainment appropriate pastures.

Good day and do try to clean your act up, won't you?
Message: Posted by: Macbeth (Feb 16, 2005 11:03AM)
Quality Wind Up Prude.

You forgot to mention that Children should not be allowed to get overexcited or express any human emotion.
Message: Posted by: Josh Riel (Feb 16, 2005 11:22AM)
And my point is reinforced: You believe vulgarity makes for a poor performer; Hence many master magicians use vulgarity..... Therefore the only conclusion you can reach is that many master magicians are poor performers. I disagree, every individual must make his own decision on how he acts in all facets of his or her life.
Take a look at reality T.V. It is based on the lowest form of humanity in my own unbiased opinion, and very popular. Have you ever seen ren and stimpy? In fact have you ever read any old fairy tales? what about "ring around the rosy", which of course the children love.... and also a short version of the effects and cures of the time for the black plague. Whats your definition of vulgarity? I think if were gonna be sticklers we better start a commune. Because people aren't getting any more pure. and right now it's you against the world.

Now as a side note, I do not use profanity any more than I can help it around children, old folks, inside churches, with my mother, etc. But I gotta say sometimes, especially after a few beers when I do my magic for the guy's I'd probably make your ears burst into flames.

For children's magic one must use a modicum of self control. But so far I have not seen where anyone here doesn't agree. he said arse... heh, heh, heh, heh
Message: Posted by: Kent Wong (Feb 16, 2005 01:12PM)
There seems to be a dichotomy in how some people view the art of Magic. Is Magic to be a medium of mass entertainment, or is it to be some higher form of Art? Prude has some very specific expectations of magic suggestiong that it should strive towards the latter of these two views.

I have no problem with that. I respect the opera as a high form of entertainment and I know that many people throughout the world enjoy performances of this type. But I would NEVER pay money to go to one. And I would never hire an opera singer to come into my home and entertain at a party.

You see, the problem here is that not everyone ascribes to the same type of entertainment. As such, no one magician or style can be successful in entertaining everyone. To serve the entertainment needs of everyone we need magicians who can cater to differing needs. I know of some magicians who specialize in gothic themes, while others specialize in shock effects. They can be very entertaining in front of the right audience.

When you are dealing with children, it is a little more complicated because you are dealing with two different groups. You have to entertain the children while also respecting the needs and expectations of the parent who hired you.

But, when you think about it, this is not that different from when you do a stage show and you ask the owner if you can use fire or other pyrotechnics. If the owner says no, you would be foolish to proceed.

So, if in doubt, ask. The only concern that I have is when humor (even potty humor), music, dance, etc. overshadow the magic. As magicians, I believe that the primary tool for entertainment should always be the magic itself. Everything else just comes along for the ride.


I do have to take issue with Prude's suggestion that Canadians should not partake in offensive magic. Remember, we are the only country named after BEER! :)
Message: Posted by: Carron (Feb 16, 2005 02:45PM)
If its okay with whoevers booking you I'd say go for it

Message: Posted by: p.b.jones (Feb 16, 2005 03:29PM)
Magic man,
I agree with you last post we are all looking for different things when we book entertainment and it is strange as to what people want/dont want there is someone in my area who does a very squeaky clean act though I know from people tellling me that they do not like the fact that he uses (what most magicians might consider good or helpfull) some routines which promote stranger danger/self esteem ext. for whatever reason many people do not like this in birthday party shows.
Message: Posted by: RJE (Feb 16, 2005 04:30PM)
Dang nab it. I tried to PM prude and I found out he has been banned. Prude is like one of those superheros who leads a double life. His secret identity is kept that way until he manifests himself under a different guise. I would like to profess here and now that I am not "prude" just an admirer of his wit and turn of a phrase.

I do believe I know who he is and if so (I'm certain I know who he is) we have been had by his wonderful sense of humour. He is provocative for entertainment's sake. Ladies and Gentlemen, we have been honoured and I for one await anxiously his next reincarnation!

Message: Posted by: NJJ (Feb 16, 2005 05:05PM)
I love prude (aka Mark Lewis)!

The idea of high vs low comedy and art is an outdated idea created by those in power who wish to seperate 'their' art for the rest of the great unwashed. So we have opera, shakespeare and ballet which are all high art. But really, all of these art forms can and do contain some the most silly toilet humour you can imagine! Shakespeare stole his ideas from commedia delarte, which contains the most obscene humour you are ever likely to see.

There is no such thing as low and high art. Just people who like to consider THEMSELVES low and high. Don't turn art into a class war.

Sure, there are those who will poo-poo you for making toilet humour but wee in Australia believe from the heart of our bottoms that if people laugh, the something is funny and if they don't then it isn't.
Message: Posted by: Josh Riel (Feb 16, 2005 05:14PM)
I guarantee noone will ever poo-poo me. I'm a pretty big guy, and there is not enough fiber in the world.
Message: Posted by: RJE (Feb 16, 2005 06:51PM)
In that case wee are in agreement. Onward and downward for the arts!!! Mark where are you????
Message: Posted by: NJJ (Feb 16, 2005 08:58PM)
I like the bit where Mark said "Australia is one of the most vulgar and improper places on the face of the earth."

Message: Posted by: Rudolph McGuinness (Feb 17, 2005 07:15AM)
This thread looks even funnier from down here in Spain than it would do in the UK!!

?¿ (there that proved it was a Spanish keyboard!)

Yep, you go ahead using these words at parties, it makes less serious competition for the rest of us!

Ok for a headline grabber in the Café though!


Message: Posted by: Danny Diamond (Feb 17, 2005 09:47AM)
When introducing my hanky, I will occasionally use the old joke - "do you know how to make a hanky dance? Put a little boogie in it". That's as far as I go, when it comes to "potty" humor, although I don't really have anything against other jokes of this nature. I think a lot of it depends on the personality and delivery of the performer.
Message: Posted by: Payne (Feb 17, 2005 10:48AM)
On 2005-02-16 21:58, Nicholas J. Johnson wrote:
I like the bit where Mark said "Australia is one of the most vulgar and improper places on the face of the earth."



Actually there might be a great deal of truth in this statement. When the Jim Rose Circus Sideshow toured the world in the mid Nineties they got responses of revulsion and disgust from the audience pretty much everywhere they went except Australia. There the reaction was pretty much "So?" or "I can do better than that watch this".
The land down under is a different world from most places and the words Bum, Poo and Wee most likely get used in polite conversation. After all isn't this the country that gave us Puppetry of the Pen*s?
America on the other hand has failed to shake of it's perceived Puritanical Roots. It's even getting worse here under the recently empowered neoconservative movement.
People who think that Sponge Bob Square Pants and Tinky Winky are gay are not going to take kindly to a performer who references bodily functions in their performances.
Sort of sad when you consider that this country was once thought of as Home of the Free.
Message: Posted by: funemagic (Feb 17, 2005 03:09PM)
Some jokes are there strickly for the grown-up. We should be entertaining them too. Like this one: After making a balloon dog for someone say "this is Pierre...because that's what he does..." Goes over the kids heads but the grown-ups laugh.

How about Winnie the Pooh? Is this bad for kids? Are we sending a wrong message here? Has the word Pooh in it. Might want to censor it.
Message: Posted by: rhinomax (Feb 17, 2005 04:04PM)
Danny boogie seems fine to me provided it is not a production item in your change bag and then flinging it at the kids lol

funemagic Winne the pooh is a far cry from a dog puppet urinating on a room full of 5 year olds or producing rubber poop from your change bag for them

as far as Disney using this sort of material, these movies are rated Shrek holds a PG rating alerting parents to be watchful of questionable material

let me restate my position here, we all know this stuff can be funny, hek this thread has been a riot but do we just spring it on parents and kids mid show where it is out of there control. I don't


Oh no politics at the magic Café :(
Message: Posted by: RonCalhoun (Feb 17, 2005 10:36PM)
Four pages all about poopin' and a peein'.
Message: Posted by: Payne (Feb 18, 2005 01:25AM)
Actually there's not much more to add to this subject that hasn't already been said. Those who feel that there is nothing wrong about refering to various bodily functions in what they feel to be an amusing way during their performance will continue to do so content in the feeling that there is no harm to themselves, their audiences or the craft of magic to do so.
Those who believe that there perhaps is a higher path for them to take will continue to look ascance upon those mentioned above.
Meanwhile the majority of us will continue on doing our magic as best we canand hopefully stop reading the posts of those who need to find validation in a public forum for what one secretly thinks might be questionable behaviour.
Message: Posted by: NJJ (Feb 18, 2005 04:35AM)
Oh I disagree!

A subject like this can be look at from a hundred different angles! The point is not to convince others that your point of view is RIGHT but to create a rich taperstry of thoughts and ideas that others can read, think about and build upon!

For example, you mentioned a 'higher path'. Why would a non bodily function show be higher? Perhaps an acceptance of bodily functions as normal and an ability to see humour them without shame is a higher path!
Message: Posted by: RJE (Feb 18, 2005 07:48AM)
To each their own.
Message: Posted by: Jonty the Magician (Feb 18, 2005 08:04AM)
Payne, at last a sensible comment in what seems to have been a sanctimonious and hypocritical opportunity for magicians to bash magicians. Guys, come on! Lets work together to bring unity to an art we all love, lets not waste such a worthy and useful resource like the Café on senseless bickering. Please.

Message: Posted by: Lee Darrow (Feb 18, 2005 12:00PM)
Actually, I don't see this as bickering nearly so much as an exchange of ideas and some debate on general techniques of humor for a children's show. Speaking for myself, not as a guy who works here, of course.

And I recently saw a performer at a stroll about gig walk up to a jovial lady who was wearing a sweatshirt with a popular Disney-hijacked character on it and, pointing to the character on her shirt said, "Awwww, somebody Pooh'd on your shirt... in the nicest possible way, I might add." The lady thought it was extremely funny after she figured out that he was referring to Winnie the Pooh.

I would imagine that one would have to be rather careful about who that joke would play for, but the laugh was huge and her kids LOVED it.

As they say in transactional Analysis - "different strokes for different folks!"

Lee Darrow, C.H.
Message: Posted by: Thetruthteller (Feb 18, 2005 12:41PM)
On 2005-02-18 05:35, Nicholas J. Johnson wrote:

For example, you mentioned a 'higher path'. Why would a non bodily function show be higher? Perhaps an acceptance of bodily functions as normal and an ability to see humour them without shame is a higher path!


As much as you wish it would be so you do not dictate what is or isn't Art. That's, mind you, Art with a capital A. What is considered (by a general concencus of society and its social norms) to be high art. Typically one doesn't find scatological humour in this category. Toilet humor is, as a rule thought of as low brow appealing strictly to the lower classes the uneducated or the juvenile.
As a rule such matters are not acceptable as a topic of discussion among the Hoi Poli.
Certainly you can point to such literary giants as Shakespeare and Swift as using this so called humour in their works. However they wrote in a time period when society was a lot more earthy and much less sophisticated than it is today (certain members of this board excluded) and the discussion of ones bowel movements during polite conversation was not considered an out of the ordinary topic. Fortunately society as a whole has, for the most part progressed since those times.
I have nothing against anyone resorting to using such low humour to reap whatever cheap laffs that they can garner from an audience of folk of infantile intellect. More power to them.
I however strive to work a little harder at my humor.
I know my audience appreciates my efforts to do so and reward me accordingly.