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Topic: The Good the bad and the Ugly.
Message: Posted by: Mario Morris (Jul 18, 2008 07:27AM)
I recently meet a street magician watched his show and man he was bad not to mention ugly. I mean self working tricks that he screwed up and so on. On the other hand he was funny bloody funny and totaly nuts. I found him to be a real worker, he new how to work a crowd they loved him especally the kids. It was a real education to watch a master of crapness make a real living, I am very inspired by him.

It makes me wounder how can one master the art of being crap. Take for example Tommy Copper what a great performer. All this gives me a sense of greater hope and play.

Is their street performers, clowwns that you love because they make the bad look good.
Is their routines you like that are just daft but funny.

For example I somtimes perform spot the the dog, I first sore Tommy Copper perform it. (I have two silk hankys, one red dyed green and one green dyed red I will pop them into this bag, now watch as they change places and so on) I have my own twist to it and it all ways gets a big laugh.

What your thoughts.
Message: Posted by: T. Sebastian (Jul 18, 2008 05:34PM)
My thoughts aren't worth much, but here they are.
People respond more to confidence than skill.
Think about this before you start yelling at me.
They have no idea how to perform magic.
The more skilled you are, the easier you make it look, so people just don't know.
Plus, entertainment value trumps technical wizardry, especially on the street.
If you are confident and funny you can get away with murder.
Sometimes people will ask me to "Do the hardest trick you know."
That would be Jumping Gemini.
They already saw it.
I tell them so and they say "Oh, that looked easy."
Yeah, right.
There are obvious exceptions, "Name your favorite Master here".
But I'm talking about regular everyday folks.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Jul 18, 2008 06:46PM)
I'm sorry, but this sounds like a cop-out to me. If you have skill, your confidence will increase.

This reminds me of the "I'm not a technician, I'm an entertainer" argument. The one does not preclude the other.

Imagine, if you will, that you are a singer who accompanies himself on a guitar. If all you know are the six or seven chords that you need to accompany the handful of songs you perform, but you perform them perfectly, then the audience does not care whether you are a technician or not. If, on the other hand, your accompaniment doesn't fit, or it gets in the way of your singing, then the audience will notice that you aren't a decent guitar player, and they will probably leave.

Your technical skills should be such that they are not even a part of the equation. Magic is the art that conceals art.

If your audience asks you what the most difficult trick you do is, then you have sent them a message. What is that message?

Think about it.
Message: Posted by: T. Sebastian (Jul 18, 2008 08:07PM)
Quite good points Mr. Palmer.
And I really like the musician analogy.
I often equate music and magic,as I am a performer of both.
I certainly believe in the value of skill and never perform anything until I am confident in my ability to do so.(I am my own worst critic.) I wasn't necessarily talking about my own manner of operating, but the perceptions of the layman.
Also, I don't mean that you don't need technical skill to street perform.
But, wit and charisma can go a very long way toward entertainment.
Which is the ultimate goal. Whatever your medium.
The guy in question here was obviously not very good but the audience liked him.
Why is that?
Could it be that some people [b]like[/b] to see a magician fail. I don't know.
Maybe they thought he was doing it on purpose.
Perhaps he was.

Oh, the hardest trick question has mainly come from kids who get me to do a ton of tricks for them, not the audiences of my prepared routines. It was just an example of how people don't know one method from another or the level of difficulty. I mean, in their mind the scotch and soda must be much harder.
I like to think that the message I send is "Let's have fun. If you weren't planning on having fun I must urge you to reconsider."
Thanks for making me make myself more clear.
I promise I'm not trying to cop-out. I take this quite seriously.
And I believe that when a magician performs he/she represents us all.
So I try my hardest to make you all look good.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Jul 19, 2008 12:26AM)
I could sense that about you from some of the other posts you have made.
Message: Posted by: Mario Morris (Jul 20, 2008 08:48AM)
What about Tommy Copper?

To master the art of crapness I think is simply making the ridiculas seem increaderble, funny and memarable.

Yes their are some folk that should not be doing magic full stop. But my point hear is mastery of crapness all the ridiculas. Making the bad look good is no easy thing to do and is a sign of a Master Performer in my mind.

One thing I perform with is Rocky Roccon, he ends up on a tray that I ballance on a 8 foot pole that I ballance on my chin. I all ways end it with Rocky falling to the floor. He lies their lifless until I resusitate him on my third attempt. I came up with this one day after I droped him by accendent. I got such a good reaction I just do it all the time.
Message: Posted by: Levity (Jul 20, 2008 10:03PM)
Tommy Cooper was a prince! :rotf:

Message: Posted by: manal (Jul 20, 2008 11:42PM)
There is true crappiness, and the fine art of appearing to be crap in an entertainly comedic way. Like Carl Ballantine.
Message: Posted by: gallagher (Jul 22, 2008 05:43AM)
Funny bit here, `The Art of Performing Crappy´. I guess it´s important to differentiate, `Is the Performer crappy?´ or `Is he Artistically performing crappily?´ Think about it.

In order for `Artistic Crap´ to work, the audience must first know what should work. Secondly, they must like the performer; and deep in their hearts believe that `he could do it´. This is the tricky part, this `believible-like-ible-ness´,... otherwise,... it´s crap.

.... geeze, funny how no-one really wants to talk about `Crappy´ Preforming,... I guess we´re all scared of being recognized as "the master"!!

working hard,
Message: Posted by: The Mighty Fool (Jul 23, 2008 02:39PM)

I'm wondering....the guy you saw, was he screwing the tricks up deliberately to be funny? Because it's hard to conceive how you could flub up a 'self-working' trick. I can see making a mistake with skill tricks like c&b, coin moves, etc., but how do you mess up something like Svengali deck??
Message: Posted by: tomterm8 (Jul 24, 2008 04:29AM)
I suspect part of the art of being crap is actually being able to pull off spectacular tricks when you want to, and making your failures bigger than the average mistake... make them so large the audience is forced to believe that you could have done it right if you wanted to, and follow each one up with a golden trick.
Message: Posted by: gfdiamond (Sep 28, 2008 07:24AM)
Tommy cooper was a master of entertainment.

he could have an audience in stitches without even saying anything.

at one point, he had an entire audience on the floor without even appearing on stage.

the mc introduced him, the orchestra struck up and then...nothing.

then you would hear tommys voice back stage saying...'is this the way? no? oh sorry, do it again, do it again.'

so whole thing starts up again, mc announcement, orchestra, etc. nothing.

happened four times before he stumbled on stage, by which time, the audience were in howls of laughter, clutching their sides.

RIP tommy c. - the REAL king of comedy.


Message: Posted by: Barry Donovan (Sep 28, 2008 08:17AM)
Tommy cooper was a very competant magician, he just suffered from nerves, in his 1st proper show for a load of work buddies he messed up every trick thru nerves but the more he messed up the more they laughed and then a light bulb must of switched on in his head, but tommy was a good magician but a great performer. all together now, SPOON JAR JAR SPOON rat tat tat tat rat tat rat STOP................. priceless less

Message: Posted by: acephale (Sep 28, 2008 10:28AM)
Personally, I like performing magic because it inherently weeds out the fascinating from the grumps. Anyone that has enough moxie to stop in the first place is slightly off the beaten path to begin with, so if they stopped for magic, they want magic. Like Pete Biro said in another thread, most of our sleights aren't so advanced that no one on earth can figure out what's going on, but there's a real difference between "it's in the other hand" based off the idea that there's no other place on earth that ball can be versus "it's in the other hand" because you're incompetent. Sure people like being entertained, but you're squandering a lot of that entertainment you've built when you could be delivering a double whammy. Those first people that stopped want magic and will walk if it's not there. It's the difference between attention and interest, and interest doesn't keep them engaged.
Message: Posted by: Kozmo (Sep 28, 2008 11:05AM)
Truth is, they don't give a rats *** about magic...they care about being entertained...and that's the truth. I'm not the best magician, I'm funny and they like me...,and that's what's important...,and that's why this guy makes money.

Message: Posted by: gallagher (Sep 28, 2008 04:19PM)
Hey Ted, just curious; do you think Magic, by itself, cannot be entertaining? Yeah, take all the jokes away,.. work with Magic,... would it work?? What do you think?

I often wonder, what do we have today; Comedians using magic tricks as a vehicle for laughs,... are these magicians? Comedians, using juggling tricks for laughs,... jugglers? I believe, as well; entertainment, [b]is[/b] the bottom line. But I believe the `handicrafts' are being neglected, [b]and[/b] abused,.. down right sold-out! ....for laughs.

Going farther; I believe comedy is the easiest form of entertainment for an audience to appreciate. This is not, Good or Bad. But, unless we try taking them a bit deeper,... what do we end up with? Audiences with no attention spans? Audiences who cannot appreciate sentiments? Audiences who don't ponder `puzzlement'? Audiences who `abuse back'? Audiences whom can only taste cool-aid,.. and not the smell of a good Bordeaux,... and only willing to pay for water??

I hope [b]my[/b] audiences, as small as they may be, [b]do[/b] give a rat's *** about magic,... I do. ,..in fact, I wish I could/would see [b]more[/b] magic/magicians!


P.s.: What did our good friend Jay Sankey say?,... "Create wonder." ,... nice thought.
Message: Posted by: Lawrence O (Sep 30, 2008 12:55PM)
David Williamson is hilarious, he may seem messy but his technique is flawless. There is no relation between being funny and being technically bad. Being funny seems to me to be a widely spread excuse for lousy technique (just before some mentalism). I think this type of funny crappy performers can really entertain but in my eyes they do it at the expense of magic, which I kind of dislike.
I prefer saluting hat down the Tom Mullicas, Johnny Thompsons and David Williamsons of this world (it's ok I don't have too much saluting work to do) masters at both arts (comical and magical)
Message: Posted by: Mario Morris (Oct 4, 2008 03:06PM)
Yes I can see what some of you are saying. But if given the choice between funny but crappy magican all boring performer but technically good I know which one I would prefer to enduer. The aim of every performer must be to strick a ballance.
Message: Posted by: Kozmo (Oct 4, 2008 06:33PM)
I think magic can be entertaining...I just think they would much rather laugh...don't believe me? Lets take a look at TV today. How many sitcoms are on? Or the comedy channel...,a network devoted to nothing [b]but[/b] comedy. Where's the TV magic shows? Where's the magic network. Don't see it. Why?...because people don't care about it...they don't....

Look it...you'd better be a good magician if that's what you're billing yourself as...you'd better be but it's my belief it's so much more important to be entertaining...a good way to go is be both, be entertaining and then be technically solid...that's the best plan.
Message: Posted by: TheGiz (Oct 4, 2008 06:45PM)
I've always had a feeling that MANY magicians are frustrated comedians. Dai Vernon stated that magic was inherently funny. It makes the comediens job that much easier. How you do it is your brand of performing. Who can you name that is funnier than David Williamson or Mac King. Both extremely original and funny. And HIGHLY skilled!!!
Message: Posted by: deadcatbounce (Oct 5, 2008 05:05AM)
Here's a little story that changed my entire outlook on how I view presentation.
Around 1992, I'd been into close-up magic for a couple of years, and figured I was pretty competent. I visited the Edinburgh Festival (fringe) and went to see John Lenahan, whose stuff I was familiar with.. (anyone remember "Monday Night Magic at the Hen and Chickens, London?). I was [b]so[/b] disappointed. All the stuff he did was [b]self working![/b] My Mother in Law was impressed, however. The next evening, I went to see another magician, who was [b]all[/b] sleight of hand. I was [b]so[/b] disappointed! There was [b]no entertainment value[/b]. That "other" magician is still performing, so I have to assume he's radically changed his act.
I spoke to John later, and asked why he'd used self-workers.. His reply was along the lines of "allows me to concentrate on the audience 100%, and not worry about screwing up the tricks.."
I was disappointed in his show, as I was looking for new puzzles. I probably missed the presentation completely.
But I remember the aftermath. And it made me a much better performer. I started to perform for the spectators, rather than myself.
I get bookings because of my personality - not because I'm a whiz at sleights.

And of course, the entertainment value I bring to each show.

Am I sick of doing Sponge Balls? No. Am I sick of doing Card on Ceiling? No.. or any of the other dozens of effects I've been doing for years? No. Because they're tried and tested crowd pleasers - and they may not be new to me, but, where I am, they're new to my audiences.

Entertainment or magic? You choose! Just try and combine the two.


Message: Posted by: EVILDAN (Oct 5, 2008 06:28AM)
Here's something that stuck in my head as well. Simon Lovell said it during a lecture I attended years ago.

"Instead of hearing, 'I saw this magician the other night. Man, he made cards vanish and reappear outside the bar window and under my glass and in my shoe and he did all this really great magic but, ***, I can't remember his name' I would rather hear 'I saw this magician Simon Lovell the other night, I can't remember a *** thing he did, but god was he a good magician.'"

Think about it.
Message: Posted by: Dynamike (Oct 5, 2008 12:05PM)
Mario, he was probably just a clown who left his make-up at home. :clownjuggling:
Message: Posted by: The Great Zoobini (Oct 22, 2008 02:27PM)
This reminds me of circus trapeze acts that fail a few times on purpose to emphasize how difficult the trick is. It's amazing how we discover little things that work by accident.
Message: Posted by: imgic (Oct 26, 2018 11:45PM)
Another oldie, but goodie...
Message: Posted by: gallagher (Oct 30, 2018 04:25PM)
Imgic, thanks for popping this one back up here(!).
Phew(!),...over ten years old(!...!) now!
It's funny, for me, reading how I was thinking(!),....back then.
How I was 'talking'.

Today, I'd actually still agree with what I thought(!).
Altho I admitt, '...times change.'

Speaking of 'change',
I couldn't help but think:
"Wow!,...look who all wrote here!
look at what for in-put we had!...!
Ten years ago!"

T. Sebastian
Bill Palmer(!)
The Might Fool ("I feel like a big-top tent having 2104 Posts" 😊)
Lawrence O (!...!)
deadcatbounce (Great name!)

What a group of folks.
What a discussion,..over a one week period.
No injuried egos. Soft-skins.
,....'vanishing act'.

It was definately 'a different time',
....ten years ago.
Different 'streets'.
,..different 'business'.
Another type of passion?
A 'freshness'?
.....i don't know.
Maybe I just slept too long..... 😴💤💤💤

....maybe everybody else got gigs! 😕

Thanks for popping the Post imgic.