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Topic: Why is this funny???
Message: Posted by: Jeff Jenson (Sep 7, 2010 09:49AM)
Ok this may be difficult to explain in typing but I will try...
In my stage shows I get ready to perform bill in lemon, I look at the audience and tell them, "I need to borrow something green" (pause), "I need to borrow something with numbers on it" (pause), I lean forward a little and say, "it's called money people."

Every time I do this 85% to 90% of the audience laughs. Why is this line funny???
Message: Posted by: Olympic Adam (Sep 7, 2010 10:22AM)
The way you tell it?
Message: Posted by: SeasideShowman (Sep 8, 2010 08:58AM)
Curly Howard of The Three Stooges once said, "One night I was on stage and I went, "Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk". The audience laughed. I kept it in the show."

Don't over think it.

I don't care if they're are laughing at me or laughing with me as long as they're laughing.
Message: Posted by: MagicJuggler (Oct 8, 2010 06:34AM)
It may be because people are reluctant to part with money, especially at a magic show where many will have already seen a magician destroy someone's money before. The delivery you're using, if I've correctly interpreted it, is playing off that reluctance. I've found that in dealing with money, making jokes or comments about trust or people being cheap etc. tend to work well because of the common experiance of not wanting to give up your hard earned cash. They may be laughing because they realized what you wanted, and had no intention of giving you any. Thus when you give a comment that essentially implies in a non-offensive way "come you cheapskates you're holding up the show."
I use a line sometimes when I hand a spectator a bill for a transposition effect, "I'm going to trust you for a moment....But only for a moment." Implying that I want my money back and the end of the trick, don't run off with it. Sometimes it's funny simply because your joke points out exactly what they were thinking at the time.
Message: Posted by: motown (Oct 12, 2010 09:57PM)
If it works don't change it.
Message: Posted by: jazzy snazzy (Oct 12, 2010 10:23PM)
They forgot what money looks like?
Message: Posted by: panlives (Oct 14, 2010 06:56AM)
Laughter can sometimes be a polite way of expressing embarrassment.

Sometimes, the joke is on us...
Message: Posted by: aaronharp88 (Nov 28, 2010 12:18AM)
It could be worse in my kid shows I use a die box but refer to it as a dice so smaller kids understand what I'm saying and just the other day I had a guy correct me on it... The first time since ive been performing this for 10 years someone corrected me on it... so from now on its a block with colored dots on each side
Message: Posted by: kal (Feb 24, 2011 10:32PM)
To dissect it:
It's funny because it has a twist ending that people can't immediately see coming.

If it works keep it!
Message: Posted by: Bill Hallahan (May 19, 2011 05:34PM)
[quote]
On 2010-09-07 10:49, Jeff77 wrote:
Ok this may be difficult to explain in typing but I will try...
In my stage shows I get ready to perform bill in lemon, I look at the audience and tell them, "I need to borrow something green" (pause), "I need to borrow something with numbers on it" (pause), I lean forward a little and say, "it's called money people."

Every time I do this 85% to 90% of the audience laughs. Why is this line funny???
[/quote]
I think kal is right. Not being there, I can only guess, but here's what I think might be going on:

Saying, "I need to borrow something green," would normally be an odd request, but where you're an entertainer, and in particular a magician, it's not that strange and it generates interest. Most people in the audience probably have no idea where you're heading at this point.

Then, when you say, "I need to borrow something with numbers on it," it sounds like a totally separate request, as if you need one thing that's green and then another thing that has numbers.

Finally, when you connect them in a request asking for money, the audience makes the connection and is amused both that they didn't make the connection earlier and that asking for money is a mild imposition and inherently funny anyway. Drawing them in like that is amusing.

Again, that's just a guess.


Once when I was performing a routine in a Veteran's hospital, I showed a red handkerchief and then a green handkerchief at the start of a routine. As I briefly displayed the green handkerchief, one of the patients said loudly, "It looks like a map." I said, trying to agree with him, "Well, it is [i]green[/i]." That got a big laugh from most people in the room. To this day, I have no idea why that was considered so funny. He might have been hard of hearing and been talking to someone else? Perhaps there was some other reason.
Message: Posted by: Atte (Jun 25, 2014 02:33PM)
I agree with Bill. I think that the audience may feel little stupid when they haven't been able to connect two things (green,numbers) to thing as simple as money and that's why they laugh. But if it works just do what Nike tells you to do: just do it.

~Atte
Message: Posted by: ddamen (Jun 9, 2015 09:19PM)
Yeah that's why I laughed. I felt dumb for not making such a simple connection
Message: Posted by: mtpascoe (Jun 14, 2015 01:16AM)
[quote]On Sep 7, 2010, Jeff77 wrote:
Ok this may be difficult to explain in typing but I will try...
In my stage shows I get ready to perform bill in lemon, I look at the audience and tell them, "I need to borrow something green" (pause), "I need to borrow something with numbers on it" (pause), I lean forward a little and say, "it's called money people."

Every time I do this 85% to 90% of the audience laughs. Why is this line funny??? [/quote]


I think maybe because no one wants to be the one to volunteer. As soon as you say something green, they all know what you are talking about, but no one wants to be called on to help out. So, everyone is hesitating because they hope someone else volunteers.

So the awkward pause is because of this. By using the pauses like you did and using the magic of three, the line about money releases their uncomfortable feeling and they release in laughter. Plus, attitude also makes people laugh. I'm sure when you say the line, "it's called money people" your attitude changes.
Message: Posted by: 0pus (Jun 16, 2015 08:11AM)
I don't doubt that the line gets a laugh, but I don't think the line is funny.
Message: Posted by: mtpascoe (Sep 6, 2015 09:00PM)
The line may not be funny, but somehow it strikes the audience as funny. Sometimes you just can't explain it.
Message: Posted by: Tukaram (Sep 28, 2015 09:20AM)
Yeah it is not a one liner kind of joke. It is a situational humor joke.

Could be they did not make the connection, so it was an embarrassment laugh. Or they don't want to loan money so it is a nervous laugh. Could be any number of things. If it works - keep doing it :)
Message: Posted by: 0pus (Sep 29, 2015 11:43AM)
If it is an embarassment laugh or a nervous laugh, it is not because the situation is funny. It would be indicative of being uncomfortable.
Message: Posted by: Ray Bertrand (Sep 29, 2015 06:16PM)
In todays culture if you ask for something green... someone may hand you a 'joint'.

Ray
Message: Posted by: Dr_Bagelman (Oct 2, 2015 06:33PM)
[quote]On Sep 30, 2015, Ray Bertrand wrote:
In todays culture if you ask for something green... someone may hand you a 'joint'.

Ray [/quote]
:lol:
Message: Posted by: Dick Oslund (Feb 16, 2017 07:25AM)
[quote]On Nov 28, 2010, aaronharp88 wrote:
It could be worse in my kid shows I use a die box but refer to it as a dice so smaller kids understand what I'm saying and just the other day I had a guy correct me on it... The first time since ive been performing this for 10 years someone corrected me on it... so from now on its a block with colored dots on each side [/quote]

I suppose that the guy told you that the proper word was "die". Well, THAT shows you that the guy never saw the late Jay Marshall, do the die box!!!

Jay, in his very funny routine, which he did on the USO circuit in the mid '40s, always explained that the "proper" term was, "DOUSE". ("MICE" (plural) therefore, "MOUSE" (singular) Besides, his father had told him when he was a young lad: "NEVER say die!"

Jay never did explain about "house"/"hice"!

(About 13% of our 'every day' language is from Anglo/Saxon words.)
Message: Posted by: Dick Oslund (Feb 16, 2017 08:49PM)
I had a die box as a 14 year old, and, sorry to say, I used the "standard presentation". I was too young to realize that I was making SUCKERS of the audience.

Jay Marshall and I were discussing die boxes, and, similar tricks, over coffee, one day. He brought out "Mike Kanter" die box, which he had "remodeled". He showed me his routine. He hadn't done it in years. GOOD! FUNNY! He said, you're welcome to use it!

I was repeating the same territory, about a year or so, too soon, and, was looking for a few bits that would "fit in", and, be practical for my needs.

I never had used HIPPITY HOP RABBITS, or a DIE BOX in my assembly show. --I toured all over the country, and, didn't know if the local magician might have done it. (The cat that has sat on the hot stove lid, doesn't sit on a cold one!!!) My tour, the coming fall, was for Dakota Assemblies. I KNEW that there were only a few magicians "up there", and, I knew them, and, what they did. So, I bought an English Die Box, and, did it for a whole season! It played GREAT!

Again, PRESENTATION, TEMPO, TIMING, TIME, made the difference.

Over the years, I've occasionally adlibbed a line, or a bit of business. and, it got a nice laugh. It went into the act! Much of my act began llke that!
Message: Posted by: jakeg (Feb 23, 2017 03:06AM)
I couldn't figure out why audiences laughed at some of the lines that I used in my mental act. Perhaps it was just the contrast, but I also remember laughs that Dunninger got from lines that wouldn't be worth a snicker if said off stage.
Rather than try to figure it out, I would write the lines down so I could remember to use it in the next show. Each laugh is worth it's weight in gold.
Message: Posted by: 0pus (Feb 23, 2017 01:28PM)
[quote]On Feb 23, 2017, jakeg wrote:
Each laugh is worth it's weight in gold. [/quote]

Does everyone agree with this?

I do not think that all laughter is an expression of delight.

I think embarrassed laughter, nervous laughter, discomforted or uneasy laughter, confused laughter and other similar forms of laughter may not be so great.
Message: Posted by: Dick Oslund (Feb 23, 2017 03:53PM)
Nothing in my act causes embarrassed, nervous, discomforted or uneasy laugHter, confused laughter, or any sort of laughter, other than good, clean, FUN. I planned it that way, when I was producing it.

My "motto" is KIS MIF (Keep It Simple -- Make It FUN) so, every laugh means that the audience is enjoying being entertained.

Out in California, a few years ago, a client told me, "You can work dirty if you like." I told him that I didn't know how.
Message: Posted by: jakeg (Feb 23, 2017 03:54PM)
Your right Opus. Laughter should never be caused by causing any individual to be embarrassed or hurt.
I should have mentioned it in my original post, because there is always at least one reader who is the master of the obvious, and has to spell it out.
Message: Posted by: WitchDocChris (Feb 24, 2017 02:18PM)
To my knowledge, and I readily admit I am newer to this than many of the folks here, laughter is always a release. Sometimes a minor release, sometimes a major release.

To that end, it can be beneficial to to elicit a bit of nervous laughter. To let off a little bit of the emotional build up and prepare the audience for climax of the routine. After all, if magic is to be an art, it should probably be able to provide more than simply being funny or "entertaining".
Message: Posted by: imgic (Feb 26, 2017 09:00PM)
[quote]On Sep 8, 2010, SeasideShowman wrote:
Curly Howard of The Three Stooges once said, "One night I was on stage and I went, "Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk". The audience laughed. I kept it in the show."

Don't over think it.

I don't care if they're are laughing at me or laughing with me as long as they're laughing. [/quote]

Second this...
Message: Posted by: alan1954 (Apr 14, 2018 08:06AM)
How did the silent film stars like Buster Keaton or Laurel and Hardy make us laugh without saying a word? How did they communicate "funny"?
Message: Posted by: jakeg (Apr 14, 2018 08:22AM)
Actors from the silent film era had to exaggerate expressions and movements so that the audience would understand the message that they were trying to convey. This carried over to the early talkies along with the actors that carried over.
Message: Posted by: Dick Oslund (Apr 14, 2018 08:37AM)
YUP!

BTW...Stan Laurel came over here from England, with a "Sawing in Half" unit. His shoes had no heels, so the walk was funny!

On a movie set, before the day's shooting, Oliver Hardy would ask Stan Laurel, "How should we play this, Stan?"
Message: Posted by: jakeg (Apr 14, 2018 08:48AM)
Forgot to meantion,: these exaggerations in the silent movies were a hold over from burlesque where the audience needed large movement to see what was happening.
If you want to see a great modern example, watch the British sitcom, Keeping Up Appearances. Patricia Rutledge is an absolute master.
Message: Posted by: debjit (Aug 22, 2018 06:07AM)
[quote]On Sep 7, 2015, mtpascoe wrote:
The line may not be funny, but somehow it strikes the audience as funny. Sometimes you just can't explain it. [/quote]

Haha I agree. I have many lines which aren't inherently funny but when you say it at the right time and in the right way, they always get a laugh from the audience.
Message: Posted by: jakeg (Aug 22, 2018 06:40AM)
Iím retired now, but I had a few lines that got way more reaction than they should have. ( All stolen from others, mostly comedians)
Message: Posted by: Steven Leung (Jan 24, 2019 10:25PM)
[quote]On Sep 7, 2010, Jeff Jenson wrote:
Ok this may be difficult to explain in typing but I will try...
In my stage shows I get ready to perform bill in lemon, I look at the audience and tell them, "I need to borrow something green" (pause), "I need to borrow something with numbers on it" (pause), I lean forward a little and say, "it's called money people."

Every time I do this 85% to 90% of the audience laughs. Why is this line funny??? [/quote]

I visualize the scene and I can tell it will be funny lines.

If try analyze those line, then look back when magicians as for borrow money from audiences, many will simply ask 'Anyone has a dollar bill to borrow?' some better will add 'The bigger the domination, the better the magic it will be...'

However, the way you present such action is totally different, you make the action of asking to borrow a money bill into a 3-phase line, each line it disclose something like a puzzle but only with 1/3, and the final sentence make the punchline. A standard 3 liner punchline, and it work perfectly.

I sincerely thanks for you sharing this one.
Message: Posted by: jakeg (Jan 25, 2019 10:17AM)
I would have to hear how itís said. In my head, it sounds demeaning, and the audience may br laughing because they are uncomfortable.
Message: Posted by: ed rhodes (Apr 26, 2019 07:10PM)
[quote]On Sep 7, 2010, Jeff Jenson wrote:
Ok this may be difficult to explain in typing but I will try...
In my stage shows I get ready to perform bill in lemon, I look at the audience and tell them, "I need to borrow something green" (pause), "I need to borrow something with numbers on it" (pause), I lean forward a little and say, "it's called money people."

Every time I do this 85% to 90% of the audience laughs. Why is this line funny??? [/quote]

Buddy Hackett once said; when you're building a joke, the third statement will get a laugh.

I saw it, in an ironic sense, in "Star Trek - The Motion Picture;" the "probe" has appeared on the bridge of the Enterprise. Decker says to Checkov; "Don't move." Chekov responds; "Absolutely I vill not move." which was supposed to get the laugh. Then Kirk pops up with; "Nobody move." And the audience laughs at that because it's the third repetition.