(Close Window)
Topic: 20 century brassiere as comical failure
Message: Posted by: Bjarne (Aug 14, 2011 08:09AM)
I have been doing 20th century brassiere trick for a few years, but I've been careful with whom I have done it on (I have never done it to anybody that I have not spoken to before the show, though I have not mentioned that I'd take them up on stage and pull their bra off). I'm getting the laughs, but I feel I'm crossing the line, as the spectator often becomes a wee bit embarrassed. This is not a good way to motivate more people to help on stage.

I think about changing to something more subtle, like a "do as I do" effect, where both the spectator and I should vanish a silk each and have it reappear between the silks tucked down the top of our shirts.

The effect should be that she manages to get it right, and I end up pulling up her bra tied between the silks from my shirt, instead of the vanished silk.

Any suggestions for how to make it clear that it is supposed to be her bra (me using a bra is totally out-of-character), and how to let her vanish her silk?
Message: Posted by: Bjarne (Aug 14, 2011 03:33PM)
I am really struggling finding out how to allude that it is her bra - not mine. It is okay if the audience understand that I am only pretending it to be hers if they are having a good time.
Would it be sufficient that my silk ends between hers, and have the audience think that when I pull out it would be her silk (but end up with "her" bra instead)? Any suggestions are welcome.
Message: Posted by: Spellbinder (Aug 17, 2011 09:57AM)
The 19th Century Corset was really a comical failure, especially the Queen Victoria version.
Message: Posted by: Bjarne (Aug 17, 2011 06:03PM)
Are you suggesting that the comedy would be better with a corset than a bra?
Message: Posted by: mrpiper (Sep 25, 2011 02:32PM)
Do the routine with a muscular looking GUY. It's more rediculous, and no one thinks it's really HIS bra, but they get the funny of it...
Message: Posted by: makeupguy (Oct 1, 2011 01:09AM)
http://www.thebostonchannel.com/news/29327695/detail.html#ixzz1ZKJiNVrE
Message: Posted by: Bjarne (Oct 1, 2011 11:54AM)
Thanks pr Piper.
That is definitely something to consider.
Message: Posted by: Bjarne (Oct 1, 2011 12:12PM)
Thanks for the link Makeup Guy. Interesting.
Message: Posted by: Bjarne (Oct 1, 2011 12:25PM)
If there are still readers, please keep the suggestions coming.
Message: Posted by: Rocky (Nov 11, 2011 10:58AM)
...Letting the audience assume that the bra is actually yours is kind of funny. After the appearence of the bra you could shrug your shoulders and say something to to effect of..."I used to work as lingere model before I took up magic".
Message: Posted by: wizardpa (Nov 13, 2011 06:09PM)
This is a trick that I do only about once a year and only with the right audience and the right audience member.
Message: Posted by: Bjarne (Nov 19, 2011 04:19PM)
@Rocky. I could alway pretend it is mine, but IMO that is less magical than pretending it is hers. I am not quite clear about how to get the message across, though.
Message: Posted by: Bjarne (Nov 20, 2011 01:08PM)
Any suggestions are welcome
Message: Posted by: scalito (Nov 28, 2011 11:33AM)
I've performed this at a senior's community (people in their 60s) and they go crazy! I generally couch this as tying the handkerchiefs together and say that another handkerchief of any color they choose will appear between the two. I make it sound like this is a classic, elegant, magic effect and ask them to choose the color after they've put it in their blouse. They're so intent on the set up that they are floored when the bra appears.

I'm also considering doing this trick with a man, but substitute the bra with a huge pair of bloomers.
Message: Posted by: Bjarne (Jul 2, 2013 04:52PM)
Thanks Scalito. Nice subtle touches
Message: Posted by: Herr Brian Tabor (Jul 16, 2013 09:47PM)
I would suggest doing this with a large man, rather than a woman. It can be very embarrassing for her, and that's not right. Make fun of yourself, but don't make audience members feel that uncomfortable. They may laugh, but I'd wager a lot of them simply didn't want to run away crying and ruin the show. Also, I'm not a violent person at all, and I love seeing magicians perform, but if someone did this to my wife, I'd punch them in the face, and end their show.
Message: Posted by: Russell Davidson (Jul 17, 2013 08:37AM)
Choosing the right person is so important with this. Unless you know they won't be embarassed beforehand it'll always be a risk. You could choose Herr Brian's wife for instance, who may not take offence but then receive a punch in the face anyway!

And if you do it on a man, well.....that could end the same way.

My advice is to use the panties version of this and not the bra and do it to yourself. Get two people to pull the silks out of your trousers at the end. And unless you're going to get offended and punch yourself in the face all should go well.
Message: Posted by: Harry Murphy (Jul 20, 2013 03:59PM)
My routine has been posted on the Café' a few times over the years. I've been doing it for a few decades now without much change. The routine as performed “suggests” that I am going to do the “Bra-Trick”.

How it is framed is that I am performing a double 20th Century Silks. I have a lady/girl from the audience help me. I tie two bandanas together and sort of tuck them into my belt. I can get a strong laugh or two doing this.

I tie two other bandanas together and go to tuck then into the blouse of the girl. I never get there (I never even get close, it would be rude)! I eventually have her hold them in her hands, chest high.

Now two bandanas are vanished. I take one end of a silk handing from my belt (again a laugh as I mug it up) and whisk it away. Huge colorful boxer shorts appear tied between them. It gets a strong laugh. This is the set-up and creates a bit of tension and expectation exactly what I need to create a real punch ending

Now there is by play as I approach the lady. Ultimately I will grasp a corner of a hanging bandana and whisk it away. The two vanished bandanas are seen tied between them! Note that NO BRA appears!

It gets a good laugh (usually the laughter secondary to the release of tension) when the bandanas appeared instead of a bra!

A rose or carnation is produced from the gathered bandannas and presented to the lady assistant for helping. And I don’t do any of that insulting “kiss me on the cheek and turn the head to get a kiss on the lips” bit. While a redneck, my character tries to be a gentleman!

There is dramatic tension built in the routine, there is a good set up for the expectation of a logical ending. However the punch line is to NOT produce the bra.

Everyone’s dignity (except mine) is preserved and no one is embarrassed. I simply don’t like to embarrass my spectators. I do try to create dramatic tension in them but give them proper release without any embarrassment. The audience does not laugh at my assistants, they laugh at me.
Message: Posted by: Herr Brian Tabor (Aug 8, 2013 03:37AM)
[quote]
On 2013-07-20 16:59, Harry Murphy wrote:
My routine has been posted on the Café' a few times over the years. I've been doing it for a few decades now without much change. The routine as performed “suggests” that I am going to do the “Bra-Trick”.

How it is framed is that I am performing a double 20th Century Silks. I have a lady/girl from the audience help me. I tie two bandanas together and sort of tuck them into my belt. I can get a strong laugh or two doing this.

I tie two other bandanas together and go to tuck then into the blouse of the girl. I never get there (I never even get close, it would be rude)! I eventually have her hold them in her hands, chest high.

Now two bandanas are vanished. I take one end of a silk handing from my belt (again a laugh as I mug it up) and whisk it away. Huge colorful boxer shorts appear tied between them. It gets a strong laugh. This is the set-up and creates a bit of tension and expectation exactly what I need to create a real punch ending

Now there is by play as I approach the lady. Ultimately I will grasp a corner of a hanging bandana and whisk it away. The two vanished bandanas are seen tied between them! Note that NO BRA appears!

It gets a good laugh (usually the laughter secondary to the release of tension) when the bandanas appeared instead of a bra!

A rose or carnation is produced from the gathered bandannas and presented to the lady assistant for helping. And I don’t do any of that insulting “kiss me on the cheek and turn the head to get a kiss on the lips” bit. While a redneck, my character tries to be a gentleman!

There is dramatic tension built in the routine, there is a good set up for the expectation of a logical ending. However the punch line is to NOT produce the bra.

Everyone’s dignity (except mine) is preserved and no one is embarrassed. I simply don’t like to embarrass my spectators. I do try to create dramatic tension in them but give them proper release without any embarrassment. The audience does not laugh at my assistants, they laugh at me.
[/quote]

I like this! You have the implications, but nothing that could have someone feeling embarrassed. Plus, I think that'd be much funnier.
Message: Posted by: Howie Diddot (Aug 16, 2013 07:46PM)
[quote]
On 2011-08-14 16:33, Bjarne wrote:
I am really struggling finding out how to allude that it is her bra - not mine. It is okay if the audience understand that I am only pretending it to be hers if they are having a good time.
Would it be sufficient that my silk ends between hers, and have the audience think that when I pull out it would be her silk (but end up with "her" bra instead)? Any suggestions are welcome.
[/quote]

This is just my opinion, not a judgment on you or your outlook as a magician

There are 60 bazillion magic tricks that can be performed that will get laughs and standing ovations.

Why would you be performing any trick that requires struggling to prevent embarrassment to the spectator?

An entertainer does not know the story of people attending a performance, why would a magician risk triggering any negative reactions from the female audience member, the trick may get a laugh, but the laugh is at the potential embarrassment of the spectator, and you even admit that you struggle over it

This is just my personal opinion adding to the thread, I'm not questioning your motives or ability as a magician.
Message: Posted by: cafeinst (Aug 27, 2013 09:58PM)
20th century silks is powerful enough if done properly. Why ruin a great trick with a gag?
Message: Posted by: Sealegs (Sep 9, 2013 06:11AM)
Caféinst.... on another thread you ask how to inject some comedy into a couple of rope routines. One could just as easily ask, why ruin those ropes tricks with some comedy content?

Bjarne; As an idea in answer to your question....

First the set up:
You tuck a green hanky into your shirt and a yellow hanky into your assisting spectators blouse and you magically make them change places.....

Then the repeat:
You offer to do the effect again but this time you first of all tie together two blue hankies and tuck them into the top of your shirt and leaving them hanging out...then you tie together two red hankies and get your assisting female spectator to tuck them into the top of her blouse leaving them hanging out....

A green hanky is pushed down inside your shirt. between the two blue hankies.... this hanky is (as apparently has already happened once before) 'magically' transported across from your shirt to your spectator's blouse and when her hankies are pulled from her blouse she indeed has your green hanky tied in-between them.

Now you apparently take the yellow hanky and apparently it gets placed down inside the top of her blouse... you magically act out transporting this yellow hanky across from her blouse to your shirt and when the blue hankies are pulled free from your shirt... instead of the yellow hanky tied in-between then...there is bra.

With the initial transposition set up... and the transposition of the first phase of the repeat ... it ought to make it immediately obvious to the audience what has happened... that you have magically transported her bra across to your hankies by mistake rather than the hanky that was tucked into her blouse.

Performed this way you have a routine that contains some actual magic content that;... ends with the punchline you are after... ends with a situation where you, rather than your spectator, has apparently made a mistake... and where you, rather than your spectator, is at the sharp end of the comedic punchline ending of the routine.

Performed with the structure I've suggested above the routine should certainly lessen the bluntness towards the spectator regarding the slapstick ending while making the concept instantly obvious... but even structured this way there's no avoiding that the comedy is being derived from apparently removing your assisting spectator's bra. I would suggest that if you're happy with that as a concept you're probably better going for the more direct approach of the original.... but here's another suggestion...

You obviously don't feel comfortable with the idea of the original otherwise you wouldn't be looking for a way to avoid the spectator's potential embarrassment.... so why look for a compromise that is still based on the same premise? I think that maybe you ought to listen to your own sensibilities and set your bar higher than this.... strive to base your comedy on something that doesn't embarrass you.

I'm not posing as part of the comedy magic police here... if you like this kind of effect go ahead and do it... and if your audiences like it and you do too that's fine by me.... but it seems that you don't like this kind of effect... so why not scrap it and look to the thousands of other routines available that can be given, lend themselves to, or even come readily supplied with, a comedy treatment?

Just my thoughts.
Message: Posted by: cafeinst (Sep 16, 2013 03:47PM)
Sealeg,

Comedy is great if it enhances the magic. However, in the case of 20th century brassiere, the magic doesn't get enhanced. It gets substituted with a gag.
Message: Posted by: cafeinst (Sep 16, 2013 03:50PM)
The question is "Do you want oohs and aahs with 20th century silks or do you want belly laughs with 20th century brassiere?" As a magician, I'd rather get oohs and aahs than belly laughs.
Message: Posted by: Jon Blakeney (Mar 30, 2014 11:14PM)
I bought a version of this many years ago.BUT, after seeing a friend of mine (who is a great comedy magician)perform this using my eldest daughter as his helper,has always left a bad taste in my mouth.

I could tell my daughter wanted to be involved in a good piece of magic,instead she was let down and embarrassed for a cheap laugh.I felt her pain,she tried hard not to seem upset and thrown by it,but I am sure many other people present did notice her shock as well.

This I will never perform this,ever !
Message: Posted by: MRSharpe (Apr 1, 2014 10:47AM)
May I suggest that if you feel uncomfortable doing this and are struggling to come up with a way to not embarrass your volunteer that you subconscious mind is telling you to drop the effect? Think about it. Does it mesh with the rest of your act? Do you have an original spin on the presentation? Original lines or jokes that you know nobody else has used? Or, are you using all the patter that came with the instructions? I've seen this routine a couple of times and my impression has always been that the comedy comes from the rest of the audience watching the volunteer squirm. The routine may have worked well for the originator and nobody else.