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Topic: Do I have to be funny????
Message: Posted by: TheNightBringer89 (Jul 27, 2004 11:59PM)
Hey guys, I hope to be doing table hopping and strolling magic soon. Got my 3 routines of 3 tricks down pat. Only thing is, almost every magician I see is very funny. Now naturally I'm pretty funny :dizzy: but I don't feel comfortable incorporating jokes or one liners into my magic. Also my humor and personality when among friends is a Sankey/Jim Carey type, but it's spontaneous, I can't think up jokes and add them to my script. Do you think humor is absolutely necessary for a magic routine?

Thanks in Advance
Corey <><
Message: Posted by: hawkntia (Jul 28, 2004 12:04AM)
Hey Corey,

Personally I don't like funny magicians, if your more serious then the trick is more mysterious and magical, for example: david blaine.. I know you all hate him but look at him he is NEVER funny he's just relaxed and goes on with the trick telling them what to do and asking questions although he does smile on occasion. hope that helps you out.

Message: Posted by: TheNightBringer89 (Jul 28, 2004 12:29AM)
Thanks for the reply, actually I like Blaine. A lot of people don't like him because they think he has no personality or patter, but I think that's what makes him good, hes original and mysterious. I just don't like when he uses camera tricks, though in some situations it's understandable. But lets not turn this into a Blaine post :lol:
Message: Posted by: eddieloughran (Jul 28, 2004 06:01AM)
When I first read this post my thought was that of course if you are not funny - don't try and force a phoney persona on the customers. It just doesn't work.
Of course not all magicians are funny !

But in a walk around situation you must be pleasent, charming, nice. Fun.
Nobody wants a David Blaine style performer, when they are having a meal or drink, sticking cards in their faces, pushing them round, and shouting.
However good that may be on the street.

Be interested in the people.
Smile and be nice.
Use one-line jokes even if they aren't funny, or if they are old.
Customers are there to have a good time.

Message: Posted by: Stanyon (Jul 28, 2004 07:45AM)
First and foremost, be entertaining. The funny will happen, even if you are not intentionally trying for it.

Cheers! ;)
Message: Posted by: chichi711 (Jul 28, 2004 08:32AM)
I agree with hawk. I don't always like funny magicians. A laugh here and there is fine, but when they become a stand up comic I start wondering why they have cards in thier hands.
Message: Posted by: Mike Walton (Jul 28, 2004 09:06AM)
Great question!

I think in order to truly engage a spectator and have them experience strong magic and astonishment, you need to get them to suspend their disbelief and trust you. It seems that the more trust you have, the more they believe in what you're doing which results in a larger magic feeling/reaction as they've truly swallowed the hook during your routine.

How do you get them to suspend their disbelief? It's similar to sales; if you can get them to trust you, then they're not as hesitant to buy what you're selling including the premises you're setting in a specific magic routine. True laughter builds rapport between the audience and performer while encouraging them to suspend disbelief and start to trust you. Sure, the added important benefit of humor is entertainment, but good humor lowers their defenses and sets them up for a stronger reaction to your magic.

True humor, not canned corny lines, does this. It comes in the form of wit and well thought out and timed humor. It seems you have some good wit, so use it and as long as it's not stinging in nature, then their laughs help with the process of audience engagement, getting them emotionally involved, and setting them up for something astonishing. Corny and canned lines create that nervous laugh of dread, which disengages the spectator, similar to the effects when dealing with a slimy, cheesy used car salesman. All of a sudden, you don't trust the guy.

The same goes with corny magicians. They may create laughs (nervous laughs of dread) but my guess is the spectators become disengaged and their reaction to the magic is subdued, because the magician not only didn't lower their disbelief, but actually increased it.

True wit and humor are good. Corny lines believed by performers to be humor are bad.

But if you can figure out another way to engage your spectators and lower their disbelief, which isn't easy, then I don't think you need humor.
Message: Posted by: hawkntia (Jul 28, 2004 09:47AM)
Also, if your not super funny to them and just go up to them be nice do a really impressive trick and walk off it REALLY leaves them wondering how you did that trick, so there getting like 3 different feelings at once; creepyness, amazement and a feeling that there missing something out and want to know more about you and your tricks.. most likely there gonna want to see more of you tricks.

so there are pros and cons of being funny and chichi was right about guys going over there top on there funnyness.
Message: Posted by: Reis O'Brien (Jul 28, 2004 10:42AM)
You've already admitted to being naturally funny and that's a great quality to have. If this is one of your strong points then it will come out and your specs will pick up on it and also have a good time. I agree that hacked-out one-liners are just the worst. But the occassional little moment of dry wit or tounge in cheek line could work wonders. I guess what I'm trying to say is, be yourself.
Message: Posted by: rden (Jul 28, 2004 10:48AM)
If you force a persona that obviously doesn't fit, your interaction will be stilted, unpleasant, and you may end up with "nervous laughs of dread" (nice phrase Jive-Turkey). If I'm eating dinner and someone walks up to my table, I'd rather be engaged by someone who appears relaxed, natural, and obviously enjoys what they're doing than be annoyed by someone who is stiff and uncomfortable, thus making me uncomfortable. Be yourself, have fun, and hopefully others will join you.
Message: Posted by: TheNightBringer89 (Jul 28, 2004 12:15PM)
Thanks for the great and quick responses guys. I like comedy in magic when it has to do with the trick, for example: John G. has the spectator select a card and show it to the audience, he turns to one audience member and asks if he saw the card, he then whispers (loudly) to the guy "what was it?". Or when doing magic for a girl ask her to sign her name, and her phone number just to be sure. That type of humor I can do, when it has to do with the trick.

And just so noone is confused I like and respect Blaine alot. But in no way to I want to be another "Blaine Clone" hehe.
Message: Posted by: rtgreen (Jul 28, 2004 12:44PM)
Only be funny if it is comfortable for you. Personally (the people who know me may find this surprising) I don't like a lot of "jokes" tacked on to magic tricks. Each routine is a show. If the mood is light hearted, great, but don't stick humor in where is doesn't belong.

However, when you are table hopping, you need to be friendly, likable, and light hearted. You are really there to amuse people while they wait. Make sure they are sincerly smiling while you work and you will have a great time and everybody will be happy.

Good luck,
Message: Posted by: dynamiteassasin (Jul 29, 2004 12:08AM)
Not necessarily funny. Be polite and entertaining. Add mystery in all what you do. :)
Message: Posted by: Chimp (Jul 29, 2004 09:04AM)
Far too many people *think* they're funny because people politely laugh at their jokes. Unless you're pretty confident in your comic abilites I'd say stay away from it - it only adds to the "magicians are lame" sentiment that the public sometimes has.
Message: Posted by: Clifford the Red (Jul 30, 2004 02:36AM)
Humor should be a tool. Your art is magic, not comedy. Humor is a tool like is silence, speaking someone's name, misdirection, a card sleight, etc. It is a tool in your toolbox and should be used with scripted intent, not just to try and ease the moment.

What is your venue and what are your goals? The answer may be different at different times. Sometimes I want to perform in a light way where I get laughs. Sometimes in a very dark and heavy way where I get deer in the headlight looks.
Message: Posted by: Brian Proctor (Jul 30, 2004 02:48AM)
When I perform, I do not try to be funny durring my magic, but it just comes out naturally, kind of a split between Jay Sankey and Gregory Wilson. But its completely natural. Not trying to throw out a false persona. As others have said, just be yourself and see how it goes.

I agree with Clifford, I think humor can be a valuable asset for misdirecting people. It gets people's attention off your hands all the time, trust me.

And if you guys ever see rtgreen (Richard Green) perform, he will get you rolling. He is a seriously funny guy.

Brian Proctor
Message: Posted by: rtgreen (Jul 30, 2004 12:43PM)
Thanks Brian! :)
Message: Posted by: Pakar Ilusi (Aug 9, 2004 07:41AM)
I would disagree with hawkntia when he wrote...

"...for example: david blaine.. I know you all hate him but look at him he is NEVER funny he's just relaxed..."

First, I DON'T HATE HIM. Second, he has done comedy Magic effects... One example, the "folded card from mouth" effect he did for a group of Chinese tourists...

So I beg to politely differ...

To the original topic, do what comes naturally and is comfortable to you... Unless these criterias are fulfilled, your act, "funny" or not, will seem a bit contrived...

Imho of course...
Message: Posted by: Dr_Stephen_Midnight (Aug 9, 2004 09:01AM)
A laugh can be obtained by situation as well as word. I get a laugh during a wrist chain escape simply by having the spectator drape a cloth over my chained hands, then immediately pull out a free hand to assist him in straightening the cloth.

Message: Posted by: rannie (Aug 9, 2004 02:54PM)
Be light and witty. That's way diff from being funny , but still entertaining. Since you are naturally funny , then just be yourself.


Message: Posted by: Will Gordon (May 16, 2005 03:45PM)
Don't go with what magixx is doing. Go with your own personality and style. It's not fun if your doing an impression of another magician.
Message: Posted by: Zac Vee (May 16, 2005 04:11PM)
Be yourself and adapt to the spectators, if they are funny type go with the wave if they not just be entertaining and polite.

Message: Posted by: R.T. (May 17, 2005 12:09AM)
I definitly say be yourself and Ad-lib jokes as you go. I think ad-libed jokes are MUCH better, and leave a longer impression then canned one-liners
Message: Posted by: krist0pher (May 17, 2005 08:24AM)
Most magicians I've met so far in my years of magic have had a sense of humour that is reminiscent of C-3P0. Goofy, and borderline creepishly childish. I can't stand it, and I have no idea how anyone takes their art seriously, and pays them for it.

If you're naturally funny without coming off as a bozo magician, awesome. Stick with that, because nobody minds an occassional humorous jab. Like R.T. said, Ad Libs are the best kind.

If you buy a spinning bow-tie however, you've gone overboard.
Message: Posted by: Peter Marucci (May 17, 2005 08:53AM)
I'm funny or, at least, I think I am. (So do the audiences who are paying the freight, so maybe I really am.)

But that doesn't mean it's the way to go for every magician or even a majority of them.

No, NightBringer, you don't have to be funny.

However, what you HAVE to be is entertaining!
Message: Posted by: jack_is_dead (May 20, 2005 02:38AM)
I think you can choose to be funny if you like. if ur routines works well if they are funny its good but I don't think joking for a voodoo ash will loose its impact..
Message: Posted by: Hideo Kato (May 20, 2005 08:09AM)
You can make your audience laugh without being funny yourself. Most magicians who act funny are not funny.

English jokes spoken seriously sometimes make me laugh loudly. But English jokes are very difficult to understand. I wish my English will progress so that I can understand them.

Hideo Kato
Message: Posted by: okito25 (May 20, 2005 09:50AM)
you are funny , even though we have never met in person ,, I can tell just from your writings in, the LR, I have used a lot of this material as fuel for a barrage of snappy one liners ,that are Charming ?perhaps ,Non offensive ? more so,
Down right corny in a humorus sense , deffinatly, even today as we get ready to perfom yet again , my show will be a "Little Grater", IMHO, Café folks if you haven't yet read "ShowTime" in the Linking Ring mag By "Peter Marucci", these are gems that I find easy to commincate across all language barriers
Message: Posted by: Jaxon (May 20, 2005 12:45PM)
I agree that you don't have to be funny but many people do want to laugh and smile. It usually goes hand in hand with "A good time."

Now, making people laugh doesn't mean you have to be funny. There are so many different kinds of laughs. Quite often it's a defense mechanism. That's why people laugh when they are scared or hurt. If you do a shocking effect and someone screams it'll often be followed by a laugh (Such as The Web or my effect Thumb Off). If you've ever watched a performer who isn't funny the spectators still laugh at the out come if it's shocking or amazing. It's just a natural reaction to the unexplained or unexpected.

So you don't have to plan any funny lines but you can still give them a good time. You said you're a pretty funny person so as long as you entertain your audience you're going to get laughs anyway.

Personally I like to incorporate those one liners and bits in my act but that's my performing style. They've come from experience and the jokes and lines have evolved into the routine. What works is used again and what doesn't is discarded for that routine. I'm sure the same will apply to your act.

Ron Jaxon
Message: Posted by: drkptrs1975 (May 20, 2005 01:41PM)
Well Sorta, you need to be entertaining.
Message: Posted by: trevcmagicman (May 21, 2005 12:19AM)
I always like to add a little bit of humor to every performance. The spectator really loves to laugh. Put in a joke here or there but don't swamp it with random crap about some farmer John over in Minnesota. Just every once in while do something funny to relax the spectator. Sometimes humor is the perfect thing and sometimes it's not. It's up to you whether you add some or not. That's just my two cents.
Message: Posted by: calexa (May 23, 2005 06:41AM)
I don't think you must be funny. But it helps to get a better connection with spectators. It will also depend on your effects - if you are into bizarre magic, maybe the "funny guy" style is not very convincing.

Message: Posted by: evolve629 (May 23, 2005 09:00AM)
Sometimes the fact that you're a magician makes you funny no matter what from the lay persons' perspective. So any jokes or sense of humor you can add to your personna can't hurt. Bottom line is be yourself, relax and it will all come together with time.
Message: Posted by: DanielTyler (May 23, 2005 02:44PM)
When you try to force jokes, they will be canned and horrible. If you have a sense of humor though, and a sense of the models of humor, you will be funny without jokes. The problem is, most people are not their funniest when they first meet new people. Instead of trying to be Mr. Funnybones right off the bat, perform a few tricks in a casual relaxed manner, and when you tune into the "vibe" of the group, you'll feel yourself start to be naturally funny. As you keep practicing and performing, both your sense of humor and your ability to cultivate it immediately for new people will become more efficient.

In the meantime, I highly recommend buying a book called "Comedy Writing Secrets," by Melvin Helitzer. You won't find it in small book stores, but the next time you're at Barnes & Noble or shopping online, pick this up. This is not a joke book, but instead a book that will teach you some of the models of humor and bring out your own funniness. I've read it cover to cover numerous times and it's helped a great deal.
Message: Posted by: jack_is_dead (Jul 20, 2005 12:52AM)
I havent seen david blaine make a joke..maybe that's why he got a huge market..his seriousness..so like I said before you don't really have to be funnny if you want a good effect or performance..maybe you can use another element..like fear or suprise..but being funny always helps me!
Message: Posted by: Kent Wong (Jul 20, 2005 09:15AM)
You don't have to be funny - you have to be ENTERTAINING!

Message: Posted by: dominik (Jul 22, 2005 11:25AM)
On 2004-07-28 00:59, TheNightBringer89 wrote:
... almost every magician I see is very funny. Now naturally I'm pretty funny :dizzy: ... Also my humor and personality when among friends is a Sankey/Jim Carey type, but it's spontaneous...

Great! Spontaneity is even better than scripted humor, and it's contagious!

At first I was also worried that magicians on screen are so much more funny, but believe me, if you are just nice and people like you, there is not much you have to worry about.
If you are skillful and charming, and even have a quick wit, they are going to love your performance.
Try to relate your patter to your audience. That's magic with build-in interest and humor.
And one more thing: You don't have to be perfect from the start.

Just bring them the most magical night of their lives ;)
Message: Posted by: bishthemagish (Jul 22, 2005 05:26PM)
Be YOU. And if they like YOU they will like your act as Nate Leipzig said!
Message: Posted by: funny_gecko (Jul 22, 2005 09:09PM)
EVERYONE STOP HATING BLAINE!!! JEEEEEEEEZ! I cant believe you all! WOW! but no don't be funny if you don't want be you.. granted humour can warm up a crowd but what is best for you... blaine is kinda funnt.. he said look in my eyes.. then when she was for like a minute he screamed at her and she ran away... LOL!
Message: Posted by: elasmac (Jul 23, 2005 04:36PM)
I'm always funny unless I'm doing something with mind reading.
Message: Posted by: WhiteAngel (Jul 25, 2005 09:42AM)
You don't ahve to be funny, but you do have to be entertaining, and if funny is what entertains the audience, then yes. if you can entertain them form your skills and stories, then no...there are many other magic personas besides "funny"