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Topic: The bad magician
Message: Posted by: foolsnobody (Sep 9, 2004 06:06PM)
I am thinking of an act, not a presentation for a trick, in which I portray a "bad magician" with all the cliches and stupid remarks and overexposed magic...except that even as I appear to be a first class idiot and apparently exposing the methods and so on, in the end I have performed some extremely baffling superb magic.

I don't know if this would only work in a magic for magicians context, and I'm not sure how I would do it or what I would do, but I am thinking back to Carl Ballantine, Foster Brooks, and some of Marlo's slum magic pitches. Unlike Foster though, I would not be playing a drunk and I envision the act for closeup not stage. And the persona would be of one who was oblivious how hackneyed he was, not someone under the influence.

I could almost see this going to Andy Kaufman lengths of apparent obliviousness, but maybe not.

Have I got anything here? Just a germ of an idea, if that...is it being done?

Any thoughts on this?
Message: Posted by: ivan7 (Sep 9, 2004 10:03PM)
Lol, yeah its being done, but not intentionally. A lot of the magicians I've seen recently fit the "someone who is oblivious to how hackneyed he was" description. Of course, they didn't end up doing extremely baffling superb magic at the end of things.
Message: Posted by: Patrick Differ (Sep 10, 2004 06:33PM)

All while effecting clever/surprise finishes..ok...within context.

Sounds like you will be trying to do magical "x" and actually magical "y" is what appears...if so, magical "y" would be as much to your surprise as your guests'.

But Exposing?...not ok. I'm sticking to my guns. I've never been and never ever will be convinced that exposure in performance helps people and events magical ever, never, never...

The exception being persons magical sharing ideas amongst themselves.

22 centavos (approx. 2 cents)

Patrick Differ
Message: Posted by: foolsnobody (Sep 11, 2004 11:19AM)
I agree with you completely re exposing MRD. although in one Marlo routine I am thinking of, he does expose the (widely known) secret indirectly by "proving" he could not be using that method (then he uses that method anyway, but in a different way).

But I was more interested in "exposing" the self-centered need for attention of the bad magician as compared with the outward focus of the good magician (toward his audience). The clueless magician is as oblvious to his audience's reaction as he is to whether he is exposing his methods.
Message: Posted by: Patrick Differ (Sep 12, 2004 03:26PM)
Curious...how will you end it?
Message: Posted by: Jordan Waller (Sep 13, 2004 04:48PM)
Check out some of Tommy Coopers stuff.
Message: Posted by: foolsnobody (Sep 15, 2004 12:22AM)
I just discovered a good Tommy Cooper website:


Yes, I wish I could have seen him.

Here's one of his lines:

"So I was getting into my car, and this bloke says to me "Can
you give me a lift?" I said "Sure, you look great, the world's your
oyster, go for it.'

Ha ha! Thanks much for the tip, Jordan.
Message: Posted by: Dr_Stephen_Midnight (Sep 15, 2004 09:13AM)
The best routine of that type (besides Tomasoni) that I have seen was a skit performed by Dick VanDyke as "Roboto the Great."
Dick did a mannequin, clockwork magician, doing the entire "jerk and swivel" robotic movements, while maintaining the frozen, pasted-on, toothy smile. His male assistant, in the classic 'Kellar assistant' uniform, was also an 'automaton.'
'Bits' included miscalculating the cut & restored rope; Roboto cuts off his own hand with the scissors, and then the intact hand and the arm with the missing hand continue to go through the 'knot tying' and restoration actions with the rope that's no longer there.
Another gag was doing the canary cage. After Roboto has placed the canary in the paper bag, he lifts a revolver and shoots too low, under the bag, hitting the assistant. The assistant, still smiling rigidly, falls over and lays on his side, his arms and legs still moving in a stilted, wind-up-soldier, walking motion.

Message: Posted by: drwilson (Sep 15, 2004 10:46AM)
There is also a good idea for this sort of thing in Magic and Showmanship by Henning Nelms, called "The Haunted Conjuror."

In it, a sort of dopey magician relates the tale of his earlier encounter with an Obeah man who put a curse on him. He worries aloud about his show. His hat-and-dice routine involving a large black die with white spots and a large white die with black spots and two hats comes to an odd conclusion when the dice transform into guinea pigs - one black with white spots and one white with black spots. There are some more ideas about this routine in the book.

Another idea from the same book is to pitch a dazzling show by Mysterioso the Illusionist, with beautiful props, fog and music. Mysterioso doesn't show up, and some hack in a plaid sports coat with Coke-bottle glasses tries to stand in for him. Of course, the props are all genuinely magical, but aren't really under the control of the stand-in. Think Mickey Mouse in the Sorcerer's Apprentice in Fantasia. This could be really funny, with the comic tension between real magic and someone who looks like a used-car salesman.

Cool ideas from a great book.


Message: Posted by: bierergoggles (Sep 29, 2004 07:56PM)
I have seen John Armstrong preform on many occassions. Johns performance is a far cry from his normal personlity. In his act he is a ackward, nervous and high strung, hyper active magician, however he does not really expose or bumble his tricks. He uses this personality to his advantage by doing ackward things to produce magic, as in getting so nervous he coughs up cards etc, Also his fast talking and quick wit makes for a light hearted and entertaining presentations which also disarms the audience which causes his effects to hit harder. Nothing he does though even resembles a slip up or exposer, nor is he sloppy. You would have to see him to understand, and I hope everyone gets a chance to, because I feel he is the most entertaining person to watch with a deck of cards, and I have seen some of the best.
Message: Posted by: Wolflock (Dec 1, 2004 03:07AM)
I has been done. "The Masked Magician" with out the brilliant superior magical effect after.