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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The words we use » » Why the comedy? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

jolyonjenkins
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Inner circle
United Kingdom
1155 Posts

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Coming (relatively) new to magic, I am surprised by how many magicians think they should be funny, and at how not-very-funny they actually are. And it is a very old-fashioned, middle-brow, kind of humour. My feeling is that comedy should be left to the comedians unless you are extremely good at it.

If we leave aside word-less forms of magic, the other main alternative seems to be a "I am a very nice, friendly person" approach -- in which the performer effectively says, "hey look at this, isn’t it interesting and magical". Again, this doesn’t really do it for me.

Is there another paradigm out there? I know patter is largely there for misdirection, but I feel we ought to be able to say something reasonably interesting, intelligent and unpatronising while doing it. I’d be interested to know of different approaches.
Jolyon Jenkins
Jonathan Townsend
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Eternal Order
Ossining, NY
26938 Posts

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The persona and motivation of a character kind of determine the way they present routines.

Curtis Kam makes some good suggestions options in presenting tricks in his current lecture notes.
...to all the coins I've dropped here
The Mac
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1962 Posts

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With magic you can create a very strong reaction, one which you might not be prepared for. People use humour to diffuse a situation like this.

Another definate purpose is entertainment. If its funny people will wanna watch and be curious about it. I was once praised by a teacher who said "your speech held the entire schools attention becuase your started with a small joke"

Watch a David Copperfield special you'll see him be funny but when the lights go out and he goes into the next illusion his mood changes he becomes congruent to the feelign he wishes to empart to the audience. I believe this is the piece that people miss. They see DC being funny then think that's the "only" mood to be in.
wrong.

Magic at its basic can be funny , strange. comical even. Its tru you can draw people in with humour- but seek emotional hooks then experience the moment with the audience.

this is just my opinion..

your comments?
MacGyver
unilogo
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Veteran user
Las Vegas , NV
359 Posts

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There is an old saying that says "be careful of amatuer theory". I am not saying you are not as experienced but after a while you learn the "correct way".

I do believe you are onto something alright. However, sure Ill give you that much, some magicians are EXTREMELY cheesy. BUt you know what that's what they are aiming for. It is even extremely hard to make anyone laugh for a pro comedian too you know!Everyone gets better with practice so why not somehow believe what magicians are doing is expressing their art and who they are and somewhat practicing their comedy. Plus yeah you have to give some mood swings to the show, in my opinion otherwise people would get bored to death.
Mike Brezler
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Inner circle
Waynesboro, Pa.
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Every Magician performs their own style of magic. Whatever makes you comfortable and pleases your audience is best for you. Personally, I enjoy performing comedy magic. When I can make someone laugh and also mystify them, well, that's a bonus. Bringing happiness to others is all that's important.
Daniel Faith
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Inner circle
Neenah, Wisconsin
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It really does come down to character and style. Those new to magic, these can be difficult to understand at first. I feel comedy is a natural extention to magic.
People have fun when they laugh.
I do know what you mean by the middle brow humor many magicians use. It can be really sad and it does hurt the art. 99% of this that I have seen have come from hobbists and amatures.
When the comedy comes naturally from your character and style it stands a better chance of fitting and won't seem so plastic.
Daniel Faith
The Donster
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I like to see people enjoying their selves and at least smiling/laughing.
Dr_Stephen_Midnight
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Inner circle
SW Ohio, USA
1555 Posts

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I do 'incidental' humor, but avoid overt corn like the plague.

Steve
Dr. Lao: "Do you know what wisdom is?"
Mike: "No."
Dr. Lao: "Wise answer."
Sergeant
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129 Posts

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Most magicians use "comedy" as a crutch as an out so if they blow their, unrehearsed / not well thought out / poorly motivated / unscripted routine they can play it for laughs.

Sergeant
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