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rossmacrae
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"no one here (where I live) would consider a puppet weeing on the crowd as blue or even off colour"

I would.

Yes, I realize that I have been a voice (in this thread) standing up for the possible acceptability of "pushing the limit" ... A LITTLE. Maybe it's just one of my quirks, but getting peed on by a puppet (no matter that it's just water) is distasteful to me. Certainly I would be thoroughly distracted from any mental connection with the performer (and there goes all the entertainment, for me).

This discussion is akin to a lengthy "political correctness" thread a while back.

Some people can take offense at ANYTHING, and make not the least bit of mental effort to see things in a favorable light if there's the least possibility of construing things in an unfavorable way. I remember having a contest: "make a stupid, ugly, disgusting face" and later had the parent-in-charge question me because one visiting parent told her I was calling the children stupid, ugly and disgusting. Time for that Bette Midler quote a few messages back.
p.b.jones
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Ross,
with respect you don't live near me!
phillip
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I don't agree with the use of this form of cheap humour. David Copperfield presents one of his many ducks, whilst having it urinate on the audience.
I thought this was tacky, tacky, tacky! He did this bit more than once during hte evening presentation. I was unimpressed. I admit to being a prude.
NJJ
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While I recognise that not everyone likes to use this type of humour for whatever reason, no one has actually said WHAT is wrong with it! (aside from parents MIGHT be offended)

Its been called crude, tacky,immature, cheap, vulgar and undignified. But aside from using this highly emotive terms, no one has said WHY doing any of these things is bad!
Frank Tougas
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Political correctness has nothing to do with this. It is simply a matter of good taste and calling people prudes who don't agree is simply an unintellectual way of getting out of presenting a good case for using these words.

Yes I am fully aware that they get laughs - but they are easy laughs. It is the difference between seeing a comedy performance by Steve Martin or Gallagher vs Chris Rock. Endless usage of foul language is funny but leaves me with a bad aftertaste, like I've been duped into laughing. It's just a comedy crutch and I would not use them, but then again I would never tell anyone else that they can't.
Frank Tougas The Twin Cities Most "Kid Experienced" Children's Performer :"Creating Positive Memories...One Smile at a Time"
AlmostAmazingJames
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Frank, hitting a watermelon is not a cheap laugh?
magic4u02
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As far as why this might not be a good thing to do, I have several comments as I see it. I think that if you have to resort to using potty humor and blue material, it really lessons your credibility as a magician.

As a parent, I am not so sure I want my children hearing these things from someone I am paying money to. Sure, some of them may not care, but you also run the risk of those who do care and this can really hurt you in the long run.

Just as good word of mouth can travel, so can bad word of mouth. All it takes is one poarent not appreciating the humor you are doing, for it to spread like wild fire in the area. Why run the risk of getting that bad exsposure?

If I am a performer who strives to meet the needs and exceeds the needs of my clients, then I really want to make an effort to not only entertain the children, but to solve their needs as well. I think one of these needs is to present a show that is fun for the kids but that does not teach them that it is ok to use potty humor etc. If the magician says it, then so can I.

In my own shows, I feel that I can present a fun show and get the kids involved just as much without having to use that kind of humor. It does not effect my show at all. I am not forced into using that humor to get a good response.

If I ever feel that my show or routine is weak, the answer is not to throw in bad humor like that to get a laugh. That is the easy way out. The answer is to go back and rethink what is wrong and how you can fix it. Chances are there are great ways to make it better without taking the easy way out.

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NJJ
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Quote:
On 2005-02-15 16:16, Frank Tougas wrote:
Political correctness has nothing to do with this. It is simply a matter of good taste and calling people prudes who don't agree is simply an unintellectual way of getting out of presenting a good case for using these words.

Yes I am fully aware that they get laughs - but they are easy laughs. It is the difference between seeing a comedy performance by Steve Martin or Gallagher vs Chris Rock. Endless usage of foul language is funny but leaves me with a bad aftertaste, like I've been duped into laughing. It's just a comedy crutch and I would not use them, but then again I would never tell anyone else that they can't.


I would suggest that it is 'unintellectual' to automatically discount a form of humour because it revolves around normal (and pretty funny) bodily functions.

What is WRONG with getting easy laughs? I get easy laughs form hitting myself in the head with a magic wand. Does that make it BAD? Of course not! Kyle makes a good point about using humour to cover poor magic but I think that is true of ANY type of comedy.

I agree, "politically correctness" is irrelevant. Its just at term that people use as an excuse to be racist and sexist.

I call people with moral problems with performers using these simple words prudes because I strongly believe that the defination "One who is excessively concerned with being or appearing to be proper, modest, or righteous." applies exactly to people who think there is something wrong with perfectly normal parts of everybodies lives.

If you choose to not use these words then that is cool. It doesn't suit a lot of people's characters and a lot of people don't like to take risks. But don't condemn those who do.

I wouldn't make sex jokes in front of kids because sex isn't and shouldn't be a part of their lives. However, we all have bums and we all poo and wee and its pretty *** funny to make jokes about it.





(in fact, I think we need the prudes. Making poo and bum jokes about prudes is far funnier.....) Smile
prude
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Dearie me. Dearie me. YOung Nicholas really does have a lot to learn doesn't he?

He asks what it wrong with impropriety. The answer is simple. Impropriety is improper. It is improper to use improper material. Self evident I would have thought.

The very fact that he even has to ask the question denotes someone who has not matured in the art of magic.

Let me try to spell it out for him. If you use improper words or humour (let alone that disgusting obscenity known as the Ding Dong) in a performance you give a rather negative impression of yourself. You appear to be a cheap second rate humourist rather than a master magician. If you do not feel that you care about being seen as a master magician then at least be willing to be seen as a master entertainer who has no need of vulgarity to entertain people.

You destroy what actors term "the suspension of disbelief" by using vulgarity. You rip apart the illusion that you are something special. You show that you are just some fellow who would be at home on a construction site instead of a public stage.

For kid shows especially you cannot possibly be a good children's entertainer if you use words such as those mentioned. I shudder when magicians say to kids "every one of you sit up straight on your bottoms". Why they cannot simply say "sit up straight" is beyond me.

Nicholas wants to know what is wrong. Here it is. You lower the tone of the performance.And furthermore you make it a little harder for future magicians that come along. The booker may tend to equate other performers with people like you and tar everybody with the same brush.

Magic is an art form not an arse form.
Josh Riel
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Now I know your not being serious. In your 4th paragraph you made it clear that many master magicians are cheap second rate humorists, due of course to the fact that the use of "improper" words causes this outcome. If telling a kid to sit on their bottoms bothers you, I think you need to escape from your mothers house and get a real job in the outside world...... I know it's bright and scary here, but it will benefit you. This is of course said in humor, I think your making a pretty funny joke Prude.

But really Nicholas, It seems to me you are condemning people who chose to not use course language, rather than the opposite which you seem to believe. Don't let it rile you. Noone will ever be able to keep from getting condemned by someone, somewhere. And you will never change someones mind if it's already made up. You think bum, poo, wee are O.K.? Sex is over the edge? Be prepared for the day you have to take the conservative stance against someone who thinks sex is a funny subject to talk about to kids, and so therefore O.K.
Magic is doing improbable things with odd items that, under normal circumstances, would be unnessecary and quite often undesirable.
prude
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I can assure Mr Riel that I am perfectly serious. Vulgarity does bother me.

However how people behave off stage is no concern of mine. If they wish to express themselves in an inappropriate manner I have no choice but to let them do so.

However where performing magic is concerned I feel that it is my duty to point out to offensive "perfershanals" and others the error of their ways.

If people are dim enough not to see how they are hurting the impression they are giving the audience then I feel it should be pointed out to them. Surely you can see that the majority of the public do not like this sort of thing. Even the use of the word "bottom" gives an ugly jarring note to to what should be artistic classy entertainment. It makes the entertainer seem coarse and his performance unprofessional. It is the mark of the amateur no matter how much they get paid.

I am afraid that Mr Riel has misread my fourth paragraph. I suggest he goes back and re-reads it. I did NOT say that a master magician is a cheap second rate humourist-I said he wasn't a master magician if he used vulgarity.

Let me spell out the obvious to some of you. If you use vulgarity then you are a vulgar performer. A vulgar performer is not a good performer-he is a vulgar one.

You must maintain that illusion. You must maintain that suspension of disbelief. As soon as you utter one word of vulgarity you break that illusion and appear just what you are in real life.

A vulgar low class person. Fine if that is the sort of person you are but please keep it off the public stage.

Sorry. The art of magic deserves more.
Lee Darrow
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Doesn't it come down to two very real concerns - keeping the people who hired you happy and entertaining the kids?

With those considerations in mind, one would think that ASKING about such material BEFORE getting to the show just MIGHT be the way to make this decision? Maybe not the right way or the wrong way, but the way that will keep the performer out of hot water more than making an ad hoc decision based on mindreading the client?

Personally, I don't do such material for the kids. But I also don't do balloons, either (had an incident where a kid bit one, aspirated a piece and almost died - thatk heaven for Dr Heimlich!), so take what I'm typing with a grain of salt.

If one is working for the Duchess of York or the First Lady of the United States, the bum and poo material might not be the best choice (although in the case of the First Lady, that might not hold true - I hear she has a rather "earthy" sense of humor), while doing a show for P-Diddy's kids (if any) it might be just the ticket to some more work.

As they say in the UK - "horses for courses." Just check the track conditions before you saddle up!

Lee Darrow, C.H.
http://www.leedarrow.com
<BR>"Because NICE Matters!"
graemesd
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Well that speaks volumes
it is unfortunate you cant get laughs (with out poop that is )
I would suggest updating your material
perhaps you could set that as a goal

from rhinomax

cant believe you thought I was being serious - I believe it was meant to have one's tongue firmly pressed into one's cheek -d'oh
NJJ
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Hehehe....Prude said arse form! Now THAT is funny!

Impropriety is improper? It is improper to use improper material? Huh? What sort of tautology is that?

What do you mean by lower the tone of the performance? Are you suggesting the their something classy about magic and toilet humour lowers that class? Cos I'm not classy when I perform for kids. I'm silly, irrevant, fun and FUNNY!

Josh said "But really Nicholas, It seems to me you are condemning people who chose to not use course language". I'm sorry I created that impression. Let me repeat myself a little....

If you choose to not use these words then that is cool. It doesn't suit a lot of people's characters and a lot of people don't like to take risks. But don't condemn those who do.

Its been a while since I studied Freud but I believe that one aspect of the pyscho sexual stages is for children to make jokes about their various bodily functions. It helps them to test the limits and find out what is acceptable before moving on. Freud believed that you could get stuck in various stages which would affect you in later life. I.e. you might become anal-retentative.

BTW - this is a GREAT thread! I love a good disargeement!
Macbeth
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I think that there is a great deal of cultural blindness going on here. Phillip is from the UK, where one of the best childrens TV programmes is "Dick & Dom in the bungalow" where they play the 'Bogie' game. (Dominic Wood started as a magician and has his own magic set on sale).

I still remember "Spit the Dog" who would spit on people every time his name was mentioned. As far as I recall society hasn't crumbled because of that.

In the UK we tend to have a general understanding that Children have bottoms and sometimes need to be told to sit on them.

I think it depends on the situation, I am hoping to go to Arizona this summer and will be doing a couple of small shows for my friend's church and realising that they have an American view on humour I will not be using my monkey puppet as he is not very well behaved.
p.b.jones
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HI Macbeth,
I wonder what these US guys would make of Ant and Dec when they do Saturday morning kids TV, rememmber the regular weekly farting Sketch (one of the characters had a bad wind problem )

What would cause offence would be an american performing over here and saying "Sit on your Fanny" as this has a completely different meaning here.

Phillip
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As for acceptable for kids, how about Robert Munsch books? He has sold 10's of millions of children's books world wide and topped the New York Time's book list with many. One of his classics is titled "Good Families Don't" and it is all about farting.

Or, there is the award winning children's television show, "Big Comfy Couch" which also does skits about passing wind and other bodily functions. This show was syndicated on PBS and I believe shows in many countries around the world and has been watched by millions of children's and their parents.

You may not agree with these two extremely popular children's entertainment examples, but they're working for somebody.

Rob
Macbeth
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Quote:
On 2005-02-16 06:46, p.b.jones wrote:
HI Macbeth,
I wonder what these US guys would make of Ant and Dec when they do Saturday morning kids TV, rememmber the regular weekly farting Sketch (one of the characters had a bad wind problem )
Phillip


Quality entertainment. I still remember them reading the letter from the kid whose dad used to fart in the biscuit tin.
Tom Jorgenson
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After watching many magicians perform at fairs, etc., I have realized that there is a relationship between off-humor and a very real unconscious dislike for kids. I have seen one magician stick a bird's butt into a kids face so he can smell it, this same magician makes fart jokes, dirty underwear jokes and bad breath jokes.

I have also noticed that it is the most talentless of performers who rely on these remarks. Apparently they can think of nothing better or funnier.

My opinion? These are children. Keep it clean or get off the stage!
We dance an invisible dance to music they cannot hear.
prude
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British people are indeed very vulgar and I note that young Mr Johnson comes from Australia which is one of the most vulgar and improper places on the face of the earth.

However there is no lack of crudeness in North America either. I am quite surprised and beyond horror to discover that Mr Evans does the Bra trick in his children's show. I understand he is a schoolteacher and a Canadian. This is a very odd combination quite out of character with the bra trick. I suppose the years of appearing at a leading Toronto dinner theatre must have worn down his high standards of propriety.

Mr Johnson brags about how funny he is as a children's entertainer. He also said in a previous posting that if everything politically correct was removed then he and others would no longer be funny.

This of course is utter rot. If he cannot be funny without using vulgarity I would suggest strongly that he work on it. There are thousands of entertainers the world over who are extremely funny indeed and eschew vulgarity utterly and completely. With regard to him being "funny" without being classy I can assure him that it is perfectly possible to be funny and classy at the same time. I suggest he puts a bit of effort into it. It should be possible even in Australia.

Perhaps we should narrow this down into the context of a childrens show which is supposed to be the intent of this discussion. We can leave vulgar adult perfomers to their own crude devices for the moment. I do not think Mr Darrow's suggestion of checking with the parents to be a good one. It only brings attention to the matter. If I were the sort of person who would wish to inflict crudeness on my audiences I would just go ahead and do it on the grounds that forgiveness is easier to obtain than permission and perhaps the parents will be too inattentive to notice.

Canadians shouldn't be doing tricks like this. They are not the sort of people that one associates with this type of material. I would have thought that the Bra trick would be more suitable for Australia. In fact I heard that a performer in Perth makes quite a speciality of it. Very improper indeed.

If you think that you should perform in a posh manner for the Duchess of York ( I have a feeling that she might not be as posh as you think) you should show equal respect for "lesser" audiences. Mrs Bush may not be averse to "earthy" humour but that does not mean that she would appreciate it for her guests. I get a feeling that her husband might be a trifle intolerant about the matter too.

At any rate regular people should be treated with the same respect as the high and mighty.

I really don't think I am going to say much more about this matter. It is perfectly clear to me that there is an eroding of the high standards that should be a prerequisite of performing magic. I learned to keep things at a high level when I first studied the art. It is better for the performer, better for the art and better for the audience.

It simply is not necessary to use even the slightest vulgarity as a children's entertainer. I have managed for decades without it and with all due immodesty I don't believe there is a single person here who can match the entertainment I produce when I perform for children.

No. I don't need to see any of you perform to judge. I can just sense it from your postings.

This place is really like an Australian lavatory. I shall leave you all to urinate and defecate in it.

I am going to much fresher and more entertainment appropriate pastures.

Good day and do try to clean your act up, won't you?
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