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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Penny for your thoughts » » Can a mentalist be funny? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Parson Smith
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Once again, Mr. Osterlind has taken the bull by the tail and looked him right in the eye.
Taking ourselves too seriously causes pain for us and our audiences.
A touch of self-deprecating humor can go a long way.
I know a magician who thinks that he is wonderful. He thinks that he is the epitome of class. He fools people with his sleights. But once when I mentioned his name, a person responded... "You can keep him."
We have a relationship with our audiences. Any relationship that doesn't have a bit of comic relief is probably in trouble.
Peace,
Parson
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Josh Zandman
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You said it perfectly Parson. I play music nightly here in Waikiki and there is nothing better then adding humor within your act. You can relate more to the audience and they feel more comfortable. You become more approchable to them and that causes a temp friendship that lets everyone have a great time.

Also, the more bad jokes I tell - the better my music sounds!
http://www.myspace.com/joshzandman
Josho
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Look at it from the point of view of a writer creating a character...a character who happens to have psychic abilities of some sort (whether as the focal point or merely the catalyst).

If a person actually had psychic abilities, what would their personality be like?

On one hand, a person with psychic abilities would have ample reason to have a finely-developed sense of humor. Why? Because psychic abilities can be a handicap as well as a gift. Reading others' thoughts that you may not want to know? Unintentionally communicating thoughts to others? Having a power that you cannot always predict or control? These are great potential sources of adversity in one's life, and humor is a fundamental way people deal with adversity. Look at comedians in general; their lives are usually marked by pain of one sort or another. In the decade I spent touring as a comedian, I have never seen a more dysfunctional, unhappy group of people as comics, and they all deal with it (in part) through humor. (Also drugs and alcohol!)

Of course, I've also argued that the same reasoning can be used to create a psychic character who is depressed (this would be the "not very well-adjusted" psychic).

Then you have the psychic characters who, while not depressed, are almost always serious, only permitting an occasional drily humorous observation. These are characters who, having psychic abilities, have decided therefore to be scholars of human thought, and, as scholars, have the typical academic air of seriousness and superiority.

Any psychic character can be created to have any characteristic, if it's thought through with an understanding of human nature and an ability to create a well-rounded backstory.

--Josh
Parson Smith
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Josh,
What a great post. And I agree that a psychic could have any of these personality traits.
I personally believe that the humorous character is likely to be more entertaining.
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Parson
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Thomas Rudolfo
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This thread reminds me on Jay Sankey's wonderful DVD 'Boris Pocus-Extremely Mental'. IMO a great Mental Performance where you not only can learn some really amazing routines (Mona Lisa is one of my favourite of this which I did perform) but also high entertainment value.

If you imagine that you would play this mental show including this character Jay plays IMO this would highly entertain an audience. Of course it must fit your style so it woldn't fit my style but that is an excellent example how funny and amazing mentalism can be. that's theater.

Whenever I think of this DVD I must laugh out loud.

Greetings
Thomas
Think positive and you'll see, how beautiful your life can be!

www.der-mentalist.net
archini
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Well, Thanks Ian and Peter for those kinds words, it is very flattering to be included with so many illustrious names.

Of course it is possible to do very strong comedy with strong mentalism, I think the two complement each other very well, but it doesn't mean you have to use comedy.... I would say that if you are not a natural wit 'on stage' (Funny off stage doesn't always mean funny on stage) then don't try it. Having said that comedy is a powerful misdirectional tool, people relax when they laugh, it's almost impossible to watch or study what is going on as you laugh out loud. I do most of my dirty work on a laugh. It's even better thab asking a question.
Something I will discuss more on ALAKAZAM and Mr Nardi's upcoming video realease of my good self

The truthy is that if Eric Morecambe (or Bob hope for our readers across the pond)had suddenly discovered that he had strange powers would he suddenly lose his sense of humour?

Interesting discussion though.

Cheers,

John Archer
Parson Smith
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John,
I really do believe that Bob Hope can talk to the dead.
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Magical Lady
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Archini -

In other words to each his own - just be yourself! Smile

Everything I have EVER heard about you Mr. A, has almost ALWAYS started with the comment that you have the most brilliant sense of humour, so it stands to reason that there would be lots of humour whenever and wherever you were performing. No wonder then that you are credited as being one of the most entertaining performers by other, also excellent, fellow magicians and mentalists!

On the other hand, the David Blaine's of this world have sort of made their name exhibiting a very serious overtone to their shows. Im sure if David Blaine even TRIED to do a performance where he was cracking jokes and being very witty throughout when he would otherwise normally be 'in character' the audience would probably think he was on something! Smile

Best
ML x
inorthcott
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I think any good show should contain all elements of comedy, tradgedy, and lots of other emotions if possible.

Mentalism is entertainment and people do like to have a laugh.

Ian
"Life's too short for wasting - for ifs and might have beens"
Richard Osterlind
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Quote:
On 2005-11-26 07:37, Magical Lady wrote:
Archini -

In other words to each his own - just be yourself! Smile


On the other hand, the David Blaine's of this world have sort of made their name exhibiting a very serious overtone to their shows. Im sure if David Blaine even TRIED to do a performance where he was cracking jokes and being very witty throughout when he would otherwise normally be 'in character' the audience would probably think he was on something! Smile

Best
ML x




Actually, David Blaine is a very funny and charming individual in person. His "persona" on television is theatrical in exactly the same way a rock star often assumes an "attitude" on stage.

Richard
CALENIG
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In my opinion we should be natural. If our personality is naturally humourus, there is nothing wrong with putting this to our advantage by being funny, as the audience will feel relaxed with our character. I think the trouble comes when Magicians,Mentalists, try to adopt other people characters and try to force being "Funny", and thus end up being cocky and giving our art a bad name.Better to play to our Strengths. Just a Thought!!!
mormonyoyoman
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Quote:
On 2005-11-26 02:56, Parson Gary Smith wrote:
John,
I really do believe that Bob Hope can talk to the dead.
Peace,
Parson


Especially now.

*jeep!
--Chet (The real problem with talking to the dead is not TALKING to 'em, but getting 'em to listen. When they laugh at your jokes and applaud, you're really doing well.)
#ShareGoodness #ldsconf
Parson Smith
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Chet,
I can't even get the living to laugh at my jokes.
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Parson
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Magical Lady
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Quote:
Actually, David Blaine is a very funny and charming individual in person. His "persona" on television is theatrical in exactly the same way a rock star often assumes an "attitude" on stage.

Richard

Thank you for pointing that out. Yes, apparently he is. I have a friend working with him at the moment and he too says that in person he is a charming and witty man - and from some of the pranks Ive heard about - great fun to be around too it seems! Smile

The serious stage persona certainly seems to work for DB and the comedy stage persona for JA.

Whatever feels right for the individual seems to be the best way to go?

Best

ML x
Parson Smith
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Anyone who things that a mentalist can't be funny needs to look at my avatar.
Peace,
Parson (don't laugh at the crippled boy) Smith
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Magical Lady
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You ALWAYS make ME smile Parson - and for all the right reasons! Smile

Best
ML x
mormonyoyoman
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Quote:
On 2005-11-27 22:41, Parson Gary Smith wrote:
Parson (don't laugh at the crippled boy) Smith


Sure, NOW you tell me!

*jeep!
--Chet
#ShareGoodness #ldsconf
Parson Smith
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ML,
Haven't heard from you in a while. How are you doing?
How's tricks?
Stay Happy.

Chet,
Anybody who would call himslf Mormonyoyoman can laugh at me anytime.
Peace,
Parson
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JordanMalfreed
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I'll answer the original question with a rhetorical question.

Can a comedian be serious?
Carlos the Great
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Quote:
On 2005-11-29 16:50, JordanMalfreed wrote:
I'll answer the original question with a rhetorical question.

Can a comedian be serious?


I was watching something the other day, I think it was called The Comedians of Comedy. In it, one of the comics was telling a story about how his father died when he was young so he grew up with just his mother around. He tells this as he starts to get into a trick. Well, an older, well-known comic came up to him to give him some advice. His advice was *NOT* to mention that his father died, maybe say his parents were divorced or whatever. The reasoning is that you don't want to make the audience sad before you tell a joke. The comedian from the show said that he totally disagreed with the advice (I do too, for the record) but I think the point is valid.

These were both successful comics who have completely different viewpoints of the idea of being serious (or bringing up very serious ideas). Based on that, I don't think that you can really ask a rhetorical question because there isn't a clear answer, even among successful members of the field.

I thought I would point this out because 1) I saw it yesterday so it was fresh in my mind and 2) it shows how something that seems obvious to us (I agree with the sentiment Jordan) may not be as accurate as we think.

My personal feeling is that comedy works, if it fits into the routine and the performers style. That's it. Some people shouldn't try to be funny, some are without trying. But that is just my opinion.

-Carlos
Cognite tute
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