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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The little darlings » » Bits for adults in your kids shows (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Andrew Mann
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Australia
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G'day again, I was just curious if anyone had any good bits, jokes, lines etc they use in their kids shows for the benefit of adults?

I remember seeing in an old book for entertaining children that said you shouldn't do anything like that, but I figure if Disney does it in their cartoons, and do it so well then why shouldn't I.

cheers
Andrew Smile
Andy Wonder
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Auckland, New Zealand
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Hi Andrew. I’m not a big fan of witty verbal jokes & puns. A few good puns can help tune in adults that think your show is kids stuff, but very few puns are all that funny. Funny situations are always going to be much more powerful than funny words. I believe the funniest type of comedy for the adults comes from getting a child helper so say something surprising. Children can make some off the cuff remarks that are really funny. Almost any unusual or surprising statement a child makes while helping as a lot of comedy potential, especially when it appears to catch you off guard.

Paul Daniels does this very well in his Linking Ring routine. While he is explaining there are no gaps or holes in the ring he gets the child to examine the ring. He then askes if there are any holes in ring. The child says 'yes', Paul appears caught off guard & it is very funny for the adults. Of course he has held the ring so the child is looking through the hole in the centre just as the question is put to the child.

In my own act I miscount a series of coins. After the children pull me up about miscounting I explain my child assistant was counting for me & knows exactly how many coins have been counted. I can get all type of reactions from the child at this stage and many times they are very funny.

Children don’t care much for this type of comedy but adults love it. It can be a bit hit or miss depending on the child you have helping but if you look for this type of opportunity for comedy in your existing act you will find it everywhere. Once you have a child say something funny on one show you can try & encourage similar comments again & again, even if you plant the seeds by using the same joke discreetly with them before the show.
Andy Wonder, Auckland, New Zealand
Dennis Michael
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Southern, NJ
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The simple answer to Andrews question is that is OK to shoot a pun at the adults.

Now, there are some requirements for doing this.

1. The "line" isn't risque (off-color).
2. The line fits the routine.
3. There are Not a lot of them in the show.

If it falls flat a couple of times take it out.
Dennis Michael
itshim
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Milton Keynes
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Hey, I'm going to disagree with people again.
I perform most of my kids shows to families or family groups. My aim is to entertain everyone. If there are a few lines that the kids don't understand but make the adults laugh it isn't a problem. Kids will laugh if the adults do, that isn't true the other way around. Some of the lines that I use are risque in a sense (At one point in the show when I have an adult helper I also have a very large knife, I ask the man if he is jewish, if he answers no then I ask him if he wants to be) it flys completely over the kids heads but gets a BIG laugh from the parents. No audience member in the 15 or so years of me performing has ever complained about that line. One kids entertainer has! (needless to say I ignored him - it is the paying public that counts not your competition)

My philosophy is that I entertain the whole of the group in front of me. If the majority are very young then I am much sillier than if they are older but I will still throw in gags for the adults. The real check to see if I am right or wrong is if I get invited back, and my business is growing year on year.

Like all advice you should take this with a pinch of salt, what works for one performer will not necessarily work for you.

Nigel
I knew a man who kept saying "pliers, pincers, scissors". He was speaking in tongs.

www.itshim.co.uk
Dennis Michael
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Southern, NJ
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Nigel,

You feel comfortable with that line, and I don't.

Because I don't feel comfortable, doesn't mean it's wrong for you. There are these lines I hear all the time. I choose not to use them by choice. On the other hand, I use comedy props others would not use. (Remember the Mouth Coils Postings)

I absolutely agree with the statement "What works for one performer will not necessarily work for you."

Dennis
Dennis Michael
Kent Wong
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Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
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Nigel,

I don't have a problem with the line, but I don't think I would every use a giant knife in any of my kids shows. That's just my personal preference.

Once in a while, I do put in a few groaners into my show, but like Dennis said, I try to make sure it fits into the rest of the routine. Otherwise, I risk ruining the rhythm of the effect. For instance, when I introduce the Chinese Linking Rings, I introduce it as the Magic of the Chinese Rings. I tell the audience I know that these are Chinese Rings because it says very clearly one each and every ring "Made in China".

In another effect, the Chinese Sticks, I tell a story of a famous magician who used to perform in China. His name was Foo Ling Soo. You may have heard of his famous brother who was also a magician. His name was Foo Ling You.

Again, these are absolute groaners, but they fit in with the expository portion of the effect without ruining the rhythm of the trick.

Kent
"Believing is Seeing"
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calamari
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The San Francisco Bay Area
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You might want to add the panty switch (like in the Coperfield show) the dads will love it.
"I came, I saw, SHE conquered." (The original Latin seems to have been garbled.)
Mr.Wizard
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Some of you need to spend a lot more time watching Bugs Bunny.

WB writers made it very clear that the visual was for the kids, but the lines were for the adults. They knew who was in the seats.

My shows have been on two levels for many years, it is a good idea, if you can do it.
calamari
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Did Bugs Bunny do a panty switch too.
"I came, I saw, SHE conquered." (The original Latin seems to have been garbled.)
Skip Way
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I have always subscribed to the "Rocky & Bullwinkle" and "Simpsons" philosophy of entertaining. That is...dual level. You should develop portions of your show to entertain the children and certain portions for the adults...then blend it all together into a seamless program. Personally, I wouldn't use something (that I consider to be) as crude as the "knife" joke above. I find that, in the Southern Bible Belt, potty, sexual and fart humor tends to turn parents of small children off...and that hurts business.

I prefer open-ended political humor - "That's the IRS method of counting!", "Confusing? Yep...I'm preparing you for when you grow up and have to deal with Congress!", "These ropes must have been made under a Govt contract!" and so on. Adults get the humor and laugh, kids simply enjoy the silliness and no one is offended.

On the other hand...if you live in Chicago, the Bronx or Southern LA...offensive adult humor may be the name of your game! It all comes down to you...either way, entertain the adults WHILE you entertain the kids. The big ones are the ones with the checkbooks!

Skip
How you leave others feeling after an Experience with you becomes your Trademark.

Magic Youth Raleigh - RaleighMagicClub.org
calamari
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"The big ones are the ones with the checkbooks!"
this is key, if the adults have a good time they will rehire you and they have better memories than 5 year olds.

An easy and effective way to start making your childrens program more enjoyable for adults is to not talk down to your audience. You know all the exagerate oooooh I know what lets do boys and girls... children are not idiots or slow or retarded they understand plain english without slowing your speach or using small words,
"I came, I saw, SHE conquered." (The original Latin seems to have been garbled.)
LostSoul
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Dave
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I think I’m joining the consensus here and say do the show on two levels. I think the best example of this was Robin Williams as the Genie in Aladdin. My son must have been about 8 when we saw it, he thought he got all of the jokes! A lot of them were for the adults. If you can pull off humor on this level for your kids shows you’ll really please everyone. (Robin Williams did this so well, Disney used it for the marketing, which upset Mr. Williams because that’s not what they had agreed to. That’s why in the second movie there was a different Genie who wasn’t nearly as good.)

Dave
Tom Stevens
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I've gotten lots of remarks from the adults who enjoyed the show because I was able to be quick witted. One example:

I made a balloon sword for one routine which I handed to the volunteer assistant. Another kid then yelled out "Make Me One!"
I glanced at him, waved my hands and said "You are one".

This got a great laugh from everyone including his parents who obviously knew him to be demanding. Not unusual for a 4 or 5 year old.

That's an example of humour that the adults get and yet is not low-brow humour.
Skip Way
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My favorite examples of dual-level humor are "Rocky & Bullwinkle" and nearly any of the ORIGINAL Looney Tunes (They've become so politically correct lately that they've lost their edge. Disgusting!) The slapstick action and plots appeal to the children but the characters are always doing or saying something that amuss on an adult level. The Three Stooges and the Marx Bros. handled this well. We have so many excellent examples of dual level humor available to us through the miracle of DVD and VHS...what a great time to live, eh?

Skip
How you leave others feeling after an Experience with you becomes your Trademark.

Magic Youth Raleigh - RaleighMagicClub.org
Danny Diamond
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As the father of a 14 month old, I watch a lot of kids shows with my little boy. Of all the shows that run throughout the day, I enjoy watching Sesame Street with him the most. There is a reason for the long-running phenomonal success of this show. It combines education, entertainment, music, AND some little jokes for the adults as well. There are lines in every episode that you know don't even register with the kids, but give the adults a chuckle.

I love the idea of little jokes that are meant to entertain the adults in attendance, but DO NOT take away or stall the entertainment for the kids. I do this in all of my shows, but I do it cautiously. I never do or say anything remotely questionable or vulgar - just little one-liners that fly just above the kids heads.
You don't drown by falling in the water;

you drown by staying there.



- Edwin Louis Cole
Owen Anderson
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Some great adult tidbits can be had by listening to the kids who help you. At one show a child holding a handkerchief for me dropped it. She looked upset and said “it slipped.” I nodded, picked it up for her and said “slip happens” and we carried on. Adults paying attention got a good chuckle and I got a new line. The child meanwhile had her concerned acknowledged.
Owen Anderson
Tom Stevens
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I was doing a kids show today and this line came to me as I was about to do my rope trick.
"I brought a rope today." then mumbled "just in case the show doesn't go so good".
The kids missed it entireley, but all the parents were laughing.

Some of you may use the "Chicken sandwich" which is mentioned in "Kid Stuff 5". I get the best response when it is used after there has been one particularly difficult child. I actually send one of my wands to go and make me a chicken sandwich after it has been making me look silly. I finally get the chicken sandwich and thank the wand profusely, however the kids can all see the rubber chicken prutruding from the sides of the fake bread and start yelling, but it's too late because I've already taken a bite and then recoil in horror, reprimanding the wand for again making me look silly. I look at the slice of bread and moan "great, now I look like a turkey. Wanna see the turkey?" Kids say YES!!! Then I show the difficult child the slice and the adults all laugh because they can see what I'm doing. If you have this prop you will know what I mean.
Mind you this has to be done without actually being upset at the child who was causing the trouble. It has to be really good natured, and you can act puzzled as to why they can't see the turkey. But you then put it away and move on to the next trick. If you don't have a kid that's acting up in your show you will not get the strong reaction.
That's how I've turned a bad situation to my advantage. And have used humour that everyone can enjoy, but the adults get the punch line because they probably have to deal with kids and are interested to see how you will deal with it.
KeirRoyale
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Throwing the adults a bone once in a while is a great idea. I get a lot of positive feedback from it. The best kids show are the ones with adults present also so you gotta keep their attention.

I talk about "the secret move" in my kids show. Audience, do you know the "secret move"??? Oh that's where you move the night before your rent is due!

Goes right over the kid's head but is still family friendly.
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