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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Penny for your thoughts » » Comedy and Mentalism (11 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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mansomago
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spain
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What jokes do you use when you are performing a mentalism act?
Ted Lesley
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Hello:
What kind of jokes you use during a performance of mentalism depends on your own personality. If you`re not funny at all, don`t crack jokes on the stage! Avoid "blue" material. Reserve this for the many so-called "Comedy Clubs".

Being "funny" and lovable at the same time is NOT an easy task. Even if you are privately a good joke-teller, being one on stage is different AND difficult!!!

ESPecially


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Ted Lesley

( The "Victor Borge" of Mentalism )
Brash
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As a general rule I would avoid "jokes". A little wit in your presentation is good, maybe a few one-liners that "fit" with a routine and your presentation style.

A little self-deprecating humour can add a lot. Being able to laugh at yourself can make you more likeable to your audience, but any jokes at the expense of your audience and volunteers is generally a bad idea.
David Fletcher
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The best humor is that which springs from the situation. After a while you will be able to set up your performance to elicit responses from your audience to which you can pop out with a remark that seems extemporaneous (but is well planned).

A non-mental example: Borrow a $20 bill, promising to return it just as it is. Do the bill switch to a hundred. Tell'em it's just an illusion and you promised to return it as it was. Here is where you want them to say something like "no, I'll take the hundred". The response is something like "hey, that's OK, Harry, but I'm a magician, not an idiot."
Use your personality to get them to do the set-up.

As Ted and Brian mentioned - never blue and never at the spectator's expense.
You have to give it away to keep it.
eric2104
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saint-martin (French West Indies)
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Hi Mansomago

Here's a recommendation. Get hold of Terry Nosek's "Collected Works of Sigmund Fraud", his book on Comedy Mentalism.

In it, you will find many examples of mentalism humor, and several pages of funny lines to be used during shows.

Of course, those lines are in English, but many of them also work in Spanish.

This being said, I find it rather difficult to mix good comedy with good mentalism. Not everybody is Terry Nosek...

Best of luck anyway.
Regards,
Eric.
Smile
"All magic is mental"
Tony Shiels.
tim_mantis
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If you get a chance to see John Archer perform, do so! Most of his routines are mentalism, all performed in a stand-up comedian style. He is the best example of mentalism mixed with comedy I have ever seen.

Tim
Alexei Kee
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Hello!

Where can I get a copy of Terry Nosek's "Collected Works of Sigmund Fraud"? I've been searching on google, ebay, amazon, magic stores, etc., and I have had no answer... Is the book out of print?

Thanx in advance.

AK Smile
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kuffs
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I think so, but I can be wrong!

I found mine at Hank Lee couple years ago

Good luck

Take care

Kuffs
Manfredo
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There are other books on comedy mentalism. Bob Nelson has edited three books with articles from different authors. I haven't read them. Perhaps here is somebody who can comment them?
Aloso there is a script from Peter Marucci.
kuffs
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The Nelson book contains some good ideas that you can play with and adapt for today's audience. It's a good way to start creating new routines.

Take care

Kuffs
Steve Hoffman
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Ted Lesley is right. Humor on stage is difficult. Comedian Jerry Seinfeld once said that the tiny adjustments one makes (in timing, in wording, in delivery, etc.) are like dealing with all the controls in the cockpit of a jet airplane!

In my opinion, the best way to come up with some original humorous material for a mentalism act is not to copy jokes that other mentalists have used, but rather to search out humorous material that deals with whatever subject matter "frames" your mentalism effect.

Also, there is probably only one way to know if a particular line is funny -- i.e., whether it is funny when coming out of your mouth. Try it in a performance. If people laugh, it's funny. If they don't, it's not. Definitely do not keep on using a "funny" line if you've used it five years and nobody has even chuckled! On the other hand, if ANYTHING you say or do gets a laugh (sometimes something you hadn't even planned on), make a note of it -- you've uncovered or created something funny . . . . !

Steve Hoffman
Takoma Park
Sven Rygh
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Quote:
On 2003-11-30 08:26, Alexei Kee wrote:
Hello!

Where can I get a copy of Terry Nosek's "Collected Works of Sigmund Fraud"? I've been searching on google, ebay, amazon, magic stores, etc., and I have had no answer... Is the book out of print?

Thanx in advance.

AK Smile


I believe Midwest Magic still has it.

Sven
Steve Hoffman
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Anyone have contact info for Midwest Magic (phone # or website) -- I couldn't find it in a google search...

Steve H.
mailto:steve@goodnote.com
jlibby
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A tip from ventriloquist Jeff Dunham (Stand up Comedian of the Year at the American Comedy Awards a few years ago): Give a new joke a fair try. Use it at least three times. If it doesn't get a laugh after three trials, then dump it, or rework it, or whatever.

See ya!
Joe L.
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Jon Stetson
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Contact Tim Felix at Midwest Magic. The phone number is 847-455-4288.
bigdunk007
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I think keeping it serious strengthens mentalism - its still entertainment!
Lord Of The Horses
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I don't know if I have the right definiton of "comedy" in your language but if you want to see some VERY good Mentalism mixed with comedy, IMO you should watch some performers like TIM CONOVER (Hi Tim!) and JOHN PULLUM (Hi John!)

I personally find them la creme de la creme.
Then you'll rise right before my eyes, on wings that fill the sky, like a phoenix rising!
Dr. TORA
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I think making comedy or being funny is just a hair thickness apart. You may begin to do comedy but end up being an idiot. I admire Ted Lesley's jokes and Aldo Colombini's as well as guidelines. I sometimes use them in my shows if they fit. Ted Lesley has let me to use his jokes and effects, in person (so kind, thanks). I recommend not to use any dirty jokes or jokes which are complicated to comprehend. Nevertheless be careful not to go away from the effect for the sake of making a joke. Smile Smile Smile Smile
Magically Yours,

OZLEN TUNCER /Dr.TORA

Have you visited my new Website in English, yet?

www.magictora.com or www.torasmagic.com
shrink
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I actually agree with using some lines from others, not just mentalists just to get "kick" started. If you do enough shows then funny lines, jokes, even presentational routines appear as if by magic or is it mentalism?

Once you are relaxed on stage you will create new material as you perform.

The first "trick" to creating a show is to have something that you know works by studying others (this goes against a lot of advice given on here).

This means you will get booked and paid. This also means you will be in front of enough people enough times to relax and create your own material. If you are any good or creative within a year or so you will have an original act.

But the first step is to have something that "works" so you can appear before enough audiences to develop your own style... Smile
Christian
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Shrink,

I cannot agree more with you. It is nearly impossible to develop a routine from scratch by just sitting behind a desk. This is true for both, sleights and presentations. A lot of lines I think would come across as being funny, eventually in the real world do not come across as desired. On the contrary, there are also some unexpected funny moments.
The bottom line is that you have to have a starting point. If you have to try out the stuff in front of paying audiences, you cannot afford to show routines that are obviously just raw material. The only way to overcome this is to use audience tested routines. Almost automatically, one steps away bit by bit from the trick and develops his own unique way, but this takes time.
Having understood this process, I very much regret that a lot of books just outline the bare bones of a trick. The few ones which do (Theatre of the mind, Mentalism, Inc, e.g.,) have much more value. We, as consumers of magic books, should create a demand for books that give as much details for a demonstration as possible. Only this way, we can use the material as a starting point for our own original routines.
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