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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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shrink
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I have an idea for a book that maps the elements of successful mentalism and presentational techniques. Ive started a thread in inner thoughts that touches on some of the ideas. "Power Mentalism".

Now if I can just sit down and make a start!!!!
Erik Anderson
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Instead of thinking about what kind of comedy to do, consider instead how you can best be an interesting person that people will genuinely like on stage and let your humor grow out of that approach. There are often many opportunities to use humor in the course of a mentalism program but it must be an outgrowth of who you are. "Being yourself" on stage is a difficult thing to learn how to do. But it is absolutely essential in mentalism as you don't have the pretty painted boxes to hide behind.
Erik "Aces" Anderson

"I never let my schooling get in the way of my education." ~ Mark Twain

http://www.acesanderson.com
wally
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Anyone want to sell /trade - terry nosek THE COLLECTED WORKS OF SIGMUND FRAUD
John C
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It's an easy search:

https://midwestmagic.net/shop/item.asp?itemid=291

Dr. Sigmund Fraud, that is! His collected works (this book) will provide a classic touch of both dramatic and comedy mentalism that will lift your presentations above the crowd. Imagine, if you will, a perfect blend of proven effects--professional secrets and unique presentations. t’s all here in a 72 page, beautifully produced book, complete with insightful advice, material samples and reproducible props. Written by Terry (Dr. Sigmun
The ULTIMATE Routine Series: rebirth soon!
Dario
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Even with comedy the effect has to be believable. It's very interesting explorer this field and how to blend comedy with mental effects.
You have to be funny or have aninterestinc persona on stage for do comedy mentalism.
If not, you are doing comedy mental magic, because you can't pretend you are reading minds dressing goofy suits or using antennas to help you.
harris
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Harris Deutsch
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I'm new to this forum.

I agree the humor should fit you and your venue, not copied jokes.
In the most serious subjects I speak on, there is always humor.

I have found it useful whether presenting on the radio,
schools, to clinicians or mixed audiences.
Many movies script humor bits right before heavy moments.

Harris
Still too old to know it all
Harris Deutsch aka dr laugh
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music, magic and marvelous toys
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George Hunter
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There are uses of presentational humor that have not yet been emphasized in this thread. While some humor can be used, for levity, in (say) the transition time from one effect to the next, a joke should usually support the effect. If it does, it matters less if the people laugh; the effect is still supported. Like in public speaking, if a joke supports or illustrates the speaker's premise, theme, or point, an amused audience response is an added (and welcome) benefit. Within this perspective, the issue of whether the line or joke is original or copied would not be real important, though originality is preferred.

George
sandsjr
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I think humor can be a devastating means of misdirection. If it is 100% natural (feels real not contrived) and coherent with what you are doing at that time it is completely disarming and relaxing. To ask, "What jokes do you use?" might be the wrong approach. It might be better to ask yourself what kind of joke might be appropriate for a particular time and place in your routine.

Of course humor is an effective tool for other reasons as well.
David Thiel
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The biggest mistake performers make is relying on stock lines: "You don't know me, do you? Gee...you seem pretty happy about that" etc. It does a couple of things. First: the performer is headed for that "line" and, because their focus is on getting there, they aren't listening to the interaction with the volunteer -- which is where most really good comedy is waiting. Second -- it puts the performer in 'autopilot' mode. This is not good in a magic show -- and is literally courting disaster in a mentalism show -- which is all about paying attention and being COMPLETELY present. Finally: they are stock lines for a reason: LOTS of people are using them. Watch street performers -- and you'll hear many of the same lines being used over and over again.

The second thing: if you're not a naturally funny person, don't try to be one. It's going to come off as forced -- also a really dangerous proposition in a mentalism show. Your whole character -- and force of personality is really critical in mentalism where there are no props to hide behind and the performer can't rely on the "tuh-duh" moments a magician aims for. If the personality isn't real, the whole show is built on a shaky foundation.

You need to be alert to what's happening in the show. If something funny happens, something GENUINELY funny, and you can play with it a little without derailing the impact of what you're doing -- go for it. Most of us are in the entertainment business.

I think the single best piece of advice I heard about this came from Bob Cassidy -- who has maintained that you can have all kinds of fun on either side of the effect -- but NEVER when you're performing the effect. That part has to be kept serious.

The old saying about 'if you're having fun, the audience is having fun' really is true. Real comedy is fresh and intelligent and clever. It has to appear spontaneous. When I was making a living as a comedy magician I used to think that doing the magic was easy. Getting genuine laughs? That was hard.

David
Whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Except bears. Bears will kill you.


www.MindGemsBrainTrust.com
www.magicpendulums.com
www.MidnightMagicAndMentalism.com
mastermindreader
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Thanks, David. I think I should explain that in a bit more detail, though. You can have all the fun you want when you APPEAR not to be doing anything related to the effect.

Occasionally, magicians will say that I do comedy mentalism. I don't. I say a lot of funny things, but the mentalism itself is always serious.
sandsjr
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Quote:
On Jul 13, 2014, David Thiel wrote:

I think the single best piece of advice I heard about this came from Bob Cassidy -- who has maintained that you can have all kinds of fun on either side of the effect -- but NEVER when you're performing the effect. That part has to be kept serious.
David


This isn't accurate. "Your little dead dog," "turn sideways so everyone can see," "you lick it yourself," etc. are examples of comedy used for keeping things light, misdirection and continuity respectively. Comedy is used "during" the effect to serve a purpose.

Everything for a reason.

One other thing to keep in mind is the million-dollar advice of Ken Weber on the big 3... Laughter, Rapt Attention, Astonishment....

(I believe I paraphrase as this is from my notes) If a person is not enthralled, amused , or amazed by your words or your actions, and I mean every word and every action, then they're on their way to being bored!

Luckily in mentalism we are not being watched by people in the same way they watch a magician... to catch something. Nevertheless, comedy is a tension releaser, it's a natural relaxer and can help make things invisible when used in a clever way.

What would you like to make more invisible? Write in the appropriate/natural comedy at that place. Direct attention with your body language and the comedy.
mastermindreader
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Again- the mentalism itself, i.e., the revelations and the process, I always do seriously. The asides that I make are completely separate from that. In other words, I don't present mentalism as comedy, but I use comedy to enhance the act.

There is a big difference between comedy mentalism and mentalism presented with humorous asides.

Comedy is presented during the effect, but is not part of the effect. In comedy mentalism, the effects are presented as jokes. (The magic duck or dummy reveals the thought, etc.)
sandsjr
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Quote:
On Jul 13, 2014, mastermindreader wrote:
... I use comedy to enhance the act.


This is exactly what I was saying. However, it is comedy used "when you are performing the effect."
mastermindreader
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Bit it clearly is not PART of the effect. That's my point. In comedy mentalism, the effect itself is presented as a joke. I present all of my effects as if they are the real thing.

But who ever said that a mind reader can't have a sense of humor? Smile
sandsjr
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Quote:
On Jul 14, 2014, mastermindreader wrote:
But who ever said that a mind reader can't have a sense of humor? Smile


I was saying this EXACT thing to myself today while working on improving a script for an effect I'm re-introducing to my show.

When you read that quote I pulled from David's post you can see how it could be a little confusing/misinforming.
ELDEMONIO
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I saw Mr. Cassidy at the Magic Castle and he was doing just what he has mentioned. He had the audience laughing about things that didn't have to do with the effect per se like the name of a woman's dog. It came naturally to say something about such a funny name but it was not part of the effect. When things were revealed it was done without comedy and it was astonishing to the audience.

I also see Derren Brown take this sort of approach in his shows. There's lots of funny bits and pieces throughout like his "tossing his monkey to select audience members" yet when it is the climax of the effect it's done in a much more serious tone. Non of us would consider Derren a comedy mentalist yet there's plenty of laughter in his shows and also plenty of serious mystery. I believe he even mentions in his Absolute Magic that comedy can kill the effect, I can't recall which chapter or section (Please correct me if I'm wrong).
AttnPls
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We are entertainers and humor is a huge part of that.

Mr. Cassidy's rule is a great way to explain to somebody the difference between using humor for entertainment while not trivializing the art.

I ran across a web site yesterday of yet another magician who suddenly turned "Comedy Mindreader". It was clear that he is taking his 20+ year of experience in comedy magic and "gone mental". His approach was clearly trivializing standard mentalism routines. It made me sick.

I'm am constantly astounded that people need to be told this stuff.
harris
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Harris Deutsch
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I respect and do not trivialize what you do.

My experience shows if you allow the audience to see you/ me, it allows Us to connect.
And the stronger the connection the better our show.

My warm up is a mix of me,humor and realism.
As I have written I am new to this forum.

I am not new to reading the literature.
My approach to this field will be similar to magic.
I am an Everyman with a touch of Clark Kent.

People make assumptions than They/We experience astonishment.
On another thread I mentioned a though of using vent in this field.
It has been in a few boxes of my brain for over 20 years.
Some mentioned kid show.
I respect artist in that field, but my audiences are usually much older.

Saturday will be part of a National Tour of Dust Draught & Broken Dreams

Harris
Still too old to know it all
Harris Deutsch aka dr laugh
drlaugh4u@gmail.com
music, magic and marvelous toys
http://magician.org/member/drlaugh4u
mastermindreader
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Harris-

The only reason I mentioned "kid shows" was because your list of satisfied clients on your site includes:

Leavenworth, Kansas USD 453 Schools
Lee's Summit R-7 Schools
Johnson County Libraries

Good thoughts,

Bob
harris
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Harris Deutsch
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No problem
I'm glad you checked my profile.
Libraries summer shows are little ones.

My school programs are with high school age.

I ask them if they want to see a cute bunny routine
Or one that may cause great mental anguish or physical harm.

Your way ahead of my answer.
I also use the fact that I work with teens in my adult programs.
Some if the teens have Mohawks, some faux hawks

I HAVE A NO HAWK.

The above is real and part of my warm up.
Another true line I use-

I wake up like this raring to go
Guess it's my ADHD
My wife calls it
Attention
Deficit
Husband
Disorder

Annie my beloved wife wrote the last line.

You are all appreciated by--
Harris.
Still too old to know it all
Harris Deutsch aka dr laugh
drlaugh4u@gmail.com
music, magic and marvelous toys
http://magician.org/member/drlaugh4u
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