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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Finger/stage manipulation » » Comedy Manip Act (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Flying Magus
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A while back I posted about creating an act around dice. I came to that theme after playing around with effects and techniques I was interested in. However, after developing the act further, I realised that I wasn't being true to myself. Basically I do comedy. If I try to do serious, I end up looking sick.

This all lead me to rethink the act. How does comedy tie in with a manipulation act? I thought perhaps the performer enters and there is a slot machine (as an example in keeping with the current theme) on a stand. The performer pulls the handle and it comes off in his hand. In an attempt to right the problem much comedy and magic ensues.

That's about the only idea I have so far. Is there much comedy stage manipulation out there? What has been done in the past (Cardini aside, as I don't think his was meant as 'comedy' as such.)
Magically yours,

Michel Fouché
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magic4u02
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Hi Michel and thanks for a great thread and post. I think it it this type of thinking that we need a bit more of for manipulative acts.

Cardini could certainly be regarded as a comedy style manuipulative magic act. In a sense he created a character people could associate with. His character allowed the audience to see him as an entertainer and not just someone showing off mere skill alone. When you watched his act you laughed and enjoyed yourself and got caught up in his character's plight against what was happening around him.

I think personally you are on the right track here. Manipulative magic does not always have to be so "in your face" or a show of skill alone. It can go in so many different directions if you just allow yourself to open up your mind to other unique possibilities. I think you are already starting to do that.

One thing you will want to do is to work on the character you want to become when on stage. In many ways the character can take on some of the same traits as how other perceive you in real life. If you are funny by nature, then perhaps your stage character also has a bit of that humor in him or her. Think of this character and who he is. What would he do under certian situations? How would he react to it? When a character is well defined in a manipulative act, then everything that happens in the act must revert back to the character in some way.

Next you need to determine if you are having a theme with the act. By this I mean what is heppening on stage and why? What are you trying to tell or convey to the audience through the character? When these are both defined, then you really start to establish the "foundation" for which the entire act gets built upon.

In your example, you have begun to create a character that is humerous and that is baffled by things happening around him. Perhaps things go wrong that he does not plan on happening and he must try and fix the problem the best that he can. Now develop that further and decide what are you having this character say and do on stage and what is he trying to convey to the audience watching the act?

The slot machine could be a great theme and a wonderful idea for which to create a manipulative act around this one theme and character on stage. Let me try and do some "free flow" brainstorming here with you if that would be ok. Get the creative juices flowing and see what can come from it to open new ideas.

Perhaps your character is young or perceived to be young. This can be established by perhaps a baseball hat on and carrying a back pack. He is walking home from school or something and walks past this slot machine. He walks back to it after doing a double take. He knows he is not supposed to play it so he looks one way and then the other way to make sure no one is watching. He is determined to play this thing no matter what but must be careful about it to not get caught. That is your premise. Now everything that happens to this poor kid is the magic that takes place as he interacts with the situation that goes bad.

For example he finds a coin and pulls the lever down. The lever breaks off in his hand and he panics. Oh now what does he do? His character knows he is not supposed to be there any ways. Just then you hear on the sound track a voice saying, exscuse me sir do you need any help? The kid takes the hat off and hides it and then decides to vanish the lever using a flip stick move as he shakes his head no. This becomes a natural thing to do because you are now progressing into the magic but the magic makes sense to the theme and to the character established.

The entire act can be him trying to just get things back in order again so he does not get caught and the problems he faces along the way. For example he places in a coin and he hits a jackpot. However the coins do not come out in the pan. He picks up a casino bucket and nothing. However instead of the coins coming out of the machine, the coins he wins start coming out in his fingertips.

He drops them into the bucket but they keep on coming as he tries frantically to get rid of them all. This takes you into a misers dream effect or sequence but the sequence makes sense to what is going on. Finally after trying to stop the coins he takes a breather only to find a shower of coins coming from both hands into the bucket to end that sequence.

Here is another idea. After the lever sequence is done he places the broken lever into the slot machine pan. Resting from the frantic magic of trying to cover the fact that he broke it, he leans against the machine only to realize there is a button he can push. He hits the button by mistake and the machine wheels spin. Now it comes up with orange, orange and orange. He waits for the jackpot but nothing happens. He covers his hand over one of the orange symbols and pulls away to actually produce a REAL orange. He gets this crazy idea and picks up the table cloth near by and the orange which could ease into a comical zombie routine with the orange and cloth.

OR better yet here is a great sequence that would make sense and work really well. What if he finally gets the lever back on to the machine (through magic of vanishing it and having it reappear on the machine). He pulls it one more time and it comes up with egg, lemon and orange. You may already see where I am going with this, but this makes perfect logical sense. He leans over the egg symbol and a real egg appears as the picture on the screen vanishes. He does the same for all 3 items taking them from 2d world in to 3d world. He does the classic vanishing of each item only to realize he can not vaish the orange.

He then becomes frustrated and so looks into his money bucket and finds it empty. He turns it over and nothing. Now really depressed he picks up the orange to think. He then shakes the orange to his ear and looks at the audience. Could it be.. no way. He cuts open the orange to find the lemon. Cuts open the lemon to find the egg. He cracks open the egg to find several coins inside. =)

He takes the coins and drops them into his bucket. The last coin he begins to place into his hands when it soon becomes a JUMBO coin. He now does some jumbo coin moves to try and get rid of the coin and then drops all the change into his bag.

As he is walking off the stage he winks at the audience and a shower of bills shoots up from inside his open backpack.

Now these are just ideas off the top of my head. They are not concise by any means but I hope they show you how you really can take a theme and a character and define them to create a manipulative act that is unique and totally different from the norm. The act evolves around the character, what he does in situations and the theme he is confronted with.

There are many more ideas I thought up around this theme and I would be happy to share them with you if you would like. I hope this helps you a bit and gets those creative juices flowing for you.

It is just my 2 cents worth. Hope it helps.

Kyle
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C Christian
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Tom Mullica does a great comedy Manipulation act as does others and I hate to toot my own horn but I think I have a rather good Comedy Manipulation act as well.
As the Great Jerry Lewis once said...."You have got to find the conflict and solve the problem and rather then solving the problem correctly is a differnt matter." meanning don't look for the correct answers into your delema find odd ways of trying to slove the problem. So for your example the handle off the machine breaks off, you do a few flip moves and Bam it's now back on "magicly" what's the fun in that? What if the handle doesn't stay on and falls off again...that's funny!!! It could be a running gag funny funny funny!

I think what Jerry Lewis said it worth way more than 2 cents...but that's my 2 cents worth.

hope this helps
Chris
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DAM Kyle, what a GREAT post!!

You just made me feel like I was at a Magic club meeting jam session!!

You came up with some phenominal ideas and shared them SOOOOO freely!

Kudos to you pal, that's what this site is all about!

Loved your ideas too....I had several of the same thoughts, but you really put that 'touch' on them...

Remind me to PM you when I get ready to 'cull and block' my show!

Again, thanks Kyle!

Prof. Piper
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Bill Hoffman
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Excellent kyle
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Daniel Faith
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This thread sure got Kyle's creative juices flowing.
Great ideas.
Daniel Faith
magic4u02
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Thanks so much guys. I do appreciate your kind words. I recently have been trying to find time each and every night to work on my magic and on my creativity with my magic. I try to take at leats an hour or 2 in the evening when I am not distracted to just work on things. Sometimes they are effects I have wanted to learn and sometimes they are just creative routine ideas. I write everything into a notebook and I keep them everywhere so I can always write down an idea or a creative thought.

I guess how I think about my magic comes from a totally different perspective. I never quite knew why my routines and ideas tend to be so vastly different fro the norm. lol Then I realized I think a lot of it comes from me being an artist. I have been an artist as long as I could hold a pencil. I think going through art school and doing art has really made me learn to apply the same principles I use when I design to how I work on magic. My art teachers always told me to keep notebooks with me and to really allow myself to be open to seeing ideas that are outside of the box.

Well any ways, I have babbled enough here for now. I do thank you for your kind thoughts. If anyone ever wants to brainstorm on ideas with me or just have a jam session etc. I would be happy to help out in any way that I can. I hope that some of my ideas above were of help and might spark ideas of your own to create a comedy manipulation act that works and is vastly different.

Kyle
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TheAmbitiousCard
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Check out the charlie frye DVDs
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Pete Biro
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It doesn't mattter if you are doing manipulations, or box magic... IF YOU ARE A FUNNY GUY YOU WILL BE FUNNY. If you are not a funny guy, forget it.
STAY TOONED... @ www.pete-biro.com
magic4u02
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That is an important aspect of what I call finding your character from within yourself. Often times the best acts and the characters in magicla acts are derived from extensions of who that person really is. For example I know I can never try to be the Fabio of magic. I can not also try and do a rocker style image. It just is not me and I couldn't sell that character on stage if my life depended on it. My style of magic has come from who I really am and an extension of my own personality.

Kyle
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Pete Biro
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Terry Seabrooke once did a lecture on Comedy Magic (and I assisted). After the lecture one of the attendees asked him about being funny. Terry asked, "Are you funny?" The guy said, "No." To which Seabrooke replied, "Then you may never be."

I remember that my Dad was always funny, always had a line on things. Not hilarious but just nice and light and funny.
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TheAmbitiousCard
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I'm funny looking. does that help?
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magic4u02
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No that just scares the audience way. hehehe Or you could book yourself out to haunted houses saying no costume needed. Sorry I couldn't resist. =)

Kyle
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