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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Grand illusion » » Guillotine/head chopper routine. (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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MCM
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I just had an idea for the guillotine/head chopper illusion that I thought I would share. Anyone is free to use it. I would only ask that you share how it goes with the Café.

This would probably work the best when done in a corporate setting on a business owner/CEO type.

You get the victim's neck into place and do the old gag of moving the head bucket from under the head to behind the victim's rear. Then, a clank is hear in the bucket (like the one heard in the Miser's Dream trick). You look in the bucket, and with a puzzled expression, pull out a large diamond. You show it to the audience while looking at it in a puzzled way, and then looking at the victim. Finally, you lean over to the victim and ask "Have you consumed any coal recently?" Then, go on with the rest of the illusion.

So, would that work?
Pete Biro
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Try it and let us know.
STAY TOONED... @ www.pete-biro.com
Michael Baker
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Odd, but interesting. I'm not sure I understand the analogy of using a CEO corporate victim. I understand the coal/diamond connection, but not how either connects to anything else. Maybe I'm missing something.

For some audiences though, I think I'd have a brick show up in the bucket. No follow up lines needed.
~michael baker
The Magic Company
Magic Patrick
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I like the ****ting bricks idea a lot better. Both are good though.

Patrick
Donald Dunphy
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I think the gag of putting the head bucket behind the person (etc.) is in poor taste.

- Donald
Donald Dunphy is a Victoria Magician, British Columbia, Canada.
Thomas Wayne
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Quote:
On 2010-12-24 16:09, Donald Dunphy wrote:
I think the gag of putting the head bucket behind the person (etc.) is in poor taste.

- Donald


I agree. Which is why it's so darn funny.

TW
MOST magicians: "Here's a quarter, it's gone, you're an idiot, it's back, you're a jerk, show's over." Jerry Seinfeld
sly2272
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You are correct Sir. Its comedy come on.
Michael Baker
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But as a disclaimer (as if this is REALLY necessary)... know your audience.
~michael baker
The Magic Company
MCM
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I like the brick idea. Another possibility would be to have there be a clanking sound, you look into the bucket, look surprised and/or shake your head in disbelief.

My original train of thought was this. I was visualizing the guillotine trick, and the bucket gag. Then, my mind made a connection between the bucket and the Miser's Dream trick. Coins would not make sense, and I thought of the old coal to diamond joke.

I agree with knowing the audience, this gag could rub many people the wrong way.
Dennis Michael
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Keep in mind Disney put in fart gags in almost every comedy or cartoon movie they make.

Obviously it's up to the performer
Dennis Michael
JamesinLA
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McBride does coins from butt.

Jim
Oh, my friend we're older but no wiser, for in our hearts the dreams are still the same...
patrick1515
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There is nothing wrong with playing the guillotine for laughs. Of course you need to do your pre-show work and secure the right "volunteer", not just randomly pick someone out of the audience. When they are in on the joke and you provide them with plenty of punch lines, your volunteer will "ham-it-up" making the whole routine appear "ad-libbed", resulting in louder and longer laughs.
"I think we're going to need two baskets!" gag is one of the funniest bits. On several occasions performing, it has easily been a solid 1 minute laugh. This bit has been around a long long time, used by many many pros. If you feel it is in bad taste then don't use it...but for me, I'm not ready to drink the "Kool-aid" being handed out by the "policitally correct" police.
Michael, the "brick" bit would definately play well in a comedy club! Thanks
donrodrigo
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Love it Mr. Baker,

"Know your audience" words to live by friends. I second this and add: Try to begin with an ice braker and size them up, see who in the crowd is best suited for such application and go from there(gut feeling helps to). Cordially Don.
Kent Wong
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Eugene Burger is very fond of saying, "Not every laugh is a good laugh". Although the audience may laugh along at the situation, how will the CEO/Victim feel? I'm not just talking about at the time of the party, but also during the weeks and months that follow. This is the guy who gets to approve next year's entertainment. Hopefully, the laugh didn't just cost you a repeat booking. Just my 2 bits.

Kent
"Believing is Seeing"
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Bill Hegbli
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This sounds more like something for the 4 letter word comedy clubs. That way the whole audience does not know the victim.

I would never do this with the CEO or president of a corporation. Very bad for your future.
Vietnam Veteran 1967, Sgt. E-5

Graduate of Chavez College of Prestidigitation and Showmanship

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David Charvet
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Is it just me, or have audience tastes changed in the last couple of years since all of the beheadings of Americans in the middle east? The guillotine just does not seem to play as strong or as funny as it used to. I base this on over 30 years of doing the illusion in just about every type of venue and for every type of audience: adults, corporate, clubs, cruises, sponsored "family" shows, mixed audiences, etc.

The guillotine has always been one of those routines where the audience knows you're not really going to cut the person's head off. While the mystery is strong (I use a Carl Owen-built Lester Lake model with extended blade) it's ALL in the routine and the situational comedy. Of course, after doing it for 30 years my routine has evolved and tightened and gags developed from unplanned situations at a show which grew to become a regular part of the routine. So, I know the routine is good, I know the prop is good, but ... the audiences really have seemed to change. And this is not just an isolated "bad night" instance. Have people just become afraid to laugh as much at the situation because of the subliminal association with terrorists?

Has anyone else noticed this phenomenon recently? Will the guillotine soon go the way of "Shooting Through A Woman" and the "Canary In The Light Bulb" as one of those illusions you just can't do anymore because it's crossed the line of good taste because of changes in society? I hope not, but entertainment is an ever-evolving animal. Do we dig our heels in and continue to do something because of "tradition" or do we change with the times and find something better?

Just curious. Comments?
JamesinLA
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What other props could your use to do close to the same routine with sames jokes?

Jim
Oh, my friend we're older but no wiser, for in our hearts the dreams are still the same...
KerryJK
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When I dropped the head chopper from my act, it was for two reasons. I already had a Harbin-style sawing through which played strong and I was aware these two effects were too similar from an audience point of view. But what clinched it was when I witnessed a motorcycle accident in which the victim was decapitated. Seeing that left me with no stomach for beheading illusions for some time.

Had I seen someone bisected for real, would I have dropped the sawing instead? I can only speculate, but decapitation does hold a particular kind of horror in the human psyche. This is something that can make for strong theatre, but demands real sensitivity about how it will be received.
illusions & reality
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Hello All,

I have been performing a comedy guillotine routine for almost 30 years. I am often asked to return and "make sure that I include the guillotine". As David Charvet noted, the gags and jokes have come from years of honing the routine through ad-libs that worked great and then became a regular part of our show. There are no standard magician lines or jokes (e.g., 1 . . ., 2 . . ., 3 . . . days ago . . . ) in my routine. I have used Lester Lake Extended Blade Guillotines and for years have used Wellington's See Through Guillotine. I actually own 2, as one is a back-up. This is almost 15 minutes of extremely strong material and it would be very rare for the routine to be left out of a show.

I think how your volunteer is treated is critical. If the volunteer is treated as the "butt of the joke," (no pun intended!), they will feel resentful after the routine - regardless of how many laughs the performer receives. If the the audience can laugh WITH the volunteer, and the volunteer is made the hero throughout the routine, you have won both the audience and a fan in your volunteer. Often the volunteer will come up after the program and thank me for the fun. I have used CEOs, presidents & VPs of Fortune 500 companies (I always ask their permission BEFORE the show), and they and their employees love it.

I have not noted any diminished laughs or guffaws throughout the routine. I think that the premise of the routine, as well as how the volunteer is treated on stage, makes all of the difference in the world.

Just my thoughts.

Lou
illusions & reality
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One other note - I normally don't ask for volunteers before a show, except in the case of corporate performances where I'm using a VP, president or CEO. Usually in those cases I ask the person who booked me who they would suggest for the guillotine. After years of performing, you just get a feel of selecting the right volunteer for the routine. If the person knows in advance, their responses are not the same.

Lou
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