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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The little darlings » » Funniest reactions you get from magic? (18 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Gerry Walkowski
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The funniest reactions I get from magic are those routines that I have labored over for many years.

It started with me believing that a simple prop had some sort of intrinsic entertainment value about it - somewhere. From there, the item was put in my show and tested. Personally. I don't think anyone gets it 100% right the first time a routine is presented. Your routines needs to constantly be polished until it's just right. Sometimes I had to redo my patter, or add a bit or joke here and there until I felt like I squeezed as much entertainment out of that routine as possible. Even then, I make adjustments here and there over the years.

It's only then do I feel as if I have the funniest reaction from a magical effect/routine.

Gerry
Dick Oslund
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Well, Gerry, what you say is true, BUT, "the exception proves the rule"! Just for fun, I'll pass along an example. BTW, that's MY "LIKE" on your post.)

I had always considered the Mutilated Parasol (as described in C. Lang Neil's epic) as a horrible VICTORIAN routine. It was a 'display' of the "magical powers" (??) of the magician (?????) which had no surprises. used a hokey prop purse to do the work, and, was definitely not ENTERTAINING. ((It did "kill 2-3 minutes.)

THEN, I saw my pal, the late Don Lawton's, PRESENTATION!!!!! Don worked for family and adult audiences. He had several commercial sponsors, and, he was BUSY. His routine was for ADULTS, (not risque, but the lines were not kid lines.)

When I saw it, I KNEW that the lines could be changed to 'play' for the elementary school audiences. I just had to adapt the premise to fit kids. I did. Instead of the hokey 'purse', I used a draw string cloth bag. I did a 'show & tell' presentation,

From the FIRST DAY, it got a SHOW STOP LAUGH, and ENTHUSIASTIC APPLAUSE! and NEVER MISSED! I used it for years, and, never had to add, subtract, lines, or bits.

I didn't "steal" Don's routine. I did it to keep it alive. He was my friend. I wrote it up in my book, so that others might do the same!
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
jamesmwood
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I recently bought Dick Oslund's book and DVD and want to confirm what he says about his Mutilated Parasol routine, which is based on Don Lawton's. If you'd asked me six months ago about the Mutilated Parasol, I would have described it as an old and unconvincing trick that uses a silly piece of apparatus. Even the trick's *name* is outdated -- when was the last time you heard anyone mention a "parasol"? But now, having watched Dick's routine on DVD many times (and having watched my wife's uber-enthusiastic reaction to it), I'm thoroughly convinced I *have* to learn this effect. It's colorful, visual, fast moving, humorous, and truly magical. And the book contains many other routines that are equally good. Anyone who is still developing and improving their act for children or families will benefit enormously from reading Dick's book. It's full of wonderful, practical routines and excellent advice. And if you get the book, the DVD is a must, because it shows how to perform the routines to get maximum impact.
Dick Oslund
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Egad! (as Jay Marshall would have said,or, "Another unsolicited testimonial" as Eddie Tullock, the world's greatest trade show "pitchman" would have said!

Thank you! James!!! Usually, I expect to do a bit of "tinkering" when I add a new bit, but the parasol was definitely an exception,
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
Gerry Walkowski
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Hey Dick,

I know you're just having fun and that's just fine by me. Great for you if you hit a home run at the start of a new ballgame.

Isn't it wonderful when that happens? You gotta love it and savor the moment!

Gerry
Dick Oslund
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Hey Gerry!

I knew that you would understand!

We who have "been there", know what it's like! Way back in the '40s, as a teen, I spent a buck or two with Percy Abbott for a 20th Century Silks routine. After a dozen try outs, I realized that it used too much hokey patter, and, the finish was "lost", before I "got to it"! I red lighted it.

I knew that T. Francis Fritz's (Frank Ducrot's real name) concept was good. It just needed a fresh approach. "Every magician (that I had seen!) was using the same presentation! ("I will now cause this 'rainbow' silk to disappear, and reappear tied between those two silks." Then he stuffed that poor little 18" silk into a huge "red velvet bag on a stick", and "voila", the rainbow silk dutifully reappeared! HoHum....(A kid in the front row could be heard whispering: "Big deal! My father is a doctor. He transplants HEARTS!")

I had long ago realized that audiences liked SURPRISES. I did a total RETHINK!

I "rewrote" the "play". I tried it before a real audience. (In my case, kids!) By the following week, I had moved the 20th C Silks to "next to closing"!!!!!!!

It ran about 3 minutes, with some cute bits of business, and a HEKKUVA FINISH!

I did a bit of tinkering, and, added a "pad". It now can run 5-6 minutes! It NEVER fails!!!

It's in my book. (with a "bow" to Frank Ducrot)!!!!!
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
KC Cameron
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Le3arning to be funny is very hard as an adult. For most it is either something you have, or something you don't. Funny rarely lies in a prop, and then it is funny, not you. Watch comedians. A good comedian get 7 laughs or reactions a minute. That should be your goal.

Most comedy comes from hard left turns, surprises. Have the audience expect one thing and then do another.

Kids also like action, don't be slow, slow is boring.

Make every word count. Go through your routine and ask "does it add anything to the routine" for EVERY WORD. The more extra words you have, the more boring it will become.

Video your routine and study it.

Much comedy comes from the audience. Someone will shout out something - remember it and try using it in later shows

Don't explain things, show them. Explanations are boring.

Stock humor can be very funny, but it needs to become you. All your humor should come from your personality. Just because it worked for Joe Blow does not mean it will work for you in the same way.

Hope this helps.
countrymaven
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Yes KC, great advice. I found out with adults, unexpectedly, that I was funny. I could find things and props and words that would get them keeling over with laughter. So I will apply what you have advised. I appreciate your well reasoned and wise words.
countrymaven
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It is clear that some people are very helpful. I appreciate you. Actually I am not as helpless as some of you out of work magicians think.
I turned down a 1000 dollar gig last weekend. Why? I had other business to do.
Some of you like doing the opposite of helping magicians. I don't care whether your name is D..k or not you can still act like one. REally get a job, start a business, go to church, do something that can help you be more of a good person. I have found that is the foundation of success. To follow God and His Christ. sorry flame me hate me. whatever. I am praying for some of you to learn what matters in life, being blessed and being a blessing. God bless you.

For those who helped me out. I cannot thank you enough. Your thoughts are with me and I appreciate you more than you know. Ok to me being funny in magic can be derived from things that make you laugh. I kid you not. I get some of my most hilarious ideas from Big Momma movies. Maybe that would not fit with you. With me it is being surprising, outrageous, but not crude. Most people have no problem with that. After the breakaway wand fails? I pull out of 3.5 foot huge sponge wand. And so on.
countrymaven
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It is sad that some of these left wing socio commies can't bear it when they have been left in the dust by superior more intelligent, and funnier magicians.

God gets the last laugh. No matter how you script it. You yoo hoo.

Thanks to
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