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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » New to magic? » » Do I have to be funny???? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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TheNightBringer89
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Hey guys, I hope to be doing table hopping and strolling magic soon. Got my 3 routines of 3 tricks down pat. Only thing is, almost every magician I see is very funny. Now naturally I'm pretty funny Smile but I don't feel comfortable incorporating jokes or one liners into my magic. Also my humor and personality when among friends is a Sankey/Jim Carey type, but it's spontaneous, I can't think up jokes and add them to my script. Do you think humor is absolutely necessary for a magic routine?

Thanks in Advance
Corey <><
"Dreams are born of imagination, fed upon illusions, and put to death by reality."

It doesn't matter if you're right or wrong,
If you're not like the others then you don't belong.
hawkntia
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Hey Corey,

Personally I don't like funny magicians, if your more serious then the trick is more mysterious and magical, for example: david blaine.. I know you all hate him but look at him he is NEVER funny he's just relaxed and goes on with the trick telling them what to do and asking questions although he does smile on occasion. hope that helps you out.

Justin
TheNightBringer89
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Thanks for the reply, actually I like Blaine. A lot of people don't like him because they think he has no personality or patter, but I think that's what makes him good, hes original and mysterious. I just don't like when he uses camera tricks, though in some situations it's understandable. But lets not turn this into a Blaine post Smile
"Dreams are born of imagination, fed upon illusions, and put to death by reality."

It doesn't matter if you're right or wrong,
If you're not like the others then you don't belong.
eddieloughran
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When I first read this post my thought was that of course if you are not funny - don't try and force a phoney persona on the customers. It just doesn't work.
Of course not all magicians are funny !

But in a walk around situation you must be pleasent, charming, nice. Fun.
Nobody wants a David Blaine style performer, when they are having a meal or drink, sticking cards in their faces, pushing them round, and shouting.
However good that may be on the street.

Be interested in the people.
Smile and be nice.
Use one-line jokes even if they aren't funny, or if they are old.
Customers are there to have a good time.

Eddie
Stanyon
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First and foremost, be entertaining. The funny will happen, even if you are not intentionally trying for it.

Cheers! Smile
Stanyon

aka Steve Taylor

"Every move a move!"

"If you've enjoyed my performance half as much as I've enjoyed performing for you, then you've enjoyed it twice as much as me!"
chichi711
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I agree with hawk. I don't always like funny magicians. A laugh here and there is fine, but when they become a stand up comic I start wondering why they have cards in thier hands.
Mike Walton
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Great question!

I think in order to truly engage a spectator and have them experience strong magic and astonishment, you need to get them to suspend their disbelief and trust you. It seems that the more trust you have, the more they believe in what you're doing which results in a larger magic feeling/reaction as they've truly swallowed the hook during your routine.

How do you get them to suspend their disbelief? It's similar to sales; if you can get them to trust you, then they're not as hesitant to buy what you're selling including the premises you're setting in a specific magic routine. True laughter builds rapport between the audience and performer while encouraging them to suspend disbelief and start to trust you. Sure, the added important benefit of humor is entertainment, but good humor lowers their defenses and sets them up for a stronger reaction to your magic.

True humor, not canned corny lines, does this. It comes in the form of wit and well thought out and timed humor. It seems you have some good wit, so use it and as long as it's not stinging in nature, then their laughs help with the process of audience engagement, getting them emotionally involved, and setting them up for something astonishing. Corny and canned lines create that nervous laugh of dread, which disengages the spectator, similar to the effects when dealing with a slimy, cheesy used car salesman. All of a sudden, you don't trust the guy.

The same goes with corny magicians. They may create laughs (nervous laughs of dread) but my guess is the spectators become disengaged and their reaction to the magic is subdued, because the magician not only didn't lower their disbelief, but actually increased it.

True wit and humor are good. Corny lines believed by performers to be humor are bad.

But if you can figure out another way to engage your spectators and lower their disbelief, which isn't easy, then I don't think you need humor.
hawkntia
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Also, if your not super funny to them and just go up to them be nice do a really impressive trick and walk off it REALLY leaves them wondering how you did that trick, so there getting like 3 different feelings at once; creepyness, amazement and a feeling that there missing something out and want to know more about you and your tricks.. most likely there gonna want to see more of you tricks.

so there are pros and cons of being funny and chichi was right about guys going over there top on there funnyness.
Reis O'Brien
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You've already admitted to being naturally funny and that's a great quality to have. If this is one of your strong points then it will come out and your specs will pick up on it and also have a good time. I agree that hacked-out one-liners are just the worst. But the occassional little moment of dry wit or tounge in cheek line could work wonders. I guess what I'm trying to say is, be yourself.
Homo vult decipi; decipiatur

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rden
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If you force a persona that obviously doesn't fit, your interaction will be stilted, unpleasant, and you may end up with "nervous laughs of dread" (nice phrase Jive-Turkey). If I'm eating dinner and someone walks up to my table, I'd rather be engaged by someone who appears relaxed, natural, and obviously enjoys what they're doing than be annoyed by someone who is stiff and uncomfortable, thus making me uncomfortable. Be yourself, have fun, and hopefully others will join you.
TheNightBringer89
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Thanks for the great and quick responses guys. I like comedy in magic when it has to do with the trick, for example: John G. has the spectator select a card and show it to the audience, he turns to one audience member and asks if he saw the card, he then whispers (loudly) to the guy "what was it?". Or when doing magic for a girl ask her to sign her name, and her phone number just to be sure. That type of humor I can do, when it has to do with the trick.

And just so noone is confused I like and respect Blaine alot. But in no way to I want to be another "Blaine Clone" hehe.
"Dreams are born of imagination, fed upon illusions, and put to death by reality."

It doesn't matter if you're right or wrong,
If you're not like the others then you don't belong.
rtgreen
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Only be funny if it is comfortable for you. Personally (the people who know me may find this surprising) I don't like a lot of "jokes" tacked on to magic tricks. Each routine is a show. If the mood is light hearted, great, but don't stick humor in where is doesn't belong.

However, when you are table hopping, you need to be friendly, likable, and light hearted. You are really there to amuse people while they wait. Make sure they are sincerly smiling while you work and you will have a great time and everybody will be happy.

Good luck,
Richard
dynamiteassasin
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Not necessarily funny. Be polite and entertaining. Add mystery in all what you do. Smile
Chimp
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Far too many people *think* they're funny because people politely laugh at their jokes. Unless you're pretty confident in your comic abilites I'd say stay away from it - it only adds to the "magicians are lame" sentiment that the public sometimes has.
Clifford the Red
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Humor should be a tool. Your art is magic, not comedy. Humor is a tool like is silence, speaking someone's name, misdirection, a card sleight, etc. It is a tool in your toolbox and should be used with scripted intent, not just to try and ease the moment.

What is your venue and what are your goals? The answer may be different at different times. Sometimes I want to perform in a light way where I get laughs. Sometimes in a very dark and heavy way where I get deer in the headlight looks.
"The universe is full of magical things, waiting for our wits to grow sharper." Eden Philpotts
Brian Proctor
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When I perform, I do not try to be funny durring my magic, but it just comes out naturally, kind of a split between Jay Sankey and Gregory Wilson. But its completely natural. Not trying to throw out a false persona. As others have said, just be yourself and see how it goes.

I agree with Clifford, I think humor can be a valuable asset for misdirecting people. It gets people's attention off your hands all the time, trust me.

And if you guys ever see rtgreen (Richard Green) perform, he will get you rolling. He is a seriously funny guy.

Brian Proctor
rtgreen
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Thanks Brian! Smile
Pakar Ilusi
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I would disagree with hawkntia when he wrote...

"...for example: david blaine.. I know you all hate him but look at him he is NEVER funny he's just relaxed..."

First, I DON'T HATE HIM. Second, he has done comedy Magic effects... One example, the "folded card from mouth" effect he did for a group of Chinese tourists...

So I beg to politely differ...

To the original topic, do what comes naturally and is comfortable to you... Unless these criterias are fulfilled, your act, "funny" or not, will seem a bit contrived...

Imho of course...
"Dreams aren't a matter of Chance but a matter of Choice." -DC-
Dr_Stephen_Midnight
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A laugh can be obtained by situation as well as word. I get a laugh during a wrist chain escape simply by having the spectator drape a cloth over my chained hands, then immediately pull out a free hand to assist him in straightening the cloth.

Steve
Dr. Lao: "Do you know what wisdom is?"
Mike: "No."
Dr. Lao: "Wise answer."
rannie
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Be light and witty. That's way diff from being funny , but still entertaining. Since you are naturally funny , then just be yourself.

Enjoy!

Rannie
"If you can't teach an old dog new tricks, trick the old dog to learn."

-Rannie Raymundo-
aka The Boss
aka The Manila Enforcer

www.rannieraymundo.com
www.tapm.proboards80.net
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