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Rupert Bair
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Hi,
I was pondering again like I sometimes do, I was thinking, American kids comedy doesn’t work for us Brits, well at least I have found. I have used material straight from the books of Silly Billy, David Ginn ect and the kids didn't really find it very funny. However, people in the USA always praise the likes of Terry Herbert and so on, Silly Billy say’s 'he really knows how to make kids laugh'. I remember in the sponge ball thread somebody uses Mark Leverige routine and he's from Hong Kong. I’m not saying we are the funniest people in the world it just seems that our comedy is a lot stronger than places like the US. Are we working to hard?
Matt
Decomposed
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I've been to England and I do find comedy different from the comedy in the US. Perhaps its just perception.
Andy Wonder
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As an impartial international observer I’d have to say the Brits win my funny vote. The British TV sitcoms are usually funnier than the American ones. British comedy seems to be more structural than the Americans. If you look at the typical American sitcom they usually have a serious plot with a layer of contradiction type humor on the surface. The UK sitcoms we get on TV here are usually much better at weaving the comedy into the plot. The comedy also seems to be must less predictable.

Well that is what I have noticed from TV & movies. I don’t know if that follows thru with us kids entertainers as well but I expect it does.
Andy Wonder, Auckland, New Zealand
Ron Reid
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Hello:

I'm sure there are differences in audiences (I've never been to the UK) but good comedy is good comedy worldwide. I like watching Terry Herbert perform because it's obvious that he's put a lot of thought into his routines.

I can't say the same thing about Ginn or Billy. I have quite a few products from each, and find that both have a "quick and dirty" approach to their magic routining, which I don't care for at all.

Take a family/kid show entertainer like Duane Laflin, who has well-thought-out scripts and comedy, and have him perform in the UK and I'll bet he goes over very well.

BTW...I've met David Ginn a couple time through the years, and he's probably the nicest, coolest, friendliest guy in the world. I just don't care for his way of routining and enteratining.

Ron
p.b.jones
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Quote:
Take a family/kid show entertainer like Duane Laflin, who has well-thought-out scripts and comedy, and have him perform in the UK and I'll bet he goes over very well.

BTW...I've met David Ginn a couple time through the years, and he's probably the nicest, coolest, friendliest guy in the world. I just don't care for his way of routining and enteratining.


HI,
I must say for my taste the oposite is the case, To me what I have seen of mr Laflin he comes accross to rehursed and false for me rather like he is just standing there and relating the routines without any real feeling, I enjoy mr Ginn particularly his older stuff and his personality (like or dislike) does come accross in his presentations. I think over the last few years Mr ginns dealer side has meant that he is putting out new routines ext just to sell and they are nowhere near the quality of the early stuff.
Of course Terry Herbert has performed exactly the same act for years and is not really a dealer so that show is honed and honed. Seeing Terry many years ago is what got me into kids entertainment as he made me realise that you could perform good effects and make them entertaining without the typical dealer items.
I suppose it's a good job we all like different things or we would all be working the same effects
Phillip
Ron Reid
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Very good points, Phillip - it is a wonderful thing that we have different tastes! I will that David Ginn's "Professional Magic for Children" is a classic book, which got me interested in children's magic.

Ron
Starrpower
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Terry Herbert is simply a good actor; much of the stuff he does would fall flat if done by another performer. On the other hand, I've never found Terry Seabrook to be the least bit funny. Barking at an imaginary dog is not funny, it's stupid. But apparently, the Brits like this guy. So, I don't think British magicians are funnier, but they may be funnier to British audiences who have a different sense of humor. Likewise, the stuff I read in the old "Supreme" books by Ian Adair and Edwin Hooper would be completely lost on an American audience, but if I'm to believe the books and tapes, British kids enjoy it. Boom-boom ... what the hell is that?

I've never been a fan of "stupid" humor or "wacky" humor. I find John Carney and Mike Caveney to be very funny; Dave Williamson just looks like a dope to me, as does Seabrook (and Adam Sandler, who makes millions in movies ... go figure!)

So, there's no accounting for taste.

Oh, BTW, American sitcoms are generally not funny, so I wouldn't use that as a yardstick.
Emazdad
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I've performed my shows over in the states, and found the comedy worked just as well.

Your problem may be you are useing the stuff straight from the books, instead of taking what's written and adapting it to fit your age and personality. It's not just the gags, but the routines as well, they should all be adapted to suit your own personal style, and not uses word for word, move for move as in the books.

Remember Matt not all the funny lines us people slightly over 21 use, are going to sound right coming from a teenager. It works both ways, look how silly your dad sounds if he starts talking like you and your mates.
Yours Funfully
Clive "Emazdad" Hemsley
www.emazdad.com

"Magic is a secret, without the secret there is no magic"

Remember there are only 3 types of people in the world, those that can count and those that can't.
Rupert Bair
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Clive that's what I'm saying our comedy works well in USA but Us comedy doesn't really work well for kids over here. When I was in Florida I met a Welsh clown and he gets a lot more work than anyone else because of his humour. When I used the script right of the book I just wanted to see the reaction from the script, it was David Ginns snake can, I tried it with an alternative patter and it still didn't work maybe its not me. For ages I was using silly billys crystal silk cylinder and I thought that the script was really good but the kids didn't like it as much so I sat down and reworked the patter and I wouldn't miss it out the act. BTW I think Duane Laflin is a great guy but his performing persona is a bit flat and dull, Its very stiff and too well scripted.
matt
JamesinLA
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Quote:
On 2004-09-25 09:33, Ron Reid wrote:
Hello:

I'm sure there are differences in audiences (I've never been to the UK) but good comedy is good comedy worldwide.
Ron



Ron,
I have to disagree. Comedy can be very culture specific. That's why American action films export worldwide and work. Action is cross cultural, but comedy isn't.

Jim
Oh, my friend we're older but no wiser, for in our hearts the dreams are still the same...
Starrpower
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Matt -

Silly Billy's crystal cylinder routine works not because of the script, but because of the situation. As he pushes silks into the tube, others fall out the opposite end, unnoticed by the performer. Classic comedy of the type used by plenty of comedians American, British, and otherwise. The same stuff can be seen way back in Charlie Chaplin films (a Brit who was successful in the states.) I don't think it's differences in nationalities, (and I certainly don't think Englishmen are naturally funnier -- sorry!) but more likely a poor performance or delivery that results in material not working. And that takes time to develop. Personally, I never found Ginn's stuff particularly amusing, either ... so don't assume it's nationality. Just because one guy decides to do it and publish it doesn't necessarily mean it's good!
RoyHolidayMagic
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Hmmmm....I've thought about this a lot actually. I think that British humor does tend to be funnier than American humor. I also believe that some cultures are funnier than others. I believe that, when Americans are concerned, Jews and Italians are just funnier than the average American. Why? Simply because of the way we are raised. Jews and Italians are raised with jokes around the house all the time. In addition, the way Jews and Italians are brought up is faaaar from dry. We are very family oriented people (yes...this is playing a little into stereotype, but...as a Jew, I tell you it's true). Jews also grow up with a specific type of "irony" as a sense of humor that creates the comedic timing we are famous for. British are also naturally funnier than Americans...that's clear when you look at the British "Monty Python" versus the American....o...I don't know..."Saturday Night Live." Now, Saturday Night Live is funny, but it pales in comparison with Monty Python. Yes. Humor has LOTS to do with culture. It's timing and presentation, like you said, but our timing and the way we present things, I believe, comes largely from the way we are brought up and our culture.
KJ
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Brittish humor is very diffent from American humor... I think that Brittish Humor is AWESOME though, I don't know why, but very few Americans fully understand it...
Emazdad
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British humour is sometimes a bit to subtle for americans to understand, it doesn't always include a punchline to tell them when to laugh. Plus Americans don't always have the ability to read between the lines and tend to take everything that's said too literally.

As for American comedies, Will & Grace, Friends, The Simpsons and my new favourite Everyboby loves Raymond are exceedingly funny. As is Spongebob Square pants.

As for David Ginn, I've seen his book Kidz Biz and wasn't impressed. I've seen Silly Billy and couldn't see what the fuss was about, he died on his backside at Blackpool.
Yours Funfully
Clive "Emazdad" Hemsley
www.emazdad.com

"Magic is a secret, without the secret there is no magic"

Remember there are only 3 types of people in the world, those that can count and those that can't.
magicbern
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Actually I'm that person mentioned in the original post who uses Mark Leveridge's Sponge ball rountine in HK. I also follow his Magic party format to great success. However, I'll also introduce some routines from ppl like Sammy Smith, David Ginn (albeit with some toning down), Brian Flora and they go over well too. In HK, kids get an eclectic TV diet of both US and British humour, so both types work. Of course, I adapt it to my own performing style.
BTW, Silly Billy came over for a magic convention last year and he held a huge audience of local (Chinese-speaking) kids entertained and transfixed for over an hour. So what happened at Blackpool can't be attribbuted solely to him...perhaps the audience was flat at that particular performance?

I don't see the need to criticize performers who have raised standards in Children's entertainment - such as Silly Billy and David ginn. I'm sure we've all been inspired by them in some way or other. And with many books, videos (not to mention TWO front covers on international magic magazines)I, for one, can only admire and respect them. But what do I know? I'm only a kidshow entertainer in HK with 20 yrs performing experience - doing roughly 10-15 shows a month.
Cheshire Cat
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Before this thread develops into something that will be transferred to "Not Magical" section, I will go back to Starrpower's comment on "being a good actor", and say YES, this is so crucial to performing for children, whether you use stock routines in your own 'cod' way (as I do), or non stock routines made into highly original routines as I believe P.B. and some others may do.

Yes, ACTING is the word we needed to hear.

Give me a Chinese Washing Machine and I'll not just pull out torn socks, baby socks and knitted together sock, - but I'll turn it into a comedy drama involving usually a female (or male if they want to) child! I guess I must be on a lot of videos as people have been videoing us, well since video came into popular use (have also had a few cine recordings done too I might say!). But none have ever been for commercial use. As entertaining is just a switch on/switch off business to us, and occupies one shelf in our lives. I do however give all credit and good wishes to those who have marketed products to others in the business by way of videos, cd's, tapes etc.

Tony.
Starrpower
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I find it amusing that the British guy thinks Brits are funnier, and the Jewish guy thinks New York Jews are funnier ... could it be we just recognize the humor that WE find funny? Johnny Carson lasted decades on TV ... maybe it's Nebraskans that are funnier. Or Leno ... perhaps Bostonian Italians are funnier. Houdini, Orson Welles and Liberace were all from Wisconsin ... maybe Wisconsinites have a particular flair for drama and flamboyance?

No, I don't find any one particular culture to be funnier; I think it's the individuals.
Rupert Bair
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No british people are saying we are the funniest we are saying that our comedy, at least our kids comedy seems to work all around the world.
Matt
Billy Whizz
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I think everybody has to find their own style. Personally, I don't find Silly Billy funny at all. When he lectured here in the UK a couple of years ago, he wasn't rated very high at all. I also brought David Ginns book 'KidBiz' after reading the great reviews on the Magic Café, only to find it useless to my own style of working.

If I had been just starting out in magic, things might have been different, I might have seen these people perform, and thought this was the way forward, and like a lot of people on here, I might have copied their style, which in my opinion, is wrong, find your own style.

I've been performing now for 17 years, and I have my own unique way of performing, which obiously works because of the amount of work I get. Emazdad is the same, he gets the same amount of work as me, but has a totally different style. And after watching Andy Walkers show on DVD today, I can see he has his own unique style which is why he is so busy. After watching his show, I can see that he would make it over here in the UK no problem. But your average Joe Bloggs who tries to copy someone elses style from the US, or the UK, wouldn't have a chance.

So the argument over whether or not it will work on the opisite sides of the pond has a great deal to do with how you present yourself. Don't be false by copying someone else, be yourself.
Emazdad
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<<<<I don't see the need to criticize performers who have raised standards in Children's entertainment - such as Silly Billy and David ginn. I'm sure we've all been inspired by them in some way or other. And with many books, videos (not to mention TWO front covers on international magic magazines)I, for one, can only admire and respect them. But what do I know? I'm only a kidshow entertainer in HK with 20 yrs performing experience - doing roughly 10-15 shows a month. >>>

That says it all really, you're following their examples, but after 20 years you're still only doing 10-15 shows a month.

I'd never even heard of David Ginn until I joined the Café, or Silly Billy until I saw him die in Blackpool not because of the audience but because he humiliated the child helper.

I don't own any books or videos by kids entertainers, My own style was built by trial and error, I tried something it worked and I improved it, I tried something it didn't work, I changed or ditched it. I've been a kids entertainer for 10+ years, full time for 4 years and do between 25-35 shows a month on average.
Yours Funfully
Clive "Emazdad" Hemsley
www.emazdad.com

"Magic is a secret, without the secret there is no magic"

Remember there are only 3 types of people in the world, those that can count and those that can't.
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