The comedy bar gig I did the other night had a pretty simple set list. It was some stand up comedy, then four tricks and it ran 22 mins. The set list was
Tape Measure Prediction
Hoop and Cup Balancing
This set list only uses one person from the audience onstage, and that’s for the whip act. This makes for a show that’s much punchier and doesn’t have the dead time of bringing people on and off stage.
The Tape Measure Prediction and the Choices Routine both use people from the audience, but they stay seated. If a persons only job onstage is to pick a card or something very basic like naming a number, I’ve been leaving them in their seats. This saves time if you only need someone to perform a basic task, and breakup up the constant flow of people coming and going from the stage.
Look at your show, are there routines where you don’t need the person physically onstage? Try using them from their seats!
A couple of nights ago I performed in comedy show at a bar. I used to do a ton of these, but don’t do very many anymore. It’s also fun to work with the younger comics.
One of the things about these shows is that usually sound is limited, so I do the show with just a handheld mic, not a lapel or headset mic. I do use one of Nick Lewin’s Microphone Holders for tricks where I can’t use a mic stand and need both hands.
This particular bar had a lot of sound options, but I still used the handheld. I really do prefer a handheld mic as you can use it to gesture and emote. I also try to not use music in my show if I’m not doing a 45+ min headline set. The other night I was just doing a feature (middle) spot, so it was very low tech for me.
It’s fun to go out and flex my bar show muscle to make sure I can still do them!
On Saturday night I headlined a bar gig with a few comedians. The feature act was Morgan Colis and she had written a whole chunk of material about magicians because she was working with me. She went as far as to borrow a coat from her grandma for one of the jokes.
Things like that remind me that I’m not working as hard as I used to. Years ago when I was younger, I’d research all of the other acts I was working with, write venue, city, act specific jokes or bits for the gig. I don’t do that very often anymore, especially for a one off gig.
Working with younger acts (by younger I mean performers who are newer) reminds me that I need to work harder to keep up with the “kids”. There are many performers that phone it in the back half of their career, and it’s passable, then there are acts that keep working on their show.
I want to be one that keeps working on their show…
One of the biggest challenges performing a magic show that’s not in a formal theater is being seen. These challenges range from pillars in the room, not being on a raised stage, or lighting. Sometimes you can fix these problems and sometimes you can’t and just have to deal with them. Last night my challenge … Continue reading “Staging Challenges”
One of the biggest challenges performing a magic show that’s not in a formal theater is being seen. These challenges range from pillars in the room, not being on a raised stage, or lighting. Sometimes you can fix these problems and sometimes you can’t and just have to deal with them.
Last night my challenge was lighting. I was performing at a comedy night at a bar. Look a the pic below, the stage is on the left side and you can see the two speakers on each side of the stage.
The stage is in the darkest spot of the room. There’s no light there. Unfortunately there’s not much you can do about it because of how the room is. I can’t move the bar of the booths, the stage is pretty much in the only place it can be.
The next option is bringing in some light trees, sure, but then that brings up a new set of challenges, like blocking sight lines, taping down cords and where to put them. Also I refuse to travel with light trees. If I’m performing in the dark, that’s 100% the venue’s issue and one that’s not easily solved by me.
My solution was to do my show on the floor in front of the stage. There was a lot more light there. It’s not the ideal situation for my show, but the best for the circumstances I was given.