Not Borrowing Props

Currently I do several shows for different venues or audiences. Each of these shows has its own case, however there are some props that I only have one of, so I need to move that prop from case to case. I’m in the process of building or acquiring the multiples of that prop.

While I was putting the remote controls into the Applause Please V2‘s that I’m building, I wired up a second alarm clock with a remote control.

I use this prop in my Incredible Idioms school assembly show and in my general kid show. By not having to move it from case to case, it saves me time and I don’t have to worry about it not being in the case!

If you do multiple shows, having a dedicated case and props really saves a lot of time as there’s no packing to do the show, just grab the case and go!


Remote Control Alarm Clock as a Running Gag!

When I made a remote control alarm clock a few weeks ago, my intent was to use it with my Vanishing Alarm Clock stand. This summer for the kid shows I’m doing, I put in the remote control alarm clock in the place of my Remote Control Chattering teeth as a running gag in the show.

At the beginning of the show I take out the alarm clock and say “It’s time to start the show” and the alarm clock rings. Then throughout the show whenever I say the word “time” the alarm clock rings. I don’t call attention to the connection of the word time and the ringing of the alarm clock. I let the audience discover that, and the do fairly quickly.

This gag definitely has it’s roots in Pee Wee’s Playhouse with their use of a secret word and when it’s said everyone screams. I like the gag because it’s not exactly a look don’t see as it’s an action that’s triggered by something else happening, so it’s funny, but the kids don’t feel a need to explain anything to you after the connection of the word and action are established.

I have a feeling this is going to be a great lead into the vanishing alarm clock once I have finished making the couple of extra props that I need for it.


Free Beer!!!

Months ago I was texting with one of the groups I brainstorm with and I brought up the idea for this gag. You say, “You’ve been a great group, you know, I’m going to give you a free pitcher of beer!” You then reach into your wallet and remove a card with a picture of beer!

The play is on the picture/pitcher words that can sound similar. This would be a gag card similar to the Pride and Joy or the picture of my two kids.

When I have them printed, I also did a set with and empty pitcher. The idea is that I can also use the Out To Lunch principle and make the full pitcher become empty. I’m not sure if I’ll ever use it that way, however I was trying to be forward thinking. It’s much easier to have them both made at the same time, than having to go back and recreate it to make the empty pitcher.

Take It Further…

If you’ve seen my magic lecture you’ve heard my favorite quote, which is essentially what my lecture is about. If you haven’t, here’s the quote:

Go past crowd pleasing and into real comedy…

Mel Brooks

He says it on Tom Papa’s podcast, it’s a great interview and you should listen to it. In my lecture I use the quote not just for comedy, but for magic. Sponge balls are crowd pleasing, how do you go past that and get into real magic?

Let’s get back to what I’m writing this post about. Someone in a magic forum had posted a picture of the nest of wands comedy prop that was broken.

nest of wands

If you’re not familiar with the Nesting Wands trick you have large diameter wand and smaller wands keep coming out of it. If you’re not familiar with the prop, here’s it in action:

The sets that are common in the USA have one end that’s sealed, and the person who wrote the Facebook post thought that they were broken and need to be fixed. For me whenever a prop breaks, I look at it as a chance to p lay with the prop and figure out things that may not have been possible before. I’ve had a bunch of cool things come out of props breaking and getting a new view of them.

When I was younger and did magic shows at kids birthday parties, I used this prop. However the set I had were made by Tops Magic in Europe. Most people in the USA didn’t like this set of Nesting Wands because they were open at both ends. I loved them because there was a lot more you could do with them. Here’s some ideas:

  • When the kid tries to “one up you” and restack them, they will fall out the other end.
  • You renest them and they all fall onto the floor.
  • You renest them and they slide out the other end and land in your case, but you don’t notice that. Then once they are all in your case, you look at the wand in your hand and see it’s empty. You then look around for where they went.
  • When the kid hands them back to you, you drop them all over the floor. You pick up the biggest wand and ask the kid to hand you another wand. They do, you put it into the wand in your hand and it just falls out the bottom ( you don’t notice that) and have the kid keep handing you wands and they keep falling through. Repeat till it’s not funny and at that point start holding the wands in with your finger at the bottom. Once they are all nested, let them drop out and onto the floor!

Look a prop breaking as an opportunity to do something creative and new with the prop. Sometimes you’ll just have a broken prop…other times you’ll have gold!