Old Set…

Last night Matt Disero posted a video of him performing on a TV show in the early 1990’s. His comments on his set about 25 years later are great and very insightful. Basically he says it’s horrible.

Here it is, you be the judge:

What I like the is commitment to the atomic lightbulb. It’s a lot of props to lug around to light up a lightbulb, but it’s way better than just rubbing it on your sleeve and lighting it up!

I think most performers who create their own material and look back on what they were doing when they were young will have a similar impression to their show as Matt did. It’s because we’re growing and evolving and the person performing isn’t the person you are now. That’s a good thing.

Even More Ring On Rubber Band

Last week I started working on a routine for the Ring on Rubber Band trick. I learned that my initial opening line didn’t play how I wanted it to. I added in a line at the beginning that’s was in a routine I used to do in the show, but don’t do anymore. It kinda works as an opening line, however it really doesn’t answer the “why am I showing you this” question.


I’ve performed this trick across America, including it’s minor outlying territories, Guam, Puerto Rico and Canada. The ring represents the 18 years I’ve been married and the a rubber band which memorializes the one time I bought broccoli just to let it rot in the crisper”

Show ring and rubber band. The rubber band is around your left index and thumb. Point to the sides of the rubber band as you say:

“This rubber band has two sides, just like congress…the Senate and the deep state. And this ring also has two sides, a left and a my wife is always right side.”

“The ring will go through each side of the rubber band defying the restraining order I got from the laws of physics.”

Push the ring through the first side of the rubber band

“Through one side, that’s the easy side. It’s the bunny slope of the rubber band. The second side is the most difficult, it’s the Mount Everest of Magic. Three men have died trying this next part, but they all had preexisting conditions…and latex allergies.”

Push the ring through the second side of the rubber band.

“Like Coachella, we’ll take it off one band at a time.”

Pull the ring off the rubber band one side at a time.

“and that’s how I wrote my wedding off on my taxes!”


I also added in a joke about the ring having sides which is a tag on the first joke. The routine is starting to take shape. The current sequence of moves I’m doing makes the routine feel more like filler to me, than a solid, good routine. It’s still lacking a punctuation on the ending.

Watch Nick Lewin…

On the this weeks episode of Masters of Illusion, the act to watch in Nick Lewin do his Slow Motion Torn and Restored Newspaper. He’s the best act on the show. You can see the lifetime of work he’s put into it. You can watch is on The CW’s website.

Nick knows every beat of that trick. starts out with energy, establishes his character and the magic is strong.

Pay attention to how each joke moves the act forward. There are no jokes shoehorned in there. It all relates directly to him or the trick.

The appearance was just under 2 minutes, and I counted 9 laughs in those two minutes. That gives him 4.5 laughs per minute. That’s pretty solid, my goal is 4 LPM’s. You’ll notice he front loads the routine with jokes and then the final 25% is magic, and he doesn’t really mix the two.

I think everyone who wants to be a comedy magician can learn a lot by watching Nick’s appearance.

Dino-Trick Breakdown…

Last night I performed again appeared on The CW’s Masters of Illusion TV show. I was the opening act, which really surprised me as I’m not really a “flash act”, however the way they edited my act, I think it worked in that spot.

If you didn’t catch the performance, check it out here:

After watching the clip, the first thing I noticed is how much I give the stage to the guy on stage. He’s working it solo for a big chunk of the act. This is very high risk, high reward scenario for me. If the person the audience does something, like in this case where he had some sweet dance moves, it creates a sense of the audience watching a unique show that will never happen again. I really like this.

Here’s another example of taking a risk, where the kid delivered:

If the person does nothing, I have a plan for that. Honestly, the majority of the time they do something. Also in my show I don’t do these bits early in the show, I do them later when I can watch the audience, so I have a feel for who is more outgoing.

The trick is just an OK magic trick from a magical viewpoint. What the trick does have is spectacle and a huge sense of fun. I don’t think there’s really a way the magic trick can be better than me dancing with the guy in the dinosaur costume. It’s a trick that’s 99% energy. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that, but if you do something like this, you need to recognize it for what it is.


Look at Your Show

It’s the last day of January and I’m reflecting back on what I’ve learned so far in 2020. One thing is that you need to listen to your audience. I have two bits in the show that have gotten unexpected reactions that were unfavorable. Instead of the usual laugh the got a sort of “woah” … Continue reading “Look at Your Show”

It’s the last day of January and I’m reflecting back on what I’ve learned so far in 2020. One thing is that you need to listen to your audience. I have two bits in the show that have gotten unexpected reactions that were unfavorable. Instead of the usual laugh the got a sort of “woah” and pull back from the audience. Both of these bits got this reaction at different shows in very different venues.


There are a lot of performers who will brush off these reactions and attribute them to “snowflakes” in the audience. I think this is the wrong way to go. Personally I needed to try to analyze why the audience reacted the way that they did to see if they were over reacting, or if my jokes were becoming dated. The last thing I want to do is use a joke that was OK to say, but over the years society has moved on and the joke is no longer appropriate.


After looking at both of the jokes in my show, I’m keeping one without altering it. The other one, while I think is OK, I’m going to play around with rewriting it. The problem is that the joke gets misunderstood and that audience projected something that’s not in the joke into the joke. I also feel that the negative reaction I got had more to do with the specific situation of the show than it did with the joke.

Don’t Be a D*ck

If you want your magic show to stay relevant, you need to stay on top of what society say is “politically correct“. Yes, there is a place to push the envelope and be edgy, but for 98% of us we aren’t. Of that 2% that do probably less than a quarter of them do it … Continue reading “Don’t Be a D*ck”

If you want your magic show to stay relevant, you need to stay on top of what society say is “politically correct“. Yes, there is a place to push the envelope and be edgy, but for 98% of us we aren’t. Of that 2% that do probably less than a quarter of them do it in a way that has a purpose, the rest are just a-holes.


Last week I was in Washington DC and went to one of the Smithsonian Museums and saw this beloved Muppet’s character:

swedish chef

The Swedish Chef has been around longer than I’ve been alive, however it might be time to retire part of his humor. His imitation of the Swedish language borders on not being what’s acceptable in today’s world. If I saw someone doing a Chinese character and they spoke saying things like, “Ching chong, chin chang…” I would walk out of the show. There’s no reason that the Swedish Chef can’t speak actual Swedish. Part of the humor is making fun of a group of people’s language. If you took that out, would it still be as funny?


I get in 1975, it was a bit harder to just learn a language, but now it’s super easy to actually learn a language now. Here’s an example. I wanted to use the Khoisan language in my show, this is the one that has all of the mouth clicks in it. All I needed to do was count to three. I could have faked it and just made random clicking noises, but wanted to do it respectfully and the least I could do was learn to actually do it. It was really easy, and using the actual language was much funnier as it had a sense of build to it.


When something breaks are you still using the offensive and hack line, “Must be made in China“? Here’s why that line is bad, it’s putting down an whole group of people for the laugh, and it’s outdated as the quality standards in China are frequently higher than in the USA. In my show I have a fishing pole that breaks, in 1983 the “made in China” line might have worked, but I want to be better than that. The line I use when it breaks is, “That’s the last time a buy a fishing pole on Tinder…should have gotten it on Plenty of Fish…“. This line puts the laugh(s) on me, and I guess on the fictional person who would sell a fishing pole on a dating website.



Take a look at your show, are there any bits that have aged out of it?

Laughs Per Minute…

In my trek through all of the Greater Magic Videos on MagicFlix, I recently watched Tom Mullica‘s video. This is an interesting video, because it’s a huge change from what was before in magic. Tom is funny, and good. I mean all of the tricks are good…and he’s technically amazing on the video! The video … Continue reading “Laughs Per Minute…”

In my trek through all of the Greater Magic Videos on MagicFlix, I recently watched Tom Mullica‘s video. This is an interesting video, because it’s a huge change from what was before in magic. Tom is funny, and good. I mean all of the tricks are good…and he’s technically amazing on the video!

The video before Tom was Charlie Miller. Charlie is a slice of a different era, where people performed comedy magic differently. I’m also aware that the video of Charlie recorded when he was older, so he was probably past his prime.


The huge difference was that Charlie did more “classic” magic tricks, where what Tom did felt fresh. It’s not that the root effect was new, but the way he did them was new. Tom wasn’t relying on things that worked, he took a path that forwarded his character. Watch Charlie, then watch Tom and you’ll see where magic made a turn.

Seal It Up!!!!

One of the two new routines I’m working on this week is my cracker routine. It’s a card trick with a cracker and it’s got a long way to go, but made some huge strides. Basically it’s card trick with saltine crackers. One of the things that it’s lacked is an ending. The other day … Continue reading “Seal It Up!!!!”

One of the two new routines I’m working on this week is my cracker routine. It’s a card trick with a cracker and it’s got a long way to go, but made some huge strides. Basically it’s card trick with saltine crackers. One of the things that it’s lacked is an ending.


The other day I was having breakfast with some other performers at the fair and we were brainstorming and one of them suggested that at the end the signed cracker reappear inside a sealed cracker packet. I liked the idea, but didn’t think I’d be able to come up with a loading system that would work using the limited tools and materials I have with me.


Luckily I kept my eyes open and saw a pie lid that worked perfectly for what I wanted to do. I built a cracker packet loading device and I’m happy to report that the loader is working great!!!

New Bits Day One

Well, I’m one day into 14 days of hopefully getting one new joke or bit per day from my show. I gained one, but lost one. First of all, I had a thing I said, that’s not really a joke, but wanted to turn it into a joke. It’s about gluten allergies being imaginary. It’s … Continue reading “New Bits Day One”

Well, I’m one day into 14 days of hopefully getting one new joke or bit per day from my show. I gained one, but lost one. First of all, I had a thing I said, that’s not really a joke, but wanted to turn it into a joke. It’s about gluten allergies being imaginary. It’s really not me, and wasn’t funny (at this point). I’m all for poking fun at the government, education, or big business, but not someone’s health. Cutting it was the right thing.


The new bit I added yesterday worked great. It’s for my cracker card trick. I say, “I’m going catch your cracker like a seagull at the pier“, then I make my best attempt at a seagull noise. I’m tagging it with a the old kids joke, “Do you know why they call a seagull a seagull? If they flew over the bay, they’d be baygulls (bagels).” I’m then following that with another kid joke that I wrote. “I read that on a Laffy Taffy when I was a kid. The highlight of my life when I was 16 years old is that I wrote a joke that Laffy Taffy used. You want to hear it? How does a pilot take their bagel? Plain (plane)“.


While not exactly high brow comedy, it all fits, I’m not just telling a stupid joke for no reason. It fits the theme, tells them a little bit about me and allows me to get out of my comfort zone making the seagull noise. Standing in front of an audience and sqauking isn’t something I’m comfortable doing. I’m going to call yesterday WIN as I got three new laughs yesterday!

Fantastic Book!

One of the best books I’ve read about comedy magic (i’m still reading it) is Be More Funny by Christopher Barnes. This book is a solid book on techniques to create comedy magic, and probably the best that breaks it down into different types of comedy. His examples of the routines to illustrate the comedy … Continue reading “Fantastic Book!”

One of the best books I’ve read about comedy magic (i’m still reading it) is Be More Funny by Christopher Barnes. This book is a solid book on techniques to create comedy magic, and probably the best that breaks it down into different types of comedy.


His examples of the routines to illustrate the comedy principles are great and all of the tricks are unique. He doesn’t just take a basic trick and make it funny, he builds a whole unique routine. He’s not just doing funny patter with Hippity Hop Rabbits, but creating an original ride to take the audience on in each trick.


While reading this book I came up with the idea of a card trick with crackers. The trick is coming along, it still has a way to go. I can’t think of the last time I read a magic book and ended up with a unique routine out of it. Honestly, I think this book is one of the best $50 you can spend on a magic book. I think that even if you aren’t a comedy magician you’ll learn something out of it because it teaches you how to create your own routines, not just make existing ones funnier!