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!

Advice from Billy McComb

Frequently I end up driving several hours to gigs. Last night I had a gig at a casino that was only 90 minutes away, but quickly ended up being a 3 hour drive due to unusually bad traffic for the time of the day that I was travelling. I always give myself plenty of time … Continue reading “Advice from Billy McComb”

Frequently I end up driving several hours to gigs. Last night I had a gig at a casino that was only 90 minutes away, but quickly ended up being a 3 hour drive due to unusually bad traffic for the time of the day that I was travelling. I always give myself plenty of time to get to the gig, so this wan’t really a problem. Once I notice I was going to have some time, I listened to a CD set where Nick Lewin interviews Billy McComb.

casino magician

This CD set is amazing, there are three CD’s and every few minutes there’s great advice. One of the things that Billy McComb talks about is the advice that is giving to magicians to have a “flash” opening. A quick, visual trick you can do right off the bat to establish yourself as a magician. Billy doesn’t agree with this.


Billy thinks you need to establish YOU first and that he starts his show with a monologue. He bases this on the theory that if they like you, they’ll like your magic. I agree with this theory.


Last night at the casino I started started my show with jokes that I normally do elsewhere in the show and front loaded my show with jokes. My opening was just a series of jokes about me and my life. The audience was very receptive to that and I’m glad I made the change!



Good Audio…

Whenever I work with an act I always try to watch their promo video. I also do this whenever someone posts their “new” promo video on social media. I do my best to watch them all the way through, but I would say I bail on about 60% of them halfway through. Why don’t I … Continue reading “Good Audio…”

Whenever I work with an act I always try to watch their promo video. I also do this whenever someone posts their “new” promo video on social media. I do my best to watch them all the way through, but I would say I bail on about 60% of them halfway through.


Why don’t I watch them all the way through?


It’s simple, they are really bad. For me the make or break thing for a promo video is good audio, with video quality coming is second. With all the HD cameras now and how cheap they are, there’s no reason you video should have the resolution of a 1980’s sitcom.


Let’s get back to the audio, which is the big one. If the audio isn’t clear, you are better off not having any audio. There are tons of promo videos I’ve seen from comedy magicians, and you can’t understand what they are saying…what’s the point?

I was guilty of having bad audio, until I figured out how to do it. I now record my audio with a voice recorder.

voice recorder




There are two ways to do it, directly off the soundboard, or off of a mic that plugs into the voice recorder. Personally I prefer the mic as it gets my voice clearly (most of the time) and it also picks up the person on stage and audience reactions. I can then mix this with the audio that the camera takes and have audio that’s easy to understand on my promo.

TLDR: they need to be able to understand you.

Fantastic Information!

If you know me, you know I’m a huge fan of comedy magician Nick Lewin. He was one of the magicians that I saw as a teenager and his style shaped how I perform. He’s someone that had pretty much done it all as a magician. Recently he was on the The Variety Artist Podcast … Continue reading “Fantastic Information!”

If you know me, you know I’m a huge fan of comedy magician Nick Lewin. He was one of the magicians that I saw as a teenager and his style shaped how I perform. He’s someone that had pretty much done it all as a magician.

Recently he was on the The Variety Artist Podcast and it’s a great interview!

He gives a ton of great advice on all aspects of your show. One of the things that I really liked is he mentioned that comedians and comedy magicians have a different definition of what performing “comedy” means.



Most comedy magicians thing performing comedy in a comedy club means being dirty. That’s couldn’t be further from the truth. Performing comedy in a comedy club should mean you have original material. Jokes that move a plot forward. Yes, you can have limited success doing store bought tricks, but at some point to really progress you need to write material!


TLDR: Listen to Nick Lewin’s interveiw