Don’t Crowd Source Your Show…

I’m beginning to become an old man yelling at the kids to get off my lawn, but instead I’m yelling at magicians to stop crowdsourcing content on a Facebook groups. The people who do it are usually pretty lazy, and rarely reveal their work first or at all.

This was recently posted:

First of all, anyone who has a remotely original line isn’t going to give it up. But also the original poster didn’t give any context, he’s just trying to build a Milton Berle joke book in the thread. Unfortunately when you ask a garbage question you get garbage answers:

The person who posted the two jokes (?) isn’t the person who wrote them. That person essentially stole two jokes they’ve heard a magician say, then offered the stolen jokes to other magicians. First of all, neither is very funny and the first thing is kind of an @sshole thing to say to someone. It’s a very late 1980’s to early 1990’s stereotypical type thing a magician would say. It’s not modern, but more so it really doesn’t move most magician’s characters forward and that’s the bigger problem, most magicians don’t know who they are on stage, and how using sh*tty lines lines like this doesn’t move the ball forward for them.

It’s also this thinking that’s the reason why people think all magicians all tell the same jokes and do the same tricks. It’s because soo many do the same regurgitated crap. Go out and actually work on your show. Don’t know how? I wrote a post about it recently and you can read it here

Comedy Magic

About a week ago I did a little chat with Nick Lewin and Fielding West about performing comedy magic. It was a live Zoom chat and it was a lot of fun and the feedback was very positive. A few people have asked if it would be available afterwards. It looks like Nick has it as a download on his website www.lewinenterprises.com

If you missed it, here’s a little video teaser

One of the key takeaways from this talk is that most magicians that call themselves comedy magicians don’t understand comedy. You need to go out and learn to write jokes, and create comedy. There’s a real interesting moment in the talk where we create a joke to fill a spot in the show that’s just expository patter. Not only do we create the joke to fill an slow spot, we tweak it and add a tag to it!!

I was honored to be part of this panel and it was a lot of fun!

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!!!