The Last Laugh…

One of the things that drives me nuts on facebook groups of magicians is when they get upset about common jokes that audience member have. Things like, “make my wife disappear“, “can you make me lose weight” or whatever. I’m not sure why it drives magicians so crazy to hear this. Sure they hear it … Continue reading “The Last Laugh…”

One of the things that drives me nuts on facebook groups of magicians is when they get upset about common jokes that audience member have. Things like, “make my wife disappear“, “can you make me lose weight” or whatever.


I’m not sure why it drives magicians so crazy to hear this. Sure they hear it all the time, but these are the same magicians that use stock line, which is essentially the same thing these people are doing, but they actually had an original thought (to them). My guess is that the magicians are very insecure and that if someone gets a bigger laugh than them it diminishes their act/show.


A while ago I was having dinner with a pretty successful comedy magician and we were talking about giving away big laughs to audience members. I’m for it, he’s against it. His thinking was that the audience will remember the person onstage getting the laugh, and not consider it your laugh. My thinking is that the show is getting the laugh, and it’s part of the whole show.


The beauty of a live show is anything can happen, and by setting up people from the audience to get big laughs, it feels unplanned. How you respond then counts as well. If you are setting them up for the laugh, then you also know what your response will be. Sometimes your response isn’t a joke, it’s a reaction to their joke, letting the “win”.


David Copperfield used to do a great bit where someone asked him how a trick worked. David told the person, “I could tell you, but I’d have to kill you” and the person form the audience said, “tell my wife!” That’s was a huge laugh, that he’s setting up and giving away. My point is that you should try to not be a selfish performer and let the person get the laugh.

Sucker Tricks are for Sucka’s

In my show I don’t do sucker tricks, and haven’t since I was a kid. A sucker trick is an easy way to get a reaction to a trick. It’s plug and play “comedy” except most people don’t think about what it does beyond the initial reaction. Here’s an example, let’s say you are doing the … Continue reading “Sucker Tricks are for Sucka’s”

In my show I don’t do sucker tricks, and haven’t since I was a kid. A sucker trick is an easy way to get a reaction to a trick. It’s plug and play “comedy” except most people don’t think about what it does beyond the initial reaction.


Here’s an example, let’s say you are doing the Egg Bag and you do the bit where you pretend to put the egg under your armpit, but it’s really somewhere else. For this bit to work you need someone in the audience to yell you how they think you did the trick. Someone has to say, “it’s under your arm”, if they don’t, the bit falls completely flat.


If everything is working correctly, the audience needs to heckle you, and you need to encourage it for the bits to work. Then you do the under the arm bits, and you continue to encourage the audience to heckle you for the next two minutes.


Guess what? You’ve just trained a room full of people to call you out when they think they know how you are doing a trick. This will be a problem later in your show. Is it worth the two minutes of “comedy”? Notice I put quotes around the word comedy, because the audience, isn’t laughing, they are heckling you.


Before you do a sucker trick, think of the larger implications in your show. Here’s a different example: You are working for an agent at an event. The only watch 2 minutes of your show and it’s when the audience is heckling you and telling you how the trick works. Do you think the agent will think you are worth big bucks on the next gig? Probably not.

Repeat Engagement…

Last night I performed at a gig that I’ve been performing at for something like 17 of the last 20 years.  It’s now getting to the point where people who were kids when I first started doing this gig are bringing their kids to the show!   While I was setting up the show a kid … Continue reading “Repeat Engagement…”

Last night I performed at a gig that I’ve been performing at for something like 17 of the last 20 years.  It’s now getting to the point where people who were kids when I first started doing this gig are bringing their kids to the show!  

While I was setting up the show a kid that was probably 10 years old comes in and asks if I’m the magician.  I tell her “yes“, then she proceeds to start grabbing all of my props.  I tell her, she can look all she wants, but she can’t touch anything.   Her reply was, “why can’t I touch?”  This is not the first time I’ve played this game with a kid, so I simply say, “There’s a lot of breakable things in my show and if anything gets broken before the show I can’t do the show.”  That answer satisfied her and she left.  

I knew she was going to be someone I’d have to keep an eye on during the show. 

Once showtime hit, this girl wouldn’t shut up.  She was playing with some sort of toy, not directly engaged in the show, but constantly yelling out things.  I’m not going to engage with a kid where there is nothing to be gained.  She wasn’t invested in the show and there really wasn’t anywhere to go with what she was saying.   I chose to ignore her.  

Instead, I decided to focus my energy on the kids who where paying attention.  I let them shine brighter than her.   I also played a lot more and the show went over great.  I think the silver lining to having to deal with her, is it made me be more present in the show and to mine for gold a bit deeper and I found it!

So the moral of the story is keep plugging away!