Last night my wife and I went to see Michael Buble, and that guy works his butt off onstage. He did just over two hours with no opening act, and the two hours flew by!
One huge thing to note is that it wasn’t all music. In between each song the told jokes. It was a mini stand up set that usually introduced the next song or was about the city we were in. Telling jokes between routines is a great way to add personality and time in your magic show. I used to do this more, and need to get back to doing more of it.
Basic math says if you do eight tricks in your show, and if you can add 2 minutes of jokes between those eight routines, you’ve added 12 minutes to your show without having to carry any extra props. That would turn a 45 in show into almost an hour!
One of the things I hate is when people tell me they “have a joke that I can use in my act“, then proceed to tell the me the lamest, street joke. I always let them tell it to me, and laugh to be polite, but it’s never a good or original joke.
I recently had a musician working the same event as I was “give” me this joke: You show a beer and say, “I’m going to make this beer disappear” then you drink the beer. It’s a stupid joke because everyone gets to the punchline before you can deliver, that and the payoff isn’t that good. I’m sure some hack comedy magicians will tell me they kill with that gag, and if they actually do, good for them.
One of the reasons I always let the person tell me the joke is you never know what it will spark in your brain. The joke made me think of the old Ever Filling Glass. If you’re not familiar with this, it’s a glass that you drink from and then it’s full again.
Here’s a demo video of it I found:
If you pared that trick with joke, you might have something that has a magical pay out.
You show the glass and a handkerchief. Say “the beer will disappear” and cover it with the handkerchief. Pretend to drink the beer from under the handkerchief and then show the cup almost empty. You then recover the glass, say, “it’s going to reappear…now!” and whisk the handkerchief away to show it’s now full again!
I think this would also work with Mago Murphy’s Appearing Beer Trick, you’d just have to work it slightly differently, starting with the full beer and stealing the gimmick while you pretend to drink it.
I don’t think I’ll ever do this, but it’s an idea…
Last month when I was at FISM I picked up the trick Sticker Kicker from Nick Locapo at the Penguin Magic booth, and it sparked an idea. The idea was to do a signed card routine and then at the end, peel off the signed face of the card to for me to keep for my collection, leaving them with a blank face card.
I had a pack of Alan Wong’s Card Stickers, but something was missing.
Then recently I saw that Will Roya put out a deck of cards that are index only cards and that was the next piece to the puzzle for the solution to the trick that I wanted to do.
I realized I could make a card by cutting out the image of the face card of a Card Sticker and put it on the Index Only cards and that gave me what looked like a normal card!
Now if someone marks the card on the image of a face card, I can peel it off and give them their “art” or signature as a souvenir! I’ll try it out today a the fair!
Every few weeks on one of the social media magic groups someone will post something like, “stop saying, what I want you to do” or something similar. When that’s posted, I usually ask what the original poster says instead and never get an answer, or at least one that’s better than “what I want you to do“.
Last night in the hotel room I had the TV on while I was returning emails and I there was a ghost hunting show on. One guy was inside the haunted house and the other guy was outside monitoring whatever sensors they had and giving the person inside instructions over a walkie talkie.
The conversation went like this:
Outside Guy: “Can you do me favor and stand in the corner behind you?“ The guy inside moved Outside Guy: “Perfect“
That just confirmed to me that saying the things that a lot of magicians say are sometimes the best way to get a point across. Then at the end the confirmation of them doing the correct task by saying something like perfect or excellent is just how people talk and has nothing specifically to do with magicians.
Feel free to use other phrases, but don’t feel bad if you say the things that some magicians say annoy them.
Here’s a little tip for when you’re working a fair or any multi-day gig with a lot of other acts. First of all, don’t touch the sound company’s equipment without asking. What I do is ask if I can have 3 dedicated channels for the week. Usually they say yes, but not always. I do my initial sound check and once that’s done I take a pic of the sound board and note what’s mine.
Now it’s really easy to recreate the same sound by using the picture if things get changed.
I know the sound guy is there for that…well usually they are. The fair where I took this picture had one person running four stages. Since my audio was never supposed to change, he didn’t visit my stage near my show times very often. I’m OK with that, I had his cell number and could text him if I needed him.
Well, one of the community acts later in the day as I was packing up used two channels, a handheld mic and a phone with music on it. At one point there was feedback and the person running music slid down all the levels on the all the channels of the board to make it stop. I should note that the reason there was feedback was the person with the mic stood in front of a speaker.
That person turning down everyone’s channels ruined the preset for the next day. Luckily I have what I need to easily recreate what I had before it got changed! Take a pic of the soundboard, it only takes a couple of seconds and can save you a pain later!
I was scrolling through Instagram last night and came upon a picture of overhead projector bills.
I was thinking of what could be done with these. I think you could create a makeshift projector using the flashlight on your phone. If you combined that with a glass table I think you could do some fun stuff on the ceiling.
One thought was you could do a “touch the screen” type effect with the bills on the ceiling for a group of people.
If you have a $1, $5, $10, $20 and $50 dollar bills and line them up in numerical order, you can do some spell count procedures to eventually force a bill. The basic routine would be:
Touch a bill and spell the value of it (ie ONE), jumping one bill per letter and keep touching that bill
Remove the end bills ($1 and $50)
Spell the value of one of the eliminated bills (ONE or FIFTY)
They are now on the $10
You could then reveal the prediction of having a ten dollar bill in your phone case.
I was hanging out with Chris Beason the other day and we were chatting about some tricks with a dollar bill.
One idea I had was that you mention that there are 13 arrows that the eagle is holding on the back of a dollar bill. You then do a double take and notice your bill has 14 arrows and is a misprint. You then pull a full size arrow out of the dollar bill!
It would be pretty easy to do, you’d need a gimmick like an appearing straw, but only about 24 inches long and glue an arrowhead to one end. Or cut the end to a point and paint it silver. It could be kept in a thumb tip, and possibly put a slit in the side of the tip to allow the arrow to be removed from it. The thumb tip is really only there to keep the arrow compress and easier to handle when rolled up.
While not the worlds greatest mystery, it would be a decent sight gag.
There’s a lot I don’t like about how a lot of card magic is presented. A lot of them are “magiciany” things that we think everyone knows. Let’s start with the fact that there’s a chunk of people that don’t know what the spade and club suits are called. We assume they know that, they don’t.
The one that gets me is that magicians expect people to know what the “mate” of a card is and they use the word “mate” which really is an industry term. It’s not a hard concept to grasp, but when we use industry terms it doesn’t really help. Recently I watched someone do a card trick, they showed the seven of spades and they asked, “what’s the mate to the seven of spades?” The person didn’t know what they were talking about. It would be easier to say, “that’s a black 7, so we’re looking for the other black 7, which would be the seven of clubs…” There’s really nothing gained by asking them what the mate is, and not telling them.
I think “mate cards” are the card magic version of calling scarves “silks”. It still works to convey the idea, but it doesn’t work really well.
My first night hanging out at Magic Live, there was a free show that I could attend. This show was technically not part of Magic Live. It was a show that was honoring the Amazing Jonathan. It was produced and hosted by The Shocker and it was a ton of fun!
The show was billed as an edgy show. Some of the people performing did their acts and other people did what felt like custom things for this show (I can’t imagine why they would do it anywhere else).
One of the highlights for me was Chris Korn. He did a strange thing where he “switched places” with someone from the audience. I’m not going to say what the trick was, you had to be there, but I will say the trick really fell flat, however I loved it. Chris took a risk, and big one and had to commit 100% to the bit. I admire and respect that!
The show makes me want to be more fearless onstage! -Louie