About a month ago I was part of an online presentation that Nick Lewin did called NOTHING. It had to do with what happens when your show doesn’t show up.
In the past I’ve written about having a three trick set on me in my wallet all the time. In my part I talk about what’s always in my backpack (which I always have on me) that allows me to flesh out more of a show, with only two packs of cards and that will play on a stage!
In addition to me, you hear from other great magicians and at $9.95, it’s a hell of a deal!
Something I try to do in my show is have my show visually different from most other magic shows. Right now I’m closing my show with my Straight Suit comedy escape routine. The headline band at the fair was Midland and they were at my show yesterday.
Doing an unconventional show like mine is a much harder way to go than simply taking a standard path with standard tricks like most magician. However I feel taking a nontraditional road is worth the extra effort.
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…
I picked up the book The Comedy Helpline recently and read it while I was stuck in line for two hours to get an oil change!
This is an interesting little book, kind like Wayne Dobson‘s book 50 Shades of Gold, that has a lot of little tips in it. It’s not a “how to” for comedy magic, but will make you think about a thing or two. I’m glad I read it.
Last night I went out to an open mic at a bar that’s not too far from where I live. I always say that magicians can learn a lot by going to these, not just performing but by watching comics work.
The acts that did the best were the ones that hopped onstage and got into their material. The acts that got up, mumbled, fussed with the mic stand, then 45 seconds later got into jokes were the ones that didn’t do as well.
One comic got on stage and immediately started making fun of a guy at the bar. It turned the audience really quick on the comic. Without liking the comic, you can’t do “insult humor” or roast anyone before you establish yourself so the audience is with you. It was interesting to watch someone make that choice, especially when you only have 3-5 mins onstage. I guess open mics are about taking risks, and that comic definitely took a risk!
If you’re a magician, especially a “comedy magician” you should pop into these every now and then.
It’s always a fun day when I get new books in the mail! I got The Bammo Flim Flam Conglomeration and The Comedy Helpline.
I’ve been a fan of Bob Farmer’s ever since his Flim Flam articles in Magic Magazine. The other book was is comedy magic tips from many different magicians. I’ve started the Bammo Flim Flam book and I’ve already got a bar bet I’m going to try out!
A while ago my friend Monty Reed mentioned he was working on some comedy magic, and I suggested we go to an open Mic. Our schedules finally worked out and we went to one last night:
This was Monty’s first comedy open mic, and there are some “rules” that people need to know. It’s always easier to go with someone who has done them before, they can kinda show you the ropes.
There’s nothing crazy you need to learn, however if the concept of “The Light” is new to you, it’s important to know. The light is usually a literal light of some sort, so a flashlight, or phone, but can be something as simple as a someone waving to you or sitting in a chair. It’s a signal that you’re running out of your allotted time onstage. Usually they “light” you when you have one minute left. When you’re new or working on new material, it’s hard to tell how much time you have done and the light is really helpful…if you know what it means!
One thing that struck me was the amount of love for the Amazing Jonathan I’m seeing in FB posts.
It’s not the love for him that’s surprising, it’s the people who are doing it. There are a lot of people who I know have swiped gags from the Amazing Jonathan’s show and use them in their show, but are posting RIP’s on their social media. Are they really mourning his passing, or are they mourning the passing of their source free material.
These posts are like being sad when circuit city whet out of business, but not being sad because you were a customer, but because you used to shoplift laptops and it was easy to steal from. If you’re really sad he’s passed, you’d put the rest all of the gags stole from his show.
Last night I went to bed with the news that the Amazing Jonathan wasn’t doing well and woke up to the news that he had passed. I didn’t personally know him, but he had a huge influence on how I perform. His modern (for the 1990’s) style of performing didn’t use a lot of magic boxes, it was a lot of normal looking objects.
Unfortunately I never got to see him perform live, I just know his work from television. I did try to see him live once when I was about 19 at a local comedy club. The early show was an all ages show and the night I went it was sold out…the whole weekend was.
Jonathan has probably had more bits stolen than any other comedy magician. All of his gags are super strong and work as a stand alone bits. His work will live on as gags in other people’s show, I’m not sure how I feel about this. I guess after I’ve left this world, it’d be pretty cool if people doing my material, but while I’m alive I’d probably have a different view of this… -Louie
In my show I do a joke about a kid losing a glass eye during the show. I thought it would be funny to add a visual gag to the verbal joke. The gag works for when you’re doing a multi show type of gig, but it doesn’t work for single show. I ordered a glass eye, and now I have one in my prop case!
The gag works, and I’m glad I spent the $25 on a glass eye, however the gag can be better. Most people don’t know that a glass eye is basically flat, it’s just the front 1/4 of the eye. People think it’s a whole globe that would be a sphere. I think if I managed to find a good looking sphere, the gag would play better.
I guess there’s only one way to find out…track down a round glass eye!