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slyhand
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Good ole Virginia
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I am going to use every one of these tomorrow night and see if I get any groans or eye rolls. Bet I don't.
I am getting so tired of slitting the throats of people who say that I am a violent psychopath.

Alec
MagicJuggler
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Anchorage, AK
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I think many performers use lines so often they forget what made them funny in the first place. (Though there are a good number that I believe have never been funny) As such their delivery suffers for it. Certainly when you hear or see the same thing over and over it becomes cliche for you, and you tire of hearing it. You can't always assume that the laymen you perform for have seen nearly as many magicians perform as you have. (Assuming that you perform for laymen) So there are many who have never heard these lines before. So in truth as far as your performance goes I think the focus should be on your character as a magician, and creating the best show you can. It you feel something is cliche, then by all means don't use it. If you don't believe something is funny or effective and you try using it anyway it's going to fall flat. The most important thing is DELIVERY. How you tell a joke or state something makes all the difference in the world. There are performers who use lines that get a terriffic response that I couldn't make work at all, because they don't fit me or more importantly the way the audience percieves me. However there are quite a number of lines I can use that get great responses for me, but a lot of performers wouldn't get a good response. Myself, I tell a lot of bad (not off-color) jokes that get great responses mainly because my approach is very self-depreciating, often rolling my eyes at myself. I'll tell a bad joke, but there is an underlying tone of apology. Don't get me wrong, I don't exclusively use bad jokes, but the way I deliver them makes them work for me.
I do think it's very important to avoid cliche, but it's also very important to distinguish between what is cliche for your audience, and what you're tired of. Most routines could benefit from some trimming of lines, improving structure, and eliminating unecessary movements or words. If you do something that kills infront of an audience, I would keep it, cliche or not. If something doesn't work, or only works some of the time with certain audiences, it might be good to get rid of it.

That being said, it bugs me when I see an otherwise fantastic magician push a stupid invisible button on top of the deck to make a card rise to the top. Maybe if your patter had something to do with elevators, but really; a button? Or when someone feels the need to combine several different magical gestures to make a simple effect happen. "I cast my hand over the deck, wiggle my fingers, say the magic words, push the button and snap!"
Matthew Olsen
www.mattolsenmagic.com
www.nightmagicshow.com

I heard from a friend that anecdotal evidence is actually quite reliable.
David Thiel
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Western Canada...where all that oil is
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"An ordinary deck of cards...just like the last one I showed you."
Whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Except bears. Bears will kill you.



www.magicpendulums.com

www.MidnightMagicAndMentalism.com
kal
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"Prepare to be amazed!"

"For my first trick"
I'm always honest about when I'm lying. And I'm always lying...
Khal
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What I want you to do is....
MagicDr
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Los Angeles, CA
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Quote:
On 2008-02-13 05:59, Sealegs wrote:
A pet peeve of mine. It's not quite a cliche but certainly is something that I hear a lot from performers at all levels from the hobbyist to the TV performer and that's the phrase, "....like so" tagged onto to the end of a sentence.

If you catch yourself saying this in a routine then you know that your patter has reduced itself to merely a bland description of what you are doing. You are telling your audience you are doing what they can see already plainly see you are doing. (eg I put this through there like so; that goes down there like so; etc)

So listen out for, "...like so" and if you hear yourself saying it translate it as, "I have nothing interesting to say at this point" and hopefully that will prompt you into doing something about it. Eliminating the phrase, "...like so" is one of the easiest and quickest ways to instantly improve your performance.

Neal


I'm going to email D & D
motown
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Atlanta by way of Detroit
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This ones for the people in the cheap seats.
"If you ever write anything about me after I'm gone, I will come back and haunt you."
– Karl Germain
John T Cox
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"How did you do that?"

"Very well, thanks!"

That one always bugs me.

I found it useful to read Pete McCabe's book Scripting Magic and then take some of my favorite tricks and write a little play.
For example, I did this with the multiplying bottle trick and get great reactions without using any of the so-called cliche lines. Now those lines would work just fine for an audience who never saw the effect but I would rather make the effect fit me and my magical persona. So I write my own stuff.
The real magic is family!
MaxfieldsMagic
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Instead of practicing, I made
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I dunno... many "cliches" are precisely that because they have been audience tested over and over, and they work. Wouldn't do them for a video or an important show, but for a small audience why not, if it gets a laugh.

I have a Word file on my computer that I use for lines I think of. There are categories for specific situations, then a miscellaneous section. Sometimes one will just occur to me and I'll add it, other times I'll sit down and deliberately say "I'm not moving until I come up with three new lines." Pretty soon you get quite a collection that way, if you really want to have some material that no one else is doing.
Discipline is choosing between what you want now and what you want most.
The MailMan
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One that gets me (and I noticed myself doing it too) is the phrase "If I just...." or "If we just....".

I only seem to see amateurs like myself doing it on youtube videos etc and it is probably one of those ones that magicians notice more than laymen but it really bugs me and I am making an effort to plan and time my patter more to work it out. The reason it bugs me is that it usually buys the performer time when they don't speak while performing a "move" of sleight for example: "If I just..." *over the top DL* "flip the top card....", I'm not sure but if you did that enough times during a routine I reckon spectators would get sharp enough to listen for those words and know when to look for the magic to happen.

Another one is "...Isn't that weird/freaky/amazing/weird freaky and amazing?". You have shown them something that five minutes ago they believed to be impossible, they don't need to be reminded that that is unusual. I find it akin to that one person in your group of friends that goes into hysterics at their own jokes to let you know when you were supposed to laugh.
Jason Johnson
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On the count of three....wait I use that one. Doh!

I like to use cliches to set up something they don't expect to see. In my kids stage show, I make a bunny rabbit appear from a hat; only for it to be my assistant dressed up as a bunny rabbit.
Paul Draper
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V.I.P.
Las Vegas, Nevada
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Award winning magician Jason Andrews and I made a video of "Hack" lines that magicians say. http://youtu.be/-c2GH1Ot8SQ feel free to share with your magician friends.

Hack Lines: A joke that has been frequently used by comedians or Magicians in the past, and is blatantly stolen from its original author. Short for"hackneyed" meaning over used, cheapened, or trite. (This definition was blatantly stolen from Wikipedia)

These lines were & are really funny when used by the people who invented them & entertainers who make them their own. Many of these lines were originated by great performers like Walter Blaney http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YACRdgj_A_M & Michael Finney http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3YiOVubj-wg. Jason & I love watching great performers use these lines in superb ways to delight their audiences. We just don't like it when some insert them into their shows without the work to make them their own.

The next video will have Hack costumes, props and moves.

Yes... I have used several of them. Jason has too. We should write our own... BUT THEY ARE SOOO GOOD! Sometimes it hurts to have it pointed out, perhaps we should have called them STOCK lines rather than hack lines. The key is in making them your own and truly understanding the line and how it fits perfectly with the effect and character better then anything else.

To find out more about us:

Jason Andrews: http://www.jasonandrewsmagic.com/
Paul Draper: http://mentalmysteries.com/
http://pauldraperactor.com/
KC Cameron
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Raleigh, North Carolina
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Hmm,

In the second video there seems to be a lot of back-peddling . . . maybe it is just me . . .

I don't think most lay people have enough experience with magic to remember a "hack" line. As magicians we seem to often perform for ourselves and others like us. I believe this is not only how much of these lines are spread, but how they are recognized as "hack lines". While they can certainly be delivered poorly as the above videos point out, it is not the lines that are poor (generally), but the performance. Any line can performed poorly. I can envision many of these so called "hack lines" being delivered with a modicum of success. Should we stop because we, or some other magician is bored with them?

What I find whack is that so many "comedy" magicians find their "comedy" in lines. Most modern stand-up comedians (IMHO) find most of their humor in a surprising twist or in situational humor, not in jokes or "sharp" wit.
Crowslide
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I've been really bothered lately by any patter that goes along the lines of "I had the strangest dream last night..and you were in it... and there was a card..(etc.)" Not only is it so clearly a load of bull that any spectator can see are just words you are saying, but the cliche factor is high here too. That line and others like it reinforce the idea that smarmy magicians will say anything regardless of how trite or false it sound to deperatly try and connect with the audience.
Crowslide
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Another cliche I forgot are all the Quasi-Flirtatious Smarmy lines made to the women in the audience. They just come off as creepy and only a bit more evolved than "That's what she said"
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