The Magic Café
[ Lost Password ]
  [ Forgot Username ]
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The words we use » » Our worst cliches (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

 Go to page [Previous]  1~2~3~4
View Profile
Inner circle
Good ole Virginia
1872 Posts

Profile of slyhand
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.

View Profile
Inner circle
Anchorage, AK
1161 Posts

Profile of MagicJuggler
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

I heard from a friend that anecdotal evidence is actually quite reliable.
David Thiel
View Profile
Inner circle
Western Canada...where all that oil is
3685 Posts

Profile of David Thiel
"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.
View Profile
Regular user
111 Posts

Profile of kal
"Prepare to be amazed!"

"For my first trick"
I'm always honest about when I'm lying. And I'm always lying...
View Profile
New user
27 Posts

Profile of Khal
What I want you to do is....
View Profile
Regular user
Los Angeles, CA
111 Posts

Profile of MagicDr
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, " 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, " 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, " so" is one of the easiest and quickest ways to instantly improve your performance.


I'm going to email D & D
View Profile
Inner circle
Atlanta by way of Detroit
5750 Posts

Profile of motown
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
View Profile
Veteran user
384 Posts

Profile of John T Cox
"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!
View Profile
Inner circle
Instead of practicing, I made
2768 Posts

Profile of MaxfieldsMagic
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.
Now appearing nightly in my basement.
The MailMan
View Profile
New user
11 Posts

Profile of The MailMan
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
View Profile
New user
Houston, Texas
50 Posts

Profile of Jason Johnson
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
View Profile
Las Vegas, Nevada
221 Posts

Profile of Paul Draper
Award winning magician Jason Andrews and I made a video of "Hack" lines that magicians say. 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 & Michael Finney 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:
Paul Draper:
KC Cameron
View Profile
Inner circle
Raleigh, North Carolina
1809 Posts

Profile of KC Cameron

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.
View Profile
New user
50 Posts

Profile of Crowslide
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.
View Profile
New user
50 Posts

Profile of Crowslide
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"
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The words we use » » Our worst cliches (0 Likes)
 Go to page [Previous]  1~2~3~4
[ Top of Page ]
All content & postings Copyright © 2001-2018 Steve Brooks. All Rights Reserved.
This page was created in 0.19 seconds requiring 5 database queries.
The views and comments expressed on The Magic Café
are not necessarily those of The Magic Café, Steve Brooks, or Steve Brooks Magic.
> Privacy Statement <

ROTFL Billions and billions served! ROTFL