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Profile of Marcel.Allen.van.Bulck
"If I am a layman, I will be very disappointed if I know magicians use stooges."

If I am a layman, I will also be very disappointed if I discover the secret of a trick. You're a magician. Either way, we're still lying to our audience. Or "performing theater," however you want to look at it. I'm not sure about this "is it ethical?" business because magic wasn't created to be ethical. It was created to be mysterious and entertaining. The question should be "Does it mystify and entertain the audience?" I say, if you can get away with it, and the audience is entertained and mystified...why not?
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Profile of stijnhommes
I've always hated extremes, so the idea that stooges are NEVER a good idea is something I just can't swallow. Now, what the right conditions are, I don't know. The only time I ever used a stooge was when I had my sister's boyfriend read someone's mind to determine a playing card. Somehow, the rest of my family never expected that I'd use him as a stooge....
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Jupiter, FL
404 Posts

Profile of daver
So I just had an interesting discussion with a friend on this...

Let's say it's not a "stooge" in the pure sense, in that it really is not totally set up, but you bring someone on stage whom during the show you have determined would be a willing shill (rather than stooge) and during the patter of the effect, the participant gets a cue form you on what to do or how to behave. So they are in on it, but not a prepped, predisposed "this is the person".

First, while a stooge, although an impromptu and unpreshow'ed one, are you comfortable with this?

a) The person has to be trusted to actually execute the effect with you.
b) Does it diminish the effect when later on, or the next day, or whenever, they spill it to someone, and the effect you did was just a trick, and not "the impossible" bringing you down in their eyes as a performer,
c) Do you think that the participant will feel it in themselves to not spill it because either they want to make others believe they are really part of something magical or because they don't want to be thought of as lying to their friends?
d) Do you think the participant will spill it to "be cool and a know it all" and expose you?


What's the difference between a magician and a deck of cards? A deck of cards has FOUR suits...
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Profile of HMAC
I personally do not mind stooges too much.

However, I do mind people using bad stooges. Someone showed me a few Cris Angel's video lately. And it hurts. Really.

Please, when you use a stooge, make sure he can act.
Jason Fox
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Washington, D.C.
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Profile of Jason Fox
I think they can be a blessing and a curse. You could be the best performer in the world and use a plant that can't act and that can blow your whole set.

Not my favorite magician but for example I'll use Chris Angel. On His TV show Chris used several stooges for one trick(i'm sure more that once, but in his defense it is hard to come up with original magic) - Where Chris vanishes and shows up on the roof of a nearby building - the first thing that I notice was that 5 people walk up to a moving crowd of people with Chris in tow and peppered through the crowd, then immediately turned to Chris and volunteered to be a helper for the stunt. Chris only picked those guys to help. Now in effect they did accomplish the trick, but it was not graceful or was it magical. I felt less amazed and more like a con man took me for a fool.

speaking of plants - anyone know why L&L has the same people in all there videos to fill the crowd? I'd like to know, and that seems like a fun thing to know. PM me
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Shreveport, La
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Profile of DATMagic
A magician friend of mine used me as a stooge the other evening at a large gala function, I thought he was an idiot to do so since he is a competent magician and shouldn't stoop to stooges, was I ever wrong. He did a tie steal and a watch steal from me and I believe that is what everyone left talking about. I still don't like the idea of stooges, but it certainly opened my eyes to the possiblilities they bring to a large crowd.
David A Trombetta

DAT does the Trick

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Lawrence O
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Greenwich (CT)
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Profile of Lawrence O
Never used one but would have no problem doing it (properly as Patrick Differ underlines): we are professional liars after all
Magic is the art of proving impossible things in parallel dimensions that can't be reached
Mr. Mystoffelees
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I haven't changed anyone's opinion in
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Profile of Mr. Mystoffelees
Like a one-way deck, used sparingly it kills...
Also known, when doing rope magic, as "Cordini"
Ms. Merizing
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Edwin Carl Erwin is digging postholes for
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Profile of Ms. Merizing
If Larry Fine wasn't deceased, he'd be a part of my new routine in a heartbeat.
Pleased to continue finding that all the world's a stage.
Doruk Ülgen
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Profile of Doruk Ülgen
I feel great:)
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Profile of brody
Properly handled, I think stooges are fine. I do Karrel Fox's Little Red Table a LOT, and it is an instant-stooge type effect.

It's very solid, and I do have an alternate ending (Brainwave) ready in case the helper decides *not to help*.

But, it's never happened.

And I know for a fact that at least in one case, the info that they were my "stooge" has stayed pretty well concealed, since one lady pestered me for over a year about how could "the card the girl thought of appear in my billfold".

I do admit though, that as I escort the volunteer off the stage, I mention to them that "If you don't tell anyone, it'll drive them all crazy".

I also have to admit that there's not much work for the stooge to do in this effect. Just name a card.

I'm not sure I'd trust any instant-stooge to do much more than this.
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Profile of aaronharp88
Very funny topic. I paid good money to see a famous magician perform. not going to say his name. but me and my wife had front row seats... a lady comes up and asks if I have good seats and I told her to pretty much go on that I wasnt selling her my tickets to get in trouble.... then she says no she is the assistant of this magician and that my wife is perfect size for an illusion.... he then takes her backstage has her sign a waver and then she performs origami on stage for him during the show.... luckily she new this trick since we performed it.... but he had that risk of once she is in the box of being clostrophobic or anything in that nature.... but that's a way he uses stooges..... she also got a bunch of stuff free after the show... but to me that's very risky
joe yang
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Profile of joe yang
As an escape artist, I use stooges a little differently, not to make a trick work, but to speed up an act. Some venues only allow a few minutes per act. Taking audience "volunteers" on a walk through of some of my more elaborate rope ties can save time. Just pre-selecting volunteers can save time. Pretending we've never met or worked together can add to the comedy.

Now I'm submitting scripted routines, small, one act clown shows to fringe festivals. I'm looking at expanding my use of stooges. There are a lot of opinions on the pros and cons of using stooges. I'm experimenting with the practical reality. I want to see what works, what doesn't and why. My two cents from a new guy.
aka Mike Booth
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