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Jeff Jenson
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Ok this may be difficult to explain in typing but I will try...
In my stage shows I get ready to perform bill in lemon, I look at the audience and tell them, "I need to borrow something green" (pause), "I need to borrow something with numbers on it" (pause), I lean forward a little and say, "it's called money people."

Every time I do this 85% to 90% of the audience laughs. Why is this line funny???
Jeff Jenson
"Keep The Magic Alive"
Olympic Adam
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The way you tell it?
SeasideShowman
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Curly Howard of The Three Stooges once said, "One night I was on stage and I went, "Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk". The audience laughed. I kept it in the show."

Don't over think it.

I don't care if they're are laughing at me or laughing with me as long as they're laughing.
"I didn't care if they were laughing at me or laughing with me ... as long as they were laughing" - Unknown
www.MagicAtTheBeach.org
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MagicJuggler
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It may be because people are reluctant to part with money, especially at a magic show where many will have already seen a magician destroy someone's money before. The delivery you're using, if I've correctly interpreted it, is playing off that reluctance. I've found that in dealing with money, making jokes or comments about trust or people being cheap etc. tend to work well because of the common experiance of not wanting to give up your hard earned cash. They may be laughing because they realized what you wanted, and had no intention of giving you any. Thus when you give a comment that essentially implies in a non-offensive way "come you cheapskates you're holding up the show."
I use a line sometimes when I hand a spectator a bill for a transposition effect, "I'm going to trust you for a moment....But only for a moment." Implying that I want my money back and the end of the trick, don't run off with it. Sometimes it's funny simply because your joke points out exactly what they were thinking at the time.
Matthew Olsen

www.mattolsenmagic.com




I heard from a friend that anecdotal evidence is actually quite reliable.
motown
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If it works don't change it.
"If you ever write anything about me after I'm gone, I will come back and haunt you."
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jazzy snazzy
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They forgot what money looks like?
"The secret of life is to look good from a distance."
-Charles Schulz
panlives
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Laughter can sometimes be a polite way of expressing embarrassment.

Sometimes, the joke is on us...
"Is there any point to which you would wish to draw my attention?"
"To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time."
"The dog did nothing in the night-time."
"That was the curious incident," remarked Sherlock Holmes.
aaronharp88
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It could be worse in my kid shows I use a die box but refer to it as a dice so smaller kids understand what I'm saying and just the other day I had a guy correct me on it... The first time since ive been performing this for 10 years someone corrected me on it... so from now on its a block with colored dots on each side
kal
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To dissect it:
It's funny because it has a twist ending that people can't immediately see coming.

If it works keep it!
I'm always honest about when I'm lying. And I'm always lying...
Bill Hallahan
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Quote:
On 2010-09-07 10:49, Jeff77 wrote:
Ok this may be difficult to explain in typing but I will try...
In my stage shows I get ready to perform bill in lemon, I look at the audience and tell them, "I need to borrow something green" (pause), "I need to borrow something with numbers on it" (pause), I lean forward a little and say, "it's called money people."

Every time I do this 85% to 90% of the audience laughs. Why is this line funny???

I think kal is right. Not being there, I can only guess, but here's what I think might be going on:

Saying, "I need to borrow something green," would normally be an odd request, but where you're an entertainer, and in particular a magician, it's not that strange and it generates interest. Most people in the audience probably have no idea where you're heading at this point.

Then, when you say, "I need to borrow something with numbers on it," it sounds like a totally separate request, as if you need one thing that's green and then another thing that has numbers.

Finally, when you connect them in a request asking for money, the audience makes the connection and is amused both that they didn't make the connection earlier and that asking for money is a mild imposition and inherently funny anyway. Drawing them in like that is amusing.

Again, that's just a guess.


Once when I was performing a routine in a Veteran's hospital, I showed a red handkerchief and then a green handkerchief at the start of a routine. As I briefly displayed the green handkerchief, one of the patients said loudly, "It looks like a map." I said, trying to agree with him, "Well, it is green." That got a big laugh from most people in the room. To this day, I have no idea why that was considered so funny. He might have been hard of hearing and been talking to someone else? Perhaps there was some other reason.
Humans make life so interesting. Do you know that in a universe so full of wonders, they have managed to create boredom. Quite astonishing.
- The character of ‘Death’ in the movie "Hogswatch"
Atte
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I agree with Bill. I think that the audience may feel little stupid when they haven't been able to connect two things (green,numbers) to thing as simple as money and that's why they laugh. But if it works just do what Nike tells you to do: just do it.

~Atte
Human being, magician, student and squash player. Order may vary depending on the situation, but usually first in the list is "human being".
ddamen
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Yeah that's why I laughed. I felt dumb for not making such a simple connection
"My counterbalance to... noisy and orgy-like magic videos....one has to re-look at this video to know what had exactly happened. Screaming and running around audience....convince everyone that the particular trick was fantastic." LF
mtpascoe
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Quote:
On Sep 7, 2010, Jeff77 wrote:
Ok this may be difficult to explain in typing but I will try...
In my stage shows I get ready to perform bill in lemon, I look at the audience and tell them, "I need to borrow something green" (pause), "I need to borrow something with numbers on it" (pause), I lean forward a little and say, "it's called money people."

Every time I do this 85% to 90% of the audience laughs. Why is this line funny???



I think maybe because no one wants to be the one to volunteer. As soon as you say something green, they all know what you are talking about, but no one wants to be called on to help out. So, everyone is hesitating because they hope someone else volunteers.

So the awkward pause is because of this. By using the pauses like you did and using the magic of three, the line about money releases their uncomfortable feeling and they release in laughter. Plus, attitude also makes people laugh. I'm sure when you say the line, "it's called money people" your attitude changes.
0pus
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I don't doubt that the line gets a laugh, but I don't think the line is funny.
mtpascoe
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The line may not be funny, but somehow it strikes the audience as funny. Sometimes you just can't explain it.
Tukaram
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Yeah it is not a one liner kind of joke. It is a situational humor joke.

Could be they did not make the connection, so it was an embarrassment laugh. Or they don't want to loan money so it is a nervous laugh. Could be any number of things. If it works - keep doing it Smile
0pus
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If it is an embarassment laugh or a nervous laugh, it is not because the situation is funny. It would be indicative of being uncomfortable.
Ray Bertrand
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In todays culture if you ask for something green... someone may hand you a 'joint'.

Ray
EnterTRAINment at its best.
Dr_Bagelman
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Quote:
On Sep 30, 2015, Ray Bertrand wrote:
In todays culture if you ask for something green... someone may hand you a 'joint'.

Ray

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"I take people's nightmares and turn them into dream-realities."
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Dick Oslund
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Quote:
On Nov 28, 2010, aaronharp88 wrote:
It could be worse in my kid shows I use a die box but refer to it as a dice so smaller kids understand what I'm saying and just the other day I had a guy correct me on it... The first time since ive been performing this for 10 years someone corrected me on it... so from now on its a block with colored dots on each side


I suppose that the guy told you that the proper word was "die". Well, THAT shows you that the guy never saw the late Jay Marshall, do the die box!!!

Jay, in his very funny routine, which he did on the USO circuit in the mid '40s, always explained that the "proper" term was, "DOUSE". ("MICE" (plural) therefore, "MOUSE" (singular) Besides, his father had told him when he was a young lad: "NEVER say die!"

Jay never did explain about "house"/"hice"!

(About 13% of our 'every day' language is from Anglo/Saxon words.)
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
Dick Oslund
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I had a die box as a 14 year old, and, sorry to say, I used the "standard presentation". I was too young to realize that I was making SUCKERS of the audience.

Jay Marshall and I were discussing die boxes, and, similar tricks, over coffee, one day. He brought out "Mike Kanter" die box, which he had "remodeled". He showed me his routine. He hadn't done it in years. GOOD! FUNNY! He said, you're welcome to use it!

I was repeating the same territory, about a year or so, too soon, and, was looking for a few bits that would "fit in", and, be practical for my needs.

I never had used HIPPITY HOP RABBITS, or a DIE BOX in my assembly show. --I toured all over the country, and, didn't know if the local magician might have done it. (The cat that has sat on the hot stove lid, doesn't sit on a cold one!!!) My tour, the coming fall, was for Dakota Assemblies. I KNEW that there were only a few magicians "up there", and, I knew them, and, what they did. So, I bought an English Die Box, and, did it for a whole season! It played GREAT!

Again, PRESENTATION, TEMPO, TIMING, TIME, made the difference.

Over the years, I've occasionally adlibbed a line, or a bit of business. and, it got a nice laugh. It went into the act! Much of my act began llke that!
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
jakeg
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I couldn't figure out why audiences laughed at some of the lines that I used in my mental act. Perhaps it was just the contrast, but I also remember laughs that Dunninger got from lines that wouldn't be worth a snicker if said off stage.
Rather than try to figure it out, I would write the lines down so I could remember to use it in the next show. Each laugh is worth it's weight in gold.
Jake
When is this 'old enough to know better ' supposed to kick in?
0pus
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Quote:
On Feb 23, 2017, jakeg wrote:
Each laugh is worth it's weight in gold.


Does everyone agree with this?

I do not think that all laughter is an expression of delight.

I think embarrassed laughter, nervous laughter, discomforted or uneasy laughter, confused laughter and other similar forms of laughter may not be so great.
Dick Oslund
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Nothing in my act causes embarrassed, nervous, discomforted or uneasy laugHter, confused laughter, or any sort of laughter, other than good, clean, FUN. I planned it that way, when I was producing it.

My "motto" is KIS MIF (Keep It Simple -- Make It FUN) so, every laugh means that the audience is enjoying being entertained.

Out in California, a few years ago, a client told me, "You can work dirty if you like." I told him that I didn't know how.
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
jakeg
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Your right Opus. Laughter should never be caused by causing any individual to be embarrassed or hurt.
I should have mentioned it in my original post, because there is always at least one reader who is the master of the obvious, and has to spell it out.
Jake
When is this 'old enough to know better ' supposed to kick in?
WitchDocChris
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To my knowledge, and I readily admit I am newer to this than many of the folks here, laughter is always a release. Sometimes a minor release, sometimes a major release.

To that end, it can be beneficial to to elicit a bit of nervous laughter. To let off a little bit of the emotional build up and prepare the audience for climax of the routine. After all, if magic is to be an art, it should probably be able to provide more than simply being funny or "entertaining".
Christopher
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imgic
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Quote:
On Sep 8, 2010, SeasideShowman wrote:
Curly Howard of The Three Stooges once said, "One night I was on stage and I went, "Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk". The audience laughed. I kept it in the show."

Don't over think it.

I don't care if they're are laughing at me or laughing with me as long as they're laughing.


Second this...
"Imagination is more important than knowledge."
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