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Topic: Good one liners
Message: Posted by: Magicray80 (Jan 27, 2005 07:40PM)
Any good one liners as openers. Also I'm having trouble tring to find a few one liner or fill in for cardiographic will I'm drawing thier card. Any ideas....
Message: Posted by: Dan McLean Jr aka, Magic Roadie (Jan 27, 2005 08:16PM)
Magicry80,
I figure the first thing you say and the first thing you do are VITALLY important, and are largely responsible for introducing & developing your on-stage persona. Therefore, I'm thinking we need to know about your act and your persona so that we can feed you appropriate stuff!

Looking forward to hearing about you!
Dan.
Message: Posted by: Magicray80 (Jan 27, 2005 08:44PM)
I do a lot comedy magic for all types of shows. I do mostly kid shows and been working a lot on my adults shows. For my adult show I've been slowly taking out my magic and working more on my stand-up. But the reason for my post is I've been getting a lot of repeat customers and I'm running out of ideas. For both kid shows and adults shows!

Here are a few things I do:

Mc Comicable prediction
Cardiographic
Card in orange
Nesting boxes
Pro Viper 2
Comedy split deck
Comedy rope escape
Rope thru body
Knife thru coat
Paper balls over the head
Ultamite dancing hank
Vanishing bandana

I need HELP!

Ray
Message: Posted by: The Donster (Jan 30, 2005 06:53AM)
Ok I was walking down the street the other day and a guy came up to me and he said "Excuse me but are you a sculptor?" I told the guy I'm not a sculptor but I've been told I'm a great chiseler.
Message: Posted by: Comedy and then the magic (Feb 4, 2005 02:31AM)
I played golf the other day, I hit a beautiful set of balls, I stepped on a rake.
Message: Posted by: Mercury52 (Feb 14, 2005 10:04AM)
Sleight of Mouth by Harry Allen is a good source for one-liners. Aldo Colombini also has 3 books (booklets?) on the subject. I've not read Aldo's books, but having seen him perform, I would imagine them to be wonderful.

Kevin
Message: Posted by: Ilan (Feb 27, 2005 03:52AM)
I would look at stand-up comedians, change their lines to suit you and your act...

Steven Wright- check him out!
Message: Posted by: tikiman (Feb 27, 2005 12:23PM)
Be you, canned oneliners are well canned and chances are someone else has already opened that can of cheese.

Sit and think a bit I'm sure you can come up with some orriginals
Message: Posted by: SHOC (Feb 28, 2005 02:43PM)
[quote]
On 2005-02-27 04:52, Ilan wrote:
I would look at stand-up comedians, change their lines to suit you and your act...

[/quote]

Pass on that advice!
Message: Posted by: David Lees (Feb 28, 2005 05:22PM)
[quote]
On 2005-02-04 03:31, Comedy and then the magic wrote:
I played golf the other day, I hit a beautiful set of balls, I stepped on a rake.
[/quote]

Only good ball I hit all day.
I got a hole in one.....the other was black and blue!!!!!!!!
Message: Posted by: ziatro (Mar 6, 2005 04:59PM)
For a heckler. "Thanks very much for interrupting me at my climax, I'll try to return the favour one day, but unlike myself I'm sure you will be on your own".
Message: Posted by: butch60 (Mar 7, 2005 02:13AM)
Aldo Colombini's has three gag booklets (Make Em Laugh, Funny Stuff, LOL (Laughing Out Loud)). They all contain very good one-liner, gags, and observations that can be easily adapted to various situations. You can probably otain them through his web site http://www.mammamiamagic.com.
Message: Posted by: Ollie1235 (Mar 7, 2005 03:40PM)
When youve drawn the outline of the card say "have I got it right so far" and then turn it round to the audience.

ollie
Message: Posted by: Doc Dixon (Mar 7, 2005 05:55PM)
[quote]
On 2005-02-27 04:52, Ilan wrote:
I would look at stand-up comedians, change their lines to suit you and your act...
[/quote]

With all due respect, as I don't know your intent, I've worked with hundreds of standups comics and I'd guess just about every one of them would read your post and think, "he better not do that to my act" meaning, they would intrepret as it as theivery.

Again, I don't know you or your intent, and I'm more than familiar with how easy it is to misinterpret a post, but the last thing I'd want is someone "looking at my act, and changing the lines to suit them" -- whatever that means.

Respectfully,

DD
Message: Posted by: Daniel Faith (Mar 26, 2005 10:14PM)
Also, you might want to try doing a search. There are numerous threads on one liners.
Message: Posted by: ziatro (Mar 27, 2005 05:17PM)
[quote]
On 2005-03-07 18:55, Doc Dixon wrote:
[quote]
On 2005-02-27 04:52, Ilan wrote:
I would look at stand-up comedians, change their lines to suit you and your act...
[/quote]

With all due respect, as I don't know your intent, I've worked with hundreds of standups comics and I'd guess just about every one of them would read your post and think, "he better not do that to my act" meaning, they would intrepret as it as theivery.

Again, I don't know you or your intent, and I'm more than familiar with how easy it is to misinterpret a post, but the last thing I'd want is someone "looking at my act, and changing the lines to suit them" -- whatever that means.

Respectfully,

DD
[/quote]

He quoted Steve Wright as saying "I would look at stand-up comedians, change their lines to suit you and your act... "
I think that changing lines to suit your own act is a perfectly legitimate practise. Don't we change tricks to suit ourselves. As long as it's not a blatant copy where's the problem. Nothing wrong with standing on the shoulders of giants, ask Isaac Newton.
Message: Posted by: Doc Dixon (Mar 28, 2005 12:09PM)
I'm not sure if he was quoting Steven Wright, or offering him as a source of material, hence the phrase "check him out".

Re: this comment --
"I think that changing lines to suit your own act is a perfectly legitimate practise. Don't we change tricks to suit ourselves. As long as it's not a blatant copy where's the problem."

There is a HUGE difference between changing a trick which was PURCHASED (or is in the public domain) and slightly changing a line from someone's act which was never even offered for sale.

I'm not typing this to "preach" to anyone. My intent is just to tell you how every stand up comic that I've ever worked with (and there are 100s) would feel about this issue.

Just my 2 cents.

Respectfully,

DD
Message: Posted by: Nick Wait (Mar 28, 2005 12:20PM)
Jokes are also in the public domain. Very few comedians actually tell their own jokes now a days. They just "revamp" old material and make it fresh. So if using a changed joke, your likely to be doing the same as the person who you heard it form.
Nick
Message: Posted by: Doc Dixon (Mar 31, 2005 02:17PM)
[quote]
On 2005-03-28 13:20, walsall wrote:
Jokes are also in the public domain. Very few comedians actually tell their own jokes now a days. They just "revamp" old material and make it fresh. So if using a changed joke, your likely to be doing the same as the person who you heard it form.
Nick
[/quote]

Not to beat a dead horse (an idiom which I hope translates worldwide) but this is far, far from my experience. True, at times certain topics -- OJ, Lewinsky, Bobbitt, will dominate -- but the specific jokes are considered proprietary. Comics that steal material are generally held in DEEP loathing.

I guess the issue centers around the definition of the word "revamp". Unfortunately, in real life "revamp" often just becomes "repeat".

Respectfully,

DD
Message: Posted by: suspectacts (Mar 31, 2005 02:51PM)
Doc -
Preach away brother Dixon ! The widespread idea among magicians that jokes are 'public domain' is absolutely ludicrous. Steve Wright worked long and hard to create his act and the idea that beginning performers would 'nick' random lines without guilt or credit is shameful.

People! Take a moment and think... Where does all this 'public domain' material come from? Are there people out there writing funny stuff just for the rest of us to use? Not likely... All those 'hack' jokes that people use are just jokes that have been so often stolen, so misused that now no one can remember who they were stolen from originally. But trust me, whoever wrote it never intended to 'share' it with every SYM member and weekend warrior who carries an invisible deck and a TT.

One of the reasons magicians are mocked by the rest of the entertainment world is because far too many of use are doing THE SAME MATERIAL, with the same tired jokes.

I know what some of you are thinking: How can I write jokes, writing my own jokes is too hard! It's supposed to be hard. If it was easy, everyone would do it (this itself is a paraphrase from a great speech from "A League of their Own").

So Magicray80, do yourself and favor, and if you don't have a B show, just don't do the show! Or do the show and don't worry about having a 'zinger' every 20 seconds. The beauty of doing magic is that if you keep yourself awake, comedy WILL happen pretty naturally.Especially when you choose good Magic routines like the one's you've selected; They have good comic moments built right in.

A little struggle in each show is how we get better. And that is after 18 years of struggling as a performer.

Best of Luck,

Peter Gross
http://www.funnymagic.com


PS Ziatro, my best advice is to stay clear of "heckler" lines, especially ones that refer to masturbation. Lines like this are a bit like poorly made hand guns:
They are just as likely to damage the user as the one they are aimed at.
Message: Posted by: Doc Dixon (Apr 4, 2005 12:39AM)
Thank YOU, brother Gross. Thank you.

You wrote:
"A little struggle in each show is how we get better. And that is after 18 years of struggling as a performer."

But you know, when you do it right, it's a joyous struggle -- filled with mistakes that you can laugh at (that never make it in the show again)and victories that are thriliing (becoming a permanent part of the show.)

I can't remember where I was when I first heard any number of stock lines, but I sure as heck can remember virtually every detail of the bits that were first adlibs, but then became permanent parts of the my show.

It's a huge feeling of satisfaction when you have a place in your show that you KNOW needs a certain line, but you just can't figure out what it is ... and then in one show it will just come out ... you'll say it, it not only gets the big laugh you've wanted, but it FITS, it supplies a needed transition, it FLOWS. You almost have to fight to get yourself not to write the line down that very second.

What makes that line so valuable to you is NOT the fact that it was adlibbed. No. That's just the gravy. What makes it so valuable are all the performances you had to work, sweat, and labor through to arrive at that line. If someone were to take that line (or just slightly "revamp it" whatever that means) they'd be taking not only the line, but ALL THE WORK THAT WENT INTO IT.

It reminds me of something I told an agent years ago. He was asking me what I wanted for a certain local gig. I told him my price and he said, "Doc, come on. It's only 30 minutes."

I responded, "You're not paying for the minutes. You're paying me for the years."

Please don't mistake this post for preaching. It's just that despite all my weaknesses (and there are many), MagiComedy has been pretty good to me and I can't help but be passionate about it.

Respectfully,

DD
Message: Posted by: Spinnato (Apr 4, 2005 09:28PM)
[quote]
On 2005-01-27 20:40, Magicray80 wrote:
Any good one liners as openers. Also I'm having trouble tring to find a few one liner or fill in for cardiographic will I'm drawing thier card. Any ideas....
[/quote]

I suggest Aldo Columbini's new book, FIRST AID LINES. It's loaded with one liners.
Message: Posted by: Sonny Vegas (Apr 5, 2005 10:21AM)
Here's some comedy magic writing advice.
If you're looking for a basis of jokes that can be formed to your own liking, there are Milton Berle's comedy joke book. In there he stresses the point to use these jokes, but only if you format, rewrite them to you taste. It's basically a bunch of stock jokes that every performer uses now and then. There are a lot of jokes in the books, but only a few will be good for your liking. Stealing joke will only harm you performance. Using someone elses lines will only show you as a cheap performer.

Think simple..when you write..Even those mild humourous lines will make people laugh. Pick a trick you do, now write all the details, actions,and out comes that trick can do. Anything related to the trick can be molded into a joke. Look at your list, pull out the funnier words..maybe your rope trick started at a young age and doing the trick with worms or your teachers shoe string started it all off...

Remember, you're a magician not a standup comedian. Really any subtle joke from a magician will go over well better than a regular comedian. You gotta hit homerun jokes if your strictly a standup comedian.

I like the line "This trick is magically delicious" Thus the cereal we have here in the states "Lucky Charms" whose motto is just that. If you use that, you might want to even find yourself a small box of that cereal to use in a trick.

I do Adult comedy only.I usually open my routine with how good looking the crowd is and I'm excited to be here. Then I go to my "Magic hat" which is nothing more than a floppy casual hat. I dig around inside the hat as if I was looking for a pre-set prop.I explain that this is a magical hat and we need to get the show started with this first trick. Then I proceed to pull my hand out with it being in the middle finger salute. I then say " ah-ha! I magically pulled a "bird" out of my hat!...Sorry I didn't have enough money for a dove."
Use it if you like it....but just make sure if you use that one on your audience, they are mature enough and over 18.

You can also use just a rabbit foot for those "Teleporting" tricks.."Teleporting just a rabbit's foot in a trick will get a roar if you planned on having a whole rabbit appear...yikes!

Have fun and enjoy yourself.

Sonny Vegas
Message: Posted by: JonathanM (Apr 15, 2005 03:03PM)
As an opener, I like to DO SOMETHING, not necessarily say something.

At one time, as an opener - I'd say nothing, smile, and like Lance Burton, stare at the audience, pull out a flash string from my inside coat pocket, light it, and I'm holding a silk handkerchief. I'd get applause by smiling and looking all around the audience, continuously nodding my head, with a facial expression non-verbally saying "pretty good huh?".

Anyway, as soon as they start applauding, look puzzled, look at the hankerchief, and back at audience, hold the hankerchief up, and when applause is completely finished I'd say "you guys don't get out much do you?" (as if to say, "it wasn't THAT good") Audience always laughs and they are really kind of surprized at the boldness.
And then I'd hold a condescending look, make eye contact with as many audience members as possible for about 5 to 10 seconds.

Then I'd finally break eye contact, look down and break down for about 2 seconds as though I couldn't keep a straight face and hold my hand palm facing audience as if to say "just kidding". Then, 2 seconds later, I'm back into "character" and looking somewhat serious again. I'd do the silk to egg, ending with cracking open a real egg.

That opener just "happened" one time, and I used it many times - years ago. I liked it because it shows the audience a lot of confidence.

In fact, I always respected comedians who did this kind of thing. It always seemed to add an unspoken/silent "respect" to the comedian/entertainer. But, you got to break down and laugh for a brief moment to show the new audience that you're not really a COCKY JERK!
Message: Posted by: jstone (Apr 17, 2005 03:25AM)
[quote]
On 2005-03-28 13:20, walsall wrote:
Jokes are also in the public domain. Very few comedians actually tell their own jokes now a days. They just "revamp" old material and make it fresh. So if using a changed joke, your likely to be doing the same as the person who you heard it form.
Nick
[/quote]
Actually, people often pay a lot of money for their jokes. In fact, Jay Leno gets paid quite nicely to write jokes for a lot of people, and the jokes are "protected." They are not legally allowed to be added to someone's act.
Message: Posted by: The Donster (Apr 17, 2005 08:36AM)
Doesn't Jay Leno have Writers that Write for Him ?
Message: Posted by: jstone (Apr 18, 2005 01:41AM)
[quote]
On 2005-04-17 09:36, The Donster wrote:
Doesn't Jay Leno have Writers that Write for Him ?
[/quote]

He probably does, and in fact, the stuff that he sells to others may actually be created by his staff. However, the point still remains that people do pay for material and that it's inappropriate to "borrow" material from other performers. :)
Message: Posted by: The Donster (Apr 18, 2005 06:52AM)
One can also ask for Permission to use Ideas/Jokes/Patter which is what I have done. and I have had others. also ask if they could use a line I made up. jstone is correct. be sure you have permission etc before you use anyone elses jokes etc. other Professionals have done this to. Turner Classic Movies has pointed this out in Film Clips. where someone used the same idea as someone else.
Message: Posted by: freakshowjim (Apr 19, 2005 10:14AM)
This can go on Forever... Think I'll go ask the chicken to cross the road again.
Message: Posted by: The Donster (Apr 19, 2005 10:52AM)
Yes it can go on forever. that is why the best thing to do is try and come up with material on your own. but by the time you do someone else has already had the same idea.
Message: Posted by: Magicray80 (Apr 20, 2005 12:00AM)
Thanks everybody!
Message: Posted by: The Donster (Apr 20, 2005 02:47PM)
Magicray80 your Welcome. that's what this board is for is to Help Out.
Message: Posted by: Mr_Matthew_Charles (Apr 21, 2005 04:38PM)
If you ever get heckled by a random audience member, you could say to the rest of the audience 'see folks that's what happens when cousins marry' but that might be too insulting
Message: Posted by: The Donster (Apr 22, 2005 07:41AM)
Has anyone tryed or used OOPS yet ?
Message: Posted by: itshim (Apr 22, 2005 12:29PM)
To add my 2p, If you use somebody elses material, unless you are EXACTLY the same as that person then it will not work as well and often won't work at all. The best lines as has been stated earlier in this thread are the ones that start as adlibs and are still funny the second time you use them. The most productive time for comedy is in the middle of a show, when the adrenalin is running through you and you need to say something and a response occurs. The hard part is remembering the line after the show. I've actually asked audience members to remember lines for me, it makes them more involved and lets the rest of the audience know that you are finding the show amusing as well. Here's an example from my kids show, at one point the kids want me to repeat a trick which in this instance I'm happy to do as it isn't magic if I get the response "again! again!" I ask them if they are a teletubby. Works well for me I doubt it will work for most acts.

Nigel
Message: Posted by: Jimeuax (Apr 29, 2005 12:05PM)
So many of these discussions are just re-stating the obvious. The best idea is to buy a book on writing comedy---There are formulas, of sorts ,that writers follow to create jokes. It is really EASIER to come up with stuff for yourself than try to force some one elses material on your character. Sure, you will spend a few bucks learning how to write them, but you will be glad you did. Then we won't have to listen to the same old trite responses and life will be good!---cheers!
Message: Posted by: gabelson (May 26, 2005 11:19PM)
Writing comedy, for one who is not a seasoned stand-up, is not "easy", but it is a skill which can be aquired. Like any other specialty (sleight of hand, for instance), it takes YEARS of practice to really be smooth. The difference between getting a huge laugh and a joke dying completely can be as simple as the placement of an "and" or an "or" in a sentence. The reason Seinfeld was looked upon by his peers as the best, was his economy of words. (As Stephen King mentions in his book, "On Writing", which I recommend to ANYONE writing ANY kind of act), the first rule of writing is "economy of words". When people say, "I can't tell a joke", it's because they go on too ***ed long. There's no way a two minute story can have ONE payoff line and be worth it. Condense that 2-minute story to 15 seconds. If you listen to Seinfeld's act, you'll notice he has ONE set-up, and follow it with 10 straight punch lines, WITHOUT ANOTHER SET-UP! Dangerfield- bang, bang, bang. And yes, as Jimeuax mentioned, there ARE formulas- basically, 90% of all jokes can be deconstructed as: two or more ideas tied together in a funny way. Here's an example of a Jay Leno joke that illustrates that: "I'm sure you all saw those pictures of Saddam Hussein in his underwear... here's the creepy part- they were taken at Michael Jackson's house." In this example, two topical ideas have found common ground, and the result is a joke. Writing a joke is basically starting with a reference, or a set-up if you will, and then going through a mental Rolodex to find ANOTHER reference that ties into the first one in a funny way. Sorry if I sound preachy, but I'm one of "those guys" who does write for Jay Leno. Was Letterman's head monologue writer for four years, too. Before that, did stand-up for a living for 17 years. Did all those "brick wall" TV shows of the 80's and early 90's... "Comic Strip Live", "Caroline's Comedy Hour", "MTV Half Hour Comedy Hour", etc. So I can tell you, definitively, YES, we do hold our jokes near and dear, and get quite ****ed off when they are stolen (or even mis-quoted... which happens constantly.) Gone are the days when comics like Milton Berle "shared" jokes with the rest of the comedy community. Now, the jokes are tailored to the comic's individual personality. As it should be for magicians, as well. -BUT, it is not as important for the magician to be a comic technician, for magicians need not open their soul to the crowd the way a stand-up must.

Just my two cents... or three.
Message: Posted by: Doc Dixon (May 28, 2005 11:47AM)
Gabelson,

Your "two cents" had about $100 worth of smarts. At least.

Thanks.

Re: Rodney Dangerfield, I always thought one of the things that made him so incredibly funny and his comedy so "word economical", for lack of a better term, was the fact that his PERSONA WAS 90% OF THE SET-UP.

Thanks again for a great post.

DD
Message: Posted by: davidbod (May 28, 2005 01:18PM)
Great tips, Gabelson!
Message: Posted by: mike gallo (May 28, 2005 02:49PM)
Your "two cents" had about $100 worth of smarts. At least.


Only 100bucks...I'd say it was priceless!

Mike
Message: Posted by: gabelson (May 28, 2005 11:32PM)
Thanks for all the cool feedback, guys. My four comic inspirations (not that you asked) growing up, were George Carlin, Richard Pryor, Johnny Carson and Robert Klein. They were really the first "wave" of comics to move out of the storytelling mode, the "suit" mode, and into the "have you ever noticed", observational humor style, commenting on odd things we ALL see, hear, watch do... stuff to which audiences related so well. They really broke down the final walls between audience and performer. Of course, Pryor in his day was so much more than a "comedian". His stage performances were filled with pathos, pain, personal trauma, and GREAT ACTING; his humor that much more biting and sharp becase of it, and always hit you at gut level. If you want to see what perfect stand-up is about, the zenith of the art form, rent any in-concert Richard Pryor movie (I love "Live on the Sunset Strip"). Live stand-up just doesn't get any better. Now, some of the folks I came up through the ranks with- Sam Kinison (brilliant) and Bill Hicks (incredibly brilliant) in particular, (and even Dice Clay, love him or hate him), took controversy to the next level. If Lenny Bruce and Richard Pryor were considered "dirty", these guys made them look like Sunday school teachers. In fact, they worked so blue, there was literally nowhere to go from there... it was the end of the line for "shock" comedy, I believe, and a turning point in the genre- which is why, I think, my other colleauges (I dare not call them peers- they are household names; I remain an unknown),Jerry Seinfeld, Ray Romano, Larry Miller, Jon Stewart, Paul Reiser, Rita Rudner, Ellen DeGeneres,... acheived another level of success entirely. They related to audiences as the "everyman" (or "everywoman"). They were neither "suits" nor "freaks". They were us. And every single one of those people were, as all great musicians are, TECHNICALLY FLAWLESS. Here's a sample from Seinfeld's act, (going back to what I said in an earlier post), regarding economy of words - advice I'm ignoring myself right now! Listen to how LITTLE set-up there is in relation to punch lines- (and Jerry, if you're reading this, please forgive me if I haven't quoted you verbatim): "Ever wait on line at the post office?" (ONE SET-UP). "It's maddening! They keep going in the back!... you're screaming in your head- 'He's going in the back again!!!' And there's a sign "Collect stamps- fun for the whole family." ONLY while waiting on line at the post office, could collecting stamps sound like fun! And c'mon, NOTHING is 'fun for the whole family'- there ARE NO massage parlours with ice cream and free jewelry! What I want to know, is, why do they have pictures of criminals hanging on the walls? What do they want us to do- WRITE to these guys?? (JERRY PRETENDS TO WRITE) "I've had it up to here with your activities! Why, a man of your potential..." Why pictures of criminals? I look at the guy behind me on line- if it's not him... that's pretty much all I can do. And what I want to know is... WHY DIDN'T THEY HOLD ON TO THE GUY WHILE THEY WERE TAKING HIS PICTURE!! That's why there's a front and side view! The front is him standing there (POSES), the side is him leaving (POSES).
Ok, folks, now like it or not, look at how many f**king jokes there are in a MAYBE two minute bit. That's truly a gift, no doubt, but it's something as public speakers- whether you're a comic, magician, mentalist or CEO, to which we should all aspire.

Best,
G