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Topic: Comedy magician best opener
Message: Posted by: senoj derfla (Sep 3, 2005 07:17AM)
What's the best opener for a comedy magician at a corporate function, mixed ages and "gender". The gig is for half an hour.
Message: Posted by: Lucasw (Sep 3, 2005 08:19PM)
Vanishing Ketchup Bottle I use this to open smaller shows and it always get laughs. If not that "Whats Next" with the dots. I like these both.

Message: Posted by: tikiman (Sep 3, 2005 08:25PM)
How big's the crowd?
Walk around? Stage?
plenty of stuff to work with for either...

The one to open with is the one your most comfy with.

For me it depends on the night, some times I do some mentalism, some times a coin trick, yadda yadda yadda

Whenever it was a trick that I didn't have totally down I hacked it mentally and it took longer to win the crowd.

Also keep it your own, I see A LOT of magicians ripping off comics out there...
Don't do it, make your act you own not Larry the Cable Guys
Message: Posted by: mike gallo (Sep 3, 2005 10:41PM)
Senoj, Don't you think you should maybe have an opening already before you take a gig?

Message: Posted by: jonthewierdo (Sep 4, 2005 01:26PM)
Apparently an audinece can smell fear - especially if you have **** yourself before you walk on stage!
Message: Posted by: magicarisimon (Sep 5, 2005 03:47AM)
You should use something that is flashy, quick, and says "I'm a magician". It should shock your audience and should be something quick. Maybe you could use a appearing table and cane or something of that sort. Good luck!
Message: Posted by: BenSchwartz (Sep 5, 2005 02:48PM)
You should actually do the opposite. You should come out and not do any magic, but you should do comedy. Improv a little with the audience. Remember that a comedy magician is not a magician, hes a comedian doing some magic tricks. That is what going to set you apart from doing a stupid appearing cane where from a mile away they will look at you and go, "hey, this magician, is like 35 years old, and he needs a cane already? in fact it doesn't even look like a cane, it looks like a really nice long shiny stick" and theyll also be able to hear that thing shoot open unless you crank the music up, which is never a good idea for a comedy magician to do by opening up your act with music.
Message: Posted by: islandguy (Sep 5, 2005 06:06PM)
As long as the venue allows, I usually use a fire opener - fire wallet, fire book, fire box - as an attention getter. Include a line like " well, not the same old magic show, is it?" Or "some people will go anything for a little attention, and now that I have yours----" Keith
Message: Posted by: felix501 (Sep 7, 2005 04:10AM)
Ben, why don't you think comedy magicians should come on to music? Stand ups do after all....

Message: Posted by: nathanallen (Sep 24, 2005 02:50PM)
He meant no music for the first few minutes of being onstage. A silent act. Not the intro/coming onstage snippet of tunes. But that's okay. We all make mistakes. I'll forgive you. Stop worrying about it. Chin up. No problem bud. Stop beating yourself up over it. You feeling okay? You look down. You'll be alright in a few days.
Message: Posted by: Al Angello (Sep 24, 2005 06:15PM)
People often ask me "if you are work every weekend why do conctantly practice", and my answer is always the same "when Jay Leno calls it is too late to prepare", so the answer to your question is do something you are framiliar and comfortable with, this is no time to experiment.
Have fun

PS Jay Leno is an American late night TV talk show host, and he hasn't called me yet.
Message: Posted by: The Donster (Sep 25, 2005 07:10AM)
Try this for a opener. hey came home last night and the wife says...........i wanna go out take me to somplace expensive........... so I took her to the GAS STATION.
Message: Posted by: twistedace (Sep 25, 2005 07:40PM)
HA that's funny don! I am torn on what type of advice to give here. I don't think I can add anything that hasn't been said yet. What type of corporate function? How well rehearsed are you? What types of comedy routines go well for you already? If it's mixed ages and genders, I would open as I usually open my kids show, which will keep the kids laughing and the parents THERE. I always open festival/family shows by explaining in a fun way that there will be magic for all ages and walks of life. You don't need to grab their attention right away with a magic trick in all circumstances. I happen to think that a GREAT opener is Bowling Ball or Basketball from Briefcase for a corporate event if you're on stage. Then you can look the part while explaining about the magic for all ages while holding the brief case and you give them something unexpected.

However, what type of shows do you normally do? Is this walkaround or stage?
Message: Posted by: bunglebear (Sep 26, 2005 09:46AM)
I always find (although I've never performed on stage) that starting off by messing up goes down well. The audience then reacts better when you show that you can perform. It will make them expect less!
Message: Posted by: Deke Rivers (Sep 26, 2005 10:04AM)
There's a lesson in showmanship ... lower their expectations, so you look better by comparision. I sincerely hope that was a joke, because it's perhaps the worst advice I've ever heard since "Let's just stay here. Katrina will pass right by us.".

I agree with Ben. I was once told by someone far wiser than me that you want to get the audience to like you before doing any magic. So perhaps the best opener is a quick joke or something that let's them get to know you.
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Sep 27, 2005 12:33AM)
If the thread goes long enough he will have every opinion.

This is fun every opinion is contradicted later.

Here are some things to consider. Mac King, cut and restored rope. Michael Finney, 6 card repete, Jay Marshall, vanishing cane.

EVERY one of them opens with the audience being talked too, not ignored. Each a fine comedian, especially Finney, but does magic because they are magicians.

Someone else can put together a list to back up their opinion I am sure, but at least MINE was first!!

Generally an opening that lets them see who you are and they like you is what you are after. You have a maximum of about 30 seconds to grab them by the lapels and entertain them so don't waste it.
Message: Posted by: magicelam (Sep 28, 2005 07:01AM)
Some great and interesting replies here...

I think a good opening is Andrew Mayne's bowling ball from paper bag. It's a much less expensive version of bowling ball from briefcase. It's available on his video Shock FX.

Once the bowling ball lands on the stage (breaking the silence, because you haven't said a word...) you can go to pick it up, and "accidentally" kick it behind your table a la Amazing Johnathan. Reach behind the table to retrieve the ball and pick up a black balloon instead... Walk to the edge of the stage... smile... and throw the balloon into the audience...

that should grab a laugh or two ;) And maybe even make Ethel in the third row fill her Depends.

Hope this helps
Message: Posted by: Mr. Muggle (Sep 30, 2005 02:40AM)
The 'effect' alone isn't enough for the opener, I'd suggest getting some books on stand up comedy and working with the workbooks that you can buy. The appearing bowling ball for one person could be funny, but a person with a different personality will only wake up the audience when the ball hits the floor when performing the same effect. At most it would prove to be 'interesting'.

If your going to work comedy magic, learn BOTH comedy and magic. If your comedy is strong ANY effect will kill the audience. Doing gags and magic together isn't really comedy magic; its a hack job at both professions.

If your interested in working on your comedy look into anything written by Judy Carter. John Vorhaus also has a book called "The comic toolbox" which is pretty good.
Message: Posted by: Derek Rutt Creations (Oct 1, 2005 11:28PM)
For any one who does comedy on platform or stage.....THE EXPLODING MIC AND STAND. You go to talk and find it does not work then...................
Message: Posted by: abc (Oct 5, 2005 11:57AM)
Well, What kind of comedy are you doing would be the first question. Open with your genre. I don't always us ehte same opener because it depends on what the venue is like. Who else will be performing the night. I once walked on stage after a guy played some wierd looking Aussie instrument that you have to blow and he was accomapnied by a dude on (if I recall correctly) a guitar. I walked on and said "Wow blowjob in A major with some great ***s I mean Chords on the guitar. I just can't beat that. Walked of for 1 minute while getting my beer and came back and started my set. You open with a combination of experience and preparation and the only way to get that is too perform in comedy clubs or open mic nights and see what works and what doesn't.
After that pay attention to what the guys said. Gags and magic is NOT comedy. Watch some of The Amazing Jonathan's material to see what I mean. The guy is very funny and very good.
Message: Posted by: Brent McLeod (Oct 5, 2005 07:39PM)
I agree that Michael Finney does a fabulous opening!

Gets a round of applause by asking a simple question

He also uses his cane to table -tells a joke!

Puts the hat on the table-tells a joke!

Mentions about his Rabbit-tells a joke!

From memory starts 6 Card Repeat-very funny routine

What a Pro!-Corporate entertainer at his best!!

This works for Michael well

I find Magic to music then an intro with some good gags works well for my act in corporate situation but comedy is the key!!
Message: Posted by: kOnO (Oct 7, 2005 11:52PM)
The best opener for a comedy magician is to "Vanish an ELEPHANT" then build-up from there!!!!!