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Topic: Comedy Magic Textbook by Roper
Message: Posted by: Pavlo (Dec 23, 2002 06:35PM)
Hello. I'm constantly looking to add some more comedy into my act. I don't mean copying, but getting the inspiration to model it to fit into my working style. Is this publication worth getting? I'm not looking for one-liners, but tricks or routines with built-in comedy.

Thanks a lot, Pawel
Message: Posted by: Dynamike (Dec 23, 2002 09:56PM)
Harry Allen's book, "Sleight of Mouth." daytonamagic.com
Message: Posted by: Pavlo (Dec 24, 2002 09:15AM)
Ok Dynamike, I already own Sleight of Mouth book and now I'm looking for the tricks with built-in comedy. Thanks
Message: Posted by: Dynamike (Dec 25, 2002 05:20AM)
What age group are you planning to perform for? :question:
Message: Posted by: Magicduck (Dec 25, 2002 01:13PM)
I like the Roper book. I got it at a used bookstore and find it has some good ideas. I do not know that I have made anything exactly as he suggests, but his thoughts are sound and using the concepts would lead to comedy. It is not one liners...it is routines and funny props.
Message: Posted by: Pavlo (Dec 26, 2002 05:03AM)
I'm an adult restaurant and bar performer. I own several sources on one-liners, but I need some suggestions to stir up my imagination a bit.

I found the Roper book advertised somewhere and wanted to know your opinion. I appreciate it.

What are other sources of comedy routines or funny props?

Message: Posted by: Magicduck (Dec 26, 2002 04:03PM)
Magic on Stage by Wally Reid has some funny stuff, parlor stage size, most of it is amusing and excellent.

There are other sources but that is one of the first that comes to mind. Should be able to get it from some of the online dealers. Harry Anderson's Wise-Guy has funny material you can make too.
Message: Posted by: Dennis Michael (Dec 26, 2002 08:41PM)
Based on what you asked, the book is good and offers some routines, but I don't think it meets your comedy needs routine. If you search hard, you might find this book at a very good price. Give David Ginn a call or email; he has had really good deals and sales with this book. It may be your lucky day!

Now, "The Funniest Magic Show in the World" by Al Lampkin might meet your needs. I took the time to study his methods and they are good. I saw BJ Hickman's tape on the Yes Game and that effect sounded good in the book, looked good on BJs Tape. I really like it and Dick Williams said he would never do it again on TV. (I don't know why but he mentioned it in his "Light! Cameras! Magic!" book.)

Now for a package deal, "The Vanishing Bandana (Banana)" effect is a powerhouse and I get so many comments on this. It is self-working and plays well every time. It is a come out of the box self-working trick where the only requirement is "hamming it up" with facial expressions and hand motions.

David Ginn's stuff has lots of built-in comedy for kids shows. The problem with books is that they may not sound funny, read funny, or even give a hint of how good they are. They have got to be tried out to see if they work.

I asked the same question to Denny Haney and he gave me Lampkin's book, along with two others: "The Amazing Dr. Clutterhouse," and The Comedy Act of and by Tom Palmer.

These books might be the ones you're looking for. The acts were solid and can easily be adapted to your own style. I built The Legs table in Tom Palmer's book, but changed it to a giant Furry Rabbit table.

One fact remains true related to comedy. Because we all have different personalities, comedy is viewed based on that personality and upbringing, which is different in each of us. Some think Jerry Lewis is funny while others can't stand him. This is true with all comedy. It is extremely hard to recommend something funny to another.

For example, mouth coils, and cards from the mouth to me are funny, and to Peter they are disgusting and should never be done. I think, we are both right in our beliefs, even though they are diametrically opposite. This is the way of comedy.

Now bar stuff, consider Tom Mullica Videos, they are done in front of a bar crowd, and so are Simon Lovell's videos and routines.

Of all the questions asked on the Caf, this is the toughest to answer because of the basic principles related to comedy. Usually what is funny causes someone else to have misgivings, or offends someone else.

Hope this is of some help. Finally, Roper's first section of his book I really liked and found informative, but I feel the routines he does in his book are not me, but that's me and I'm different then the next person, who sees it from a different pair of eyes, ideas, and conclusions on what is funny.
Message: Posted by: 0pus (Dec 27, 2002 11:33AM)

You say that you are an adult restaurant and bar performer; as such, most of the recommendations are probably not going to be the most germane to your performance venue. I liked the Roper book (even though Eugene Burger finds fault with Roper's approach to magic), but the routines are mostly stage/parlor routines. I think there is one close-up routine with a gimmicked close up mat. Many of the other books mentioned are great, but also are written less for a close-up venue and more for stage/parlor performing situations. I would suggest you look at material put out by Simon Lovell, Doc Eason, Tom Mullica and Scotty York, all of whom work the bar market.
Message: Posted by: Pavlo (Dec 28, 2002 10:12AM)
Dear Den and Opus,
Thanks for the recommendations.
I have Lovell's and Eason's stuff. I actually never experienced Mullica or York's ideas but I think I'll give them a try.
Thanks a lot once more.
Message: Posted by: amazingboz (Jan 6, 2003 05:06AM)
We can only come to the water and drink but
each taste is different. I have found that first define the audience and what type of comedy do they relate to, young, teens, conservative groups, etc... Then you can work on relative patter. It sounds like you are trying a shot gun approach, when single action may be best. I know this may sound simplified, yet remember that we must keep it simple to create fantastic performances.

Phil aka AmazingBoz :bunny2:
Message: Posted by: harris (Jan 6, 2003 02:54PM)
You might also check out the Handbook of Physical Comedy.

Anyone else read and used it???

Message: Posted by: sdgiu (Mar 2, 2003 10:45PM)
Harris, This sounds great, but who wrote it and where is it available?
Steve :baby:
Message: Posted by: Timothy (Mar 3, 2003 08:50PM)
It might be this one:

[url=http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0325001146/o/qid%3D955573308/sr%3D8-1/002-6554749-4832860]Amazon Link[/url]

Google search found amazon quickly. Looked good to me. I bought one.
Message: Posted by: ScottSullivan (Jun 15, 2003 03:18PM)
I found the Roper book to contain several adaptable and usable ideas. None of the full routines suit me (or, I imagine, anyone but Mr. Roper) but his thinking is good and exposure to what he offers could potentially help a comic magician.
Where did Burger find fault with Roper? What fault did he find?
Message: Posted by: 0pus (Jun 15, 2003 07:26PM)
As you know, Burger generally takes magic very seriously. I believe the fault he found with Roper was in Roper's suggestion that if something goes wrong with a trick, the magician should turn it into comedy. The idea that something go wrong seemed to horrify Burger, who, at least in that particular article, appeared to feel that if something CAN go wrong, the magi shouldn't be performing. I personally felt that Burger was being overly sober about the whole thing.

I would suggest that magic itself creates comedic events, because the effects are dissonant with "real" life. That kind of dissonance is often the foundation of comedy.

I would also suggest that bar magic/comedy may be a little harsher than restaurant magic. Scotty York's routines have built in comedy and are suited to the rough and tumble world of bar magic.

Message: Posted by: jlibby (Jun 20, 2003 08:21PM)
If you can find a coy of Al the Only's book on working restaurants, he includes several scripts, packed with jokes and bits of business, for standard magic tricks such as the cig through quarter and Invisible Deck.

See ya!
Joe L.
Message: Posted by: ScottSullivan (Jun 21, 2003 08:48PM)
If Burger is afraid that a novice will take Roper to mean that you should just say,
"Screw it, I don't need to rehearse because if I make a mistake I'll just make a joke." then he has a point. BUT, if you perform well rehearsed material and something DOES go wrong, (and anyone who actually performs a lot in the real world will have things happen) then you SHOULD make a joke.

In stand-up comedy it's called "Calling the Situation". If you're bombing, sometimes
"Calling the Situation", admitting (in a funny way) that things are going badly, can save you and put the crowd on your side.

"Calling the Situation" does many things but probably the most important is that it relieves tension by letting the crowd know that you're okay with things. I think that's even more important when something goes horribly wrong in a magic act. The crowd will feel really bad for you and if you can't let them off the hook you'll never recover.
Message: Posted by: Bilwonder (Jun 30, 2003 03:01AM)
Abbott's magic company put out a book called "Comedy Tonight" that compliles several older sources of stunts and routines that I find inspiring to browse through.
Message: Posted by: Jim Snack (Jul 1, 2003 07:47AM)
I find one of the best sources for funny lines that no one has mentioned is from my audience.

Often I will be in the middle of a routine and someone in the audience will say something funny. I try to remember what they said and next time I do the routine, try to insert the line.

For example, sometimes I make reference to the 1960's. Once I asked the audience, "You remember the 60"s, don't you?"

A guy in the audience jumped in with, "If you can remember the 1960's, you weren't there!"

Now I include the line and it always gets a laugh.

You can read a lot of books about comedy, but your best routines will be the ones you develop working collaborately with your audiences.
Message: Posted by: lt (Apr 3, 2009 01:24PM)
I'm considering Roper's book; thanks for the advice.
Message: Posted by: Sealegs (Apr 8, 2009 07:17AM)
Sounds like Ian Keable's book 'Stand-up - A Professional Guide To Comedy Magic' would be a much better bet for what you're after and much more likely to head you towards where it sounds like you're wanting to go.

Message: Posted by: mumford (Apr 8, 2009 09:21AM)
Try the new Paul Romhany book.
Message: Posted by: Gary Shelton (Apr 8, 2009 05:05PM)
On 2003-07-01 08:47, Jim Snack wrote:

Often I will be in the middle of a routine and someone in the audience will say something funny. I try to remember what they said and next time I do the routine, try to insert the line.


Old comedy club rule RECORD every show you do. You never forget thos lines that way.
Message: Posted by: Lawrence O (Apr 23, 2009 09:03AM)
Daryl's fooler doolers is packed with spiritual or comical lines that are really adapted to magical effects

He has, to my taste, the best lines I've ever heard.