(Close Window)
Topic: Finding my level of "funny"
Message: Posted by: Ed_Millis (Mar 27, 2008 02:39PM)
I'm not going to try being a "comedy" magician. (I have enough trouble just being a magician!!) Serious and mysterious doesn't work for me, but I'm not a stand-uip comic by any means either. My sense of humor tends towards the goofy - I think of Lucille Ball, Jerry Lewis, Don Knotts, Don Adams ("Get Smart"), and such. I could probably do a "Barney Fife as a Magician" show and pull it off!

I'm tired of trying to force jokes on people, coming up with "laugh lines" that don't work for me, and otherwise being at least boring. Part of the problem was that I was trying to shoe-horn myself into a venue I didn't fit (kid's parties). So now I'm trying to re-make myself as a small-stage showman.

I've read the recent bios of Steve Martin and Don Rickles. My question was "How did these guys find what fit them?" The biggest thing I took away was "time and performing." Martin's dumping of his whole act to try something brand new took some guts! Then again, he had about 15 years behind him on which to build a new act.

Where do I begin exploring what kind of "funny" I am ? And whether a routine will work for me and who I am? I do understand there is no substitute for thowing it out there and seeing what sticks to the wall and what doesn't. Are there any suggestions, though, for getting closer to the target on the first try?


PS - I know one suggestion is to use the local college drama class. I would, except they seem to be stuck in very "family unfriendly" borderline-offensive material, and I don't want any part of that.
Message: Posted by: jay leslie (Mar 27, 2008 08:01PM)
Generally the "YOU" in anything is reinforced when you get a reaction and were happy with the sequence of events that caused it OR sometimes you are just comfortable with an outcome so you repeat the process.(as in bad relationships)

The best way to find yourself is to look at what others have done and see what style is inspirational. It wouldn't hurt to have a friend or two that you can share with. Join a SAM or IBM in your area. . It may be better for you to pick specific aspects and work on them which, in turn, will help build on a theme. Go to Youtube and you can get an education.

Sometimes the performer is driven by the tricks/routines. This may be the direction to try. Buy every trick you think you might like and try it out. Some of them will stick but you'll never know until you try. Woody Pittman sells a DVD on character development, check it out.The price is right. http://www.woodypittman.com/
Message: Posted by: ERIC (Mar 27, 2008 10:27PM)
On 2008-03-27 15:39, Ed_Millis wrote:
My sense of humor tends towards the goofy - I think of Lucille Ball, Jerry Lewis, Don Knotts, Don Adams ("Get Smart"), and such. I could probably do a "Barney Fife as a Magician" show and pull it off!

It seems to me that you are in great company. There is nothing wrong with that type of comedy. There are times that each of those mentioned had me in stitches. Situation/Slapstick comedy if done properly kills. The question is are you comfortable doing it?

I have a younger magician friend who likes to try "Serious" magic, and he can pull it off, BUT he gets his best reactions when he plays the goof. He's having fun, and it is infectious and the audience falls under this spell and has a great time.

Think of what makes you YOU! Then go from there.

Just my thinking, I hope it helps.
Message: Posted by: Heres Tony (Mar 27, 2008 10:28PM)
Hey Ed,

I'm willing to bet you will be more funny the next time you perform because you are no longer trying to force jokes on the audience. The truly "funny" you is going to be a natural version of yourself. A version that is relaxed and having fun. You are doing a great thing by reading Martin and Rickles' books especially since they are non-magicians. I loved both of those books. Great insight.

Is there a place where you can work in front of an audience such as a comedy club open-mic night?

Message: Posted by: Ed_Millis (Mar 28, 2008 09:40AM)
Thanks to all for the comments.

I have no SAM, IBM, or other magician's groups in my area - hardly any other magicinas that I know of! The closest club is 3 hours away.

I am sure, though, that I can find a place to put something out there - and if I'm serious, then I will. (There's a certain comfort and safety factor in always planning but never doing - one of my pitfalls! That's what makes change so hard, and staying with you know but doesn't work well so appealing.)

As far as going with what appeals to me - do you think it follows that the humor I enjoy will be humor I can perform?

Jay Leslie - I saw a book on Woody Pittman's web site, but not a DVD?

Message: Posted by: jay leslie (Mar 28, 2008 10:31AM)
Sorry. It must be the book. Woody is very good at developing characterization, get it.

Disclaimer: I have not been paid to make these statements but like his work.
Message: Posted by: jocdoc (Mar 28, 2008 03:21PM)
Ultimately, the best humor comes from the the individual i.e. it's unique to themselves rather than from just telling jokes. Improv comedy techniques can help you to find "the truth" in life. Check out this thread: http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewtopic.php?topic=250006&forum=24&9

Hope this helps.
Message: Posted by: NJJ (Mar 29, 2008 12:43AM)
I'd suggest you might be over analysing it a little bit too much. The best thing I ever did was to just go out there and try to be funny in a variety of different waya and see what happens!
Message: Posted by: wizardofsorts (Mar 30, 2008 11:31AM)
Go and study improv. You can find classes almost anywhere; YMCA, Community College, Community Theatre, small professional theatre, etc.

Here you will learn what is you and what is funny about you.

Message: Posted by: Ed_Millis (Mar 31, 2008 09:42AM)
On 2008-03-29 01:43, Nicholas J. Johnson wrote:
I'd suggest you might be over analysing it a little bit too much. The best thing I ever did was to just go out there and try to be funny in a variety of different waya and see what happens!

Ah, yes - my old nemesis - "Paralysis by Analysis". In which *thinking* about something is given equal weight to *doing* something, and the person feels like progress is being made while never having to actually take the risk of putting his routine out in public.

Thank you for the needed prod, Nicholas!

Message: Posted by: harris (Mar 31, 2008 10:14AM)
Improvisation, and Theatre have helped this nearly normal one.

Also writing both for just my show and a syndicated comedy radio program.

The Artist Way (Julia Cameron) can lead the way with journaling and artistic outing exerrcises.

Things I find funny don't necessarily (sic?) work for me on stage.

Whether you play an "Everyman" character, a fool, or ____, this will take work, direction, writing and rewriting as well as stage time....and just plain time.

Enjoy the journey.

Faith without works is dead...but faith does play a big part...at least for this one.

When something "happens at home", my wife will give me the look or say...thats going in...or that one must stay between the two of us.

Newest line/bit: Min Wax (a very magical potion that does wonders for scrapes and marks on doors and other woodwork) looks a lot better on the wood than on the new carpet. I think I will use a sealed can during a juggling bit. Should have put the lid on the can as I was walking room to room...

ps. my wife did think it was funny and laughed when she saw the carpet stain...

newest magic word...Resolve and Oxy Clean.
Message: Posted by: Brent McLeod (Apr 20, 2008 12:18AM)
Good topic!!

Not being a natural comedian, I have found experience of doing hundreds of shows
at least gives you a base as to try effects that get a laugh or write down a review of each show
& what lines & effects worked well etc

Over time your magic will be creating funny situations & a few well timed gags work well,
your act improves & hopefully your on your way to a funny act created through observation & experience of your own audiences not other performers etc...
Message: Posted by: btedeski (Apr 21, 2008 09:04AM)
Check the local collage or community collage or even the local comedy club. see if you can find a class on stand up comedy. If you can't find a class, there are a couple of good books on stand up that will help you to write an act.

Put together a act and do the local open mic nights.

Trust me after a few months of Stand up you will find your level of comedy. The audience at comedy clubs can be tough and this will force you to work at it, and you will get the feed back you need. (Yes I did this)