(Close Window)
Topic: Come-Back Lines To The Ordinary Questions... and the unthinkable
Message: Posted by: Evan (Apr 3, 2003 12:23AM)
I was wondering what all you guys and gals use for your comeback lines for street magic, or close-up magic in general. Phrases such as "how did you do that" and "I know how that works" etc are the ones that come at me the most.

Please put the question/comment that the spectator says, then the comeback line below it when you make your post.

Thanks guys! This should be a very helpful thread for all of us!

Message: Posted by: Pokie-Poke (Apr 3, 2003 03:19PM)
Good topic.

"How did you do that?":
"Very well thank you"
"I don't know"
Point to some one who is not sure what is happening and say "Ask him(her), they taught me every thing I know!"
"Many years and no social life, and you too can do this!" this is my answer to most questions. "How long did it take to learn that?"... "How long have you been doing that?" etc.

"I know how that is done!"
"SO do I!"
"Cool, tag team magic, your turn, c'mon do a trick....c'mon you said you know how to do it!" Only use this if you intend to shut them down with it.
Message: Posted by: Pekka (Apr 3, 2003 03:19PM)
I do mostly cards. For the first question I often reply "I was lucky" and for the second I often hand them the deck and say "well go for it".
Message: Posted by: Tor Egil (Apr 3, 2003 06:30PM)
How did you do that?
If you never had a girl friend in college then you also could do this.
Message: Posted by: TheNightBringer89 (Apr 4, 2003 05:53AM)
Tor Egil, :lol: :bg: :heehee: :giggles: :cheers: :sun: :rotf:
Message: Posted by: Heavens to Mercitroids (Apr 4, 2003 07:24AM)
Q: "How did you do that???"

A: "I didn't"

Message: Posted by: joseph (Apr 4, 2003 09:07PM)
"How you do dat?"
"Can you keep a secret? So can I!" :mad:
Message: Posted by: indianajones (Apr 5, 2003 02:14PM)
question "how did you do it"
reply "MAGIC"
Message: Posted by: shinobi (Apr 5, 2003 11:26PM)
My pet hate: "Do that again!" when you can't reset instantly. Still looking for a good answer.
Message: Posted by: dgiancaspro (Apr 6, 2003 05:36AM)

I told a guy recently I couldn't repeat because I sprained my pinky pulling those cards out of the middle of the deck so fast.

Message: Posted by: DoctorAmazo (Apr 7, 2003 01:12PM)
On 2003-04-05 18:26, shinobi wrote:
my pet hate... "do that again!" when u can't reset instantly.. still looking for a good answer

The first time it's magic, the second time it's a lesson; and I don't give lessons!
Message: Posted by: tboehnlein (Apr 7, 2003 03:41PM)
The first time it's magic, the second time it's a lesson & lessons are not free & very expensive
Message: Posted by: Indyfan (Apr 8, 2003 06:20PM)
"How'd you do that"?

Do the Hot Shot Cut (or Snowshoe Cut?) where you cut the deck & shoot a card out & into the other hand, then replace it on the deck. Then say "I did that, only really fast!"

I like dgiancaspro's idea of 'spraining my pinky'.....good one!!
Message: Posted by: shinobi (Apr 8, 2003 08:26PM)
Hehehe, I read another post where the guy said, "I'd love to, but I REALLY need the toilet" which could be an escape, or a chance to reset.
Message: Posted by: kull_spider (Apr 9, 2003 07:10AM)
"How did you do that?"
"Do what?"
"Do THAT!"
"Do what!?"
Message: Posted by: hkwiles (Apr 9, 2003 02:49PM)
Dr Amazo.

I like your come back...simply because its true!!!

Message: Posted by: Jason Wethington (Apr 9, 2003 04:26PM)
Ok here are some stock lines that I use.
To "Do that Again" I say "First time it's entertainment second time it's an education".
Or "It's a scientific concept known as 'Acrossmosis' which is the movement of a solid object through a semi-permeable membrane" (actually that's 'diffusion' but there isn't ANYTHING funny about 'diffusion' so I call it "Acrossmosis'!)
To "Hey can you show me how you did that?" I say "Well I can't because of the three rules of Magic,
The First rule is Never reveal the Secret,
The Second Rule is Never do the same trick twice,
The Third rule is Never get involved in a land war in Asia. I'm not sure what the third one has to do with anything but I think it's good advice!" (The third one is a movie reference by the way, who knows what movie?)

Or a good answer for any situation is
"Who am I?! Who are you?! What am I doing here?! Then start swatting imaginary bugs. They won't ask you anymore questions. :)
Message: Posted by: Stef (Apr 9, 2003 06:04PM)
Q:"How'd you do that?" (If a card trick)

A: "With cards." I very often get laughs out of that one!

Message: Posted by: Evan (Apr 10, 2003 11:53AM)
On 2003-04-04 16:07, joseph wrote:
"How u do dat?"
"Can u keep a secret? So can I!" :mad:

I have tried many of them on people the last few days... and this one takes the cake for me! The best part is when you say "can u keep a secret", peoples faces LIGHT UP and get very interested in you. Then when you say "so can I" everybody gets mad for a second then bursts out laughing.

Thanks joseph!!!!

Evan :rotf:
Message: Posted by: Leland (Apr 11, 2003 02:15AM)
How did you do that?

Magnificently, of course! ;)
Message: Posted by: jlareau (Apr 11, 2003 05:54PM)
"How'd you do that"
[EVIL VOICE] "I'm satan." :devilish:

(From the opposite sex) "Can you teach me that?"
-"I would, but that would involve you, me, champagne, and a guilty conscience in the morning. Too bad I don't have a conscience."
Message: Posted by: StreetMagicMagician (Apr 12, 2003 03:44PM)
I don't know if someone already put this but a come back that gets me a laugh or two is when people say "How do you do that", I say to them in a whisper "Can you keep a secret?". When they say "Yes", I tell them "So can I!" :P
Message: Posted by: Frank Tougas (Apr 12, 2003 05:28PM)
Q. How did you do that?

A. Years ago I was told by my father not to question such things. He said, "Son, you are only a tool...at least I think he said tool."
Message: Posted by: tattoo (Apr 13, 2003 05:13AM)
I have had great reactions with the eternal energy and channeling my psychic energy. I had a guy really interested to know how I learned the control of my energy because he really wanted to levitate and make stuff float.
Message: Posted by: rkzad (Apr 16, 2003 01:27AM)
Pokie, Jason, those are GREAT!
jlareau, I like your Satan, haha.
And the "with cards" one too.

Inspiring stuff!

Unfortunately, I have nothing that compares or that hasn't been mentioned, but I'll work on it.
Message: Posted by: amadrigal (Apr 16, 2003 04:44AM)
I know how you did that!....
"Great we'll break out in discussion groups in 5 minutes!?"
as used by me and Tomas in Chitown area :kidding:
Message: Posted by: Angus (Apr 16, 2003 04:45AM)
How'd you do that is usually replied to with "Flawlessly if I was lucky".
Message: Posted by: Mark Rough (Apr 22, 2003 05:58PM)
On 2003-04-09 12:26, Jason Wethington wrote:

To "Hey can you show me how you did that?" I say "Well I can't because of the three rules of Magic,
The First rule is Never reveal the Secret,
The Second Rule is Never do the same trick twice,
The Third rule is Never get involved in a land war in Asia. I'm not sure what the third one has to do with anything but I think it's good advice!" (The third one is a movie reference by the way, who knows what movie?)


Princess Bride, one of my favorites.
Message: Posted by: Jason Wethington (Apr 22, 2003 09:44PM)
Well done! One of mine too.
Message: Posted by: SpiffnikHopkins (Apr 23, 2003 03:34AM)
"How did you do that?"

"Very carefully."

I use the "very carefully" response to a lot of things. How do you juggle knives? get out of a strait jacket? Pick locks? get that in my hand without me even knowing? find my card? etc.

Its become habit to say it and now I just use it so fast that it takes everyone a min to realize it was a joke. Makes it come across perfectly. Not only are they no longer thinking about what they were first asking, they're laughing and paying attention to what I'm now doing (they have to mentally catch up cause they were thinking about something else for a sec).

Message: Posted by: indianajones (Apr 23, 2003 09:51AM)
What I've seen other magicians do is they perform the trick again seemingly with the same moves, apparently doing the same trick only to reveal in the end, others, surprises which entertained the spectators, avoided answering the question, and the spectator usually forgets that they have a question in the end...

For example, instead of disappearing the coin, there are now five coins when he did the trick again...
Message: Posted by: DwightPA (Apr 23, 2003 11:39PM)
"How did you do that?"

I often reply, "If I told you, then you'd be the magician, and I wouldn't."

Message: Posted by: NJJ (Apr 24, 2003 04:08AM)
How did you do that?

If you can do it again or if the trick has a second phase say..

" A good magician never does the same trick twice...OH WAIT! I'm not a good magician...." :lol:
Message: Posted by: Scott Xavier (Apr 24, 2003 06:56AM)
How'd you do that, come on tell me!

.: With style & finese :.
.: Really Quickly :.
.: Psychic Mind Control :.
Message: Posted by: magicsoup (Apr 24, 2003 07:01AM)
Often I will say "never mind!" in a very abrupt tone of voice. Parents will usually laugh and sometimes say they wish they could get away with talking to their kids like that. Sometimes kids will call me the mean clown (even thought I don't wear any makeup).

To a mature (pretty good word eh?) lady If I told you you could steal my job! Who would they rather have performing at tables, someone who looks like me or you? My secrets are for my job security!

Sometimes I tell them they watch Fox too much and I'm not the masked guy!
Message: Posted by: Michaels (Apr 27, 2003 10:55PM)
How did you do that?
Response- "With Mirrors- Well isn't all magic done with mirrors?"
For some unknown they will always respond -
No, really? or Did you really?
With either of those responses I reply- Really, I'll even show you! Then I proceed to do It's Done with Mirrors card routine. They never ask again after that.
Message: Posted by: Turk (Apr 28, 2003 05:27AM)
To the question: "How did you do that?", answer: "I'd be happy to tell you, but then I'd have to kill you." You can also preface your answer by saying "It's a secret. I work for the CIA. I'd be happy to tell you, but then I'd have to kill you".

To the question: "Will you show/tell me how you did that?", reply: "Yes, but then I'll have to kill you. You can also preface this reply with the above CIA lines.

Message: Posted by: oldwilson_2000 (Apr 28, 2003 12:26PM)
Greg Wilson has a nice way of handling this. When asked "How did you do that?" he replies something like, "You wonder how I did that? Oh, I take that as a compliment. Thank you!"
This turns the meaning from "I want to know how he did that" into "Wow, I have no idea how he did that" (which is, in fact what most people actually think when they ask this question), changing a question into a statement that you don't have to reply to.

I use this line quite often. If they insist, I act surprised and say "You really want to know how I did that??? But that's no fun anymore!" If they still insist, I say "No honestly, I am not allowed to tell you how it's done. If I do they'll kick me out of the Magic Circle and I can't do shows anymore. We both don't want that to happen, do we?" If they say "O yes, I do" - well ...
Message: Posted by: ScottSullivan (Apr 30, 2003 12:22AM)
"How did you do that?"
I say, "It's a trick."
"Do that again."
I say, "No!"
Both lines are said with a straight face and an aggressive delivery...then I smile a big smile which breaks the tension and generates a laugh and I go on to something else.
Message: Posted by: Bobm (Apr 30, 2003 06:07PM)
"How did you do that"
"I don't know - ask my wife she know's everything" ;)
Message: Posted by: nelly (May 1, 2003 10:47AM)
How did you do that?

Look totally perplexed, and say "I have absolutely no idea!

"Do it again"

I can't, I don't know how I did it in the first place,


(pass them the cards/coins etc, etc...)

I'll tell you what, you do it on me and I'll see if I can work it out from this side.


I'd LOVE to tell you how to do it but, I just don't want to
Message: Posted by: blindbo (May 3, 2003 06:23PM)
Mostly I just smile and let everyone ask their myriad of questions. Surely, they are just reflexive questions, but there are times when you need to get on with it, so...

"How did you do that?"
- Much better than last time, thank you!
- Same as the last trick, but this time I used a different method.
- I ask myself that same thing everytime!
----my favorite has already been posted..."can you keep a secret...so can I"

"Do that again!"
- You mean you weren't fooled enough the first time?
- OK, pick a card (and then I perform a different trick).
----my favorite to this one is posted by Nelly----
Message: Posted by: wizbob (May 4, 2003 04:43AM)
"How did you do that?"
"I read the instructions" :goof:
Message: Posted by: dgiancaspro (May 4, 2003 09:24PM)
"Do that again!"

"Again? I'm lucky it worked the first time!"
Message: Posted by: Jordan Piper (May 7, 2003 02:15AM)
To quote Dunninger "For those who believe, no explanation is necessary. For those who do not, none will ever suffice.
Message: Posted by: wassabi_87 (May 18, 2003 09:06PM)
How did you do that? If they are of the opposite sex, say, will you marry me? After all I don't tell secrets to just anyone. It works for telemarketers to.
Message: Posted by: WVMAGIC (May 27, 2003 04:35AM)
"I tell people that it is a result of not getting a date in high school.....just kidding though...I had one."
Message: Posted by: Cabrera (May 28, 2003 04:20AM)
I usually say in a kidding way when they ask
How did you do that..... my reply.... Ask Victoria..... it's Victoria's Secret!

Goodtime Charlie
Message: Posted by: DoctorAmazo (Jun 4, 2003 12:20PM)
Do that again:

At my age, I'm lucky I can do it once! (double entendre...mature audiences only)

After two beers, I'm lucky I can do it once!

Why? What did I do wrong the first time?

It's always better the second time...and I'm not that good.
Message: Posted by: sdgiu (Jun 6, 2003 09:03PM)
How'd you do that?

I don't know, it's never done that before


I don't know, it's never worked before

If you get lucky, and have one person using the;

"I know how you did that" line
and another using the
"How'd you do that" line

just say: ask him he seems to know all my tricks
ask him, he'll explain it to you.

I remember someone in the Café using this one(which I love).

"You've already seen that one, I've got one I think you'll like even better." And then continue your routine.

It is a great comeback, it's non offensive, and completely defuses the situation.
I believe FCPREACHER was the first person I heard use it.

Steve :baby:
Message: Posted by: markkwan (Jun 13, 2003 03:59PM)
Q: "How did you do that???"
A: "Do What?"
Message: Posted by: kaitou (Jun 15, 2003 05:54AM)
I often get asked to repeat stuff, and reset or not, it's bad to repeat... generally I just say something like "I'm not allowed to do it twice" or tell them the two rules of magic (didn't know about the land war in Asia one) :) but I just tend to say that if I tell, that they'll take my wand away, which lets me pull out my wand (a magicians wand, wooden, with brass ends) and do some routine where it can be used
Message: Posted by: Jesse Dains (Jun 15, 2003 08:47PM)
Some really great stuff here. A couple of things I question though. I would never offer any spectator any props if they were already hostile…… ..it puts all the attention on him and he will be tempted to act out, there is no telling what he will do or say. I learned that the hard way. It was a hammer.

When someone is heckling, the crowd expects and wants you to take back control. This is for the mean heckler, not for people who are just asking questions.

Try this, stop what you are doing… ..just look at him say nothing…… (he says, what's the matter, no comebacks?) ………say nothing do nothing……… The time between his remarks will get longer…… and the remarks weaker…… The crowd at this point doesn’t know what is going to happen…… they will hang in there to see if this guy has crushed you…… you will see him get smaller and smaller and quieter…… once it is obvious that he is uncomfortable simply say “next time if you don’t want the attention don’t ask for it” and resume your routine. I have never seen them keep talking after this.

Message: Posted by: keven (Jun 18, 2003 06:16AM)
Good one Jesse, That hurts. I like it
Message: Posted by: Ricahato (Jul 25, 2003 05:07PM)
I like all the responses above, very creative. I use what is explained in one of the ellusionist videos where he answers " If you liked that let me show show this one" or I just smile and continue my routine. :me:
Message: Posted by: ed rhodes (Jul 27, 2003 02:56PM)
The Third rule is Never get involved in a land war in Asia. I'm not sure what the third one has to do with anything but I think it's good advice!" (The third one is a movie reference by the way, who knows what movie?)


"The second rule is; never get involved in a land war in Asia but the first is; never go up against a Sicilian when DEATH is on the line! :rotf: " - The Princess Bride, one of the few movies that actually improves on the book. :bg:

"I know how you did that!"

My response; "What? You mean there's a trick to this? All these years I've been doing it the hard way!" :wow:
Message: Posted by: Bilwonder (Jul 28, 2003 04:19AM)
I often use the old Sid Lorraine line:

If you promise not to tell, I'll explain it:
When I move the doggleblatt toward the sittabrea and, unknown to you, slyly wamble the gudleypin, you are under the impression that the flapasiling and leffing are going to come with it. That's where you're entirely wrong. Actually, the back part that crosses the bilyn, enabling me to secretly remove the underparl and show both hands empty. Now don't tell anyone else ok?




"You might be able to fool me with YOUR version...so keep it a secret and try it out on me later!"

*A good magician never does the same trick
twice... and neither do I

* I only do these perplexing miracles once
to prevent the audience from going insane!

* I promised Sigfried and Roy I wouldn't do it
again, or they won't let me pet their kittens!

* Grampa always said, "Once is enough
if you do it right the first time!"
Message: Posted by: submagi (Aug 8, 2003 10:16AM)
If it's a girl here's a great pick-up line:

Magi: Well, it's complicated, wanna discuss it over dinner?

If they ask you at dinner say a bunch of weird stuff untill they're confussed and just forget about it..

like....First you jigsaw a court spot and lift the pass of the cull. =) something like that
Message: Posted by: Graymatter_Fireworks (Aug 8, 2003 12:57PM)
Q: How do you do that?

I Find that a smirk or grin really can add impact to the trick. But if I'm going to use a line I steal Rush Limbaughs "Talent on loan from God."

As for the Do it again, I usually try and bridge my effects. So I'll just say something or other like "Better yet, watch this." Or if I'm closing in on a routine or preformance, I'll just play it off like I'm running out of magical steam or something. I find that when I act the part of magic using power, people buy into it.
Message: Posted by: Monte (Aug 8, 2003 03:04PM)
Can you make my wife disappear?

Ya. Just be yourself. (Mike Ammar)
Message: Posted by: brianmayo (Aug 15, 2003 06:53AM)
Didn't notice if anybody answered it, but to Jason: [i]The Princess Bride[/i], what an awesome movie! :thumbsup: :thumbsup:
Message: Posted by: kihei kid (Aug 15, 2003 11:12AM)
Q: How did you do that?

A: Confucius say, "Man who stand on toilet and tell secrets high on pot."

A: Ancient Chinese secret.

Message: Posted by: Evan Williams (Aug 15, 2003 01:34PM)
Haha. Any question can be answered with something about what Confucius says. My grandpa has a million of 'um!
Message: Posted by: ed rhodes (Aug 16, 2003 08:46PM)
On 2003-08-08 11:04, Monte wrote:
Can you make my wife disappear?

Ya. Just be yourself. (Mike Ammar)
Somebody had an article on this response once. He had several responses:

No, but (gesture to wife) I can make your daughter here vanish!

If I could do that the first one wouldn't have cost me so much.

Yes, but who would you find to put up with you?

(Gesturing to wife) What in God's name do you have in mind that's better than that!

Message: Posted by: dpe666 (Aug 24, 2003 11:03PM)
Statement: I know how you did that! (or) I saw that!

Answer: I don't care.

Message: Posted by: snilsson (Sep 11, 2003 08:14PM)
Most of the suggested "come-back lines" in this thread seem rather smug and patronizing. Are you guys really using these lines? For real?

Isn't "How did you do that?" just another way of saying "Wow, that was good" and wouldn't, "Thanks, I'm glad you liked it" be a better response?
Message: Posted by: Jgriff (Sep 16, 2003 06:29PM)
I liked the line that Daryl used once.

How did you do that?

It's an ancient Chinese secret called Chi-Ting.

It works great after a poker or gambling demonstration.
Message: Posted by: dpe666 (Sep 17, 2003 05:42AM)
I use mine for real. It is very fitting of my character. :devilish:
Message: Posted by: Zeiros (Sep 18, 2003 02:25AM)
Indeed, somehow the phrase "I don't care" fits perfectly with that avatar of yours!

But seriously, if you're trying to get on with a trick and some idiot is shouting out, "I know how it's done, hurrr hurrr..." then a quick putdown is in order.

An example from my own life would be that I was performing and somebody shouted out, "My card is on the top, I know my card's on the top, how else would'ya know what's goin' on?" Clearly I was dealing with somebody who had seen a couple of those "exposition" specials on TV and remembered them.

I muttered, "I wish you were right, it'd make my job easier," whilst performing a double lift* and fixed that problem!

*The spectator's card WAS on the top. My bad, I guess, for letting them suspect this.
Message: Posted by: nums (Sep 19, 2003 11:23PM)
On 2003-04-05 18:26, shinobi wrote:
My pet hate: "Do that again!" when you can't reset instantly. Still looking for a good answer.
When I hear, "That was great!!! Do it again," I tell them they sound like my wife on our honeymoon...

Message: Posted by: zimsalabim (Sep 21, 2003 04:21PM)
How did you do that?

I didn't, you did. :die:
Message: Posted by: Patrick Redford (Sep 22, 2003 07:54PM)
When someone asks how it’s done I find a response of:

"Did you like it?"
"Thank you."

This works wonderfully. They are really just complimenting you.

There is no need to put them down, this just gives one a bad image, as well as other performers a bad image.

There is no need to be rude or cocky here.

Just my opinion.

Kindest Regards,
-George Tait
Message: Posted by: MisterE21 (Sep 27, 2003 06:09AM)
I agree COMPLETELY with Snilsson. In my personal opinion, 90% of these "responses" are excellent examples of many reasons that people dislike magicians.

Do you REALLY believe that the best response to a heckler is to become involved in a battle of wits with the person? This seems to not only defy many well respected professionals' opinions, but also common sense! Assuming, momentarily, that you are either: a) a paid performer or b) a person who would prefer to be liked by the audience, this response seems completely inappropriate. You could quite quickly lose the entire audience because, after all, you're attacking one of THEM. And how, exactly, do you intend to deal with a situation when you are outmatched in the wits arena? It certainly WILL happen.

Going back to the paid professional possibility, imagine momentarily how the people booking your show (and paying your bill) would feel when you start attacking their customers? You are supposed to be a professional: this means being in control of the crowd and, barring that, in control of yourself.

I will fully admit that certain situations allow greater leeway; with experience you are able to discern what the boundaries are in each audience. You are able to differentiate between spectator types and respond accordingly.

Many of these lines just SCREAM to me that the magician is seeking attention. In fear that a spectator is going to suck the attention, momentarily, away from the magician, he feels the need to respond in a "witty and amusing" manner, so as to pull the spotlight back.

A notable exception is, as DPE pointed out, when this is within character, however, I doubt that 90% of the people posting on this thread have similar characters...seems statistically impossible. If it fits your character, great...assuming you've actually given thought to your performing character.

Anyway, after my diatribe, my responses are generally self-deprecating and low-key; I fail to understand why I should feed into an obnoxious spectator's desires by egging them on and getting nasty.

I rarely have to respond to, "How did you do that," because I usually ask them first. In most of my effects, I attempt to make as much of the magic dependant in some way upon the spectator as possible; thus, when the effect is successfully completed, I can look at them in astonishment and ask how they did it. I usually say something along the lines of, "I've done this with hundreds of people and NO ONE will tell me how it's done! I guess it IS against the rules though..." This not only gets a laugh, but also subtly reinforces the fact that I'm not going to spill secrets.

If they do beat me to, "How'd you do that" or the effect doesn't have sufficient audience participation to elicit my regular response (or, if I've already used the line a couple times), I generally fall back on the, "Lots of time and very few friends" response...which isn't even THAT far from the truth!!

When people ask to see a trick again, I generally tell them I'll be happy to show them again...next time. And, if they liked that, they'll LOVE this one and then just launch into it.

If someone jumps on me about knowing how something is done (which has almost NEVER happened), I right back to not knowing, "Thank GOD, I've been trying to find someone to tell me how it worked..." and keep going. If they keep pushing and, if it's possible, I'll switch it up. Ideally, I p**m the top card and let them shuffle to their hearts content. I find that presenting evidence is far more convincing than presenting patter.

Anyway, that's how I take care of it. I don't want to make people feel bad, I don't want to make them "sympathize" with a heckler. Above all else, I see no reason to attack a spectator who hasn't shown aggression, such as, "How did you do that?" "Well, can you keep a secret? GOOD! So can I!" Those types of responses are completely uncalled for, as the spectator wasn't heckling, they were responding.

It all depends on what type of character you want to be to your audience, I'd rather be liked.


(My sincere thanks to anyone who actually read that entire post!)
Message: Posted by: dpe666 (Oct 6, 2003 11:55PM)
I think that it also comes down to the way in which the line is delivered. For example, in the previous post, the line: "Can you keep a secret? GOOD! So can I!" was given. If that line is given in a "smart-alecky" tone, then yes, it is uncalled for. However, if said with a wink and a little nudge, it is simply good natured banter.

My performing partner, Tom McCarthy, uses lines like that ALL the time, but I have never seen ANYONE get upset. His character is that of the charlatan. He is very antagonistic, which is needed in order to pull off his act.

So, again, I think that tone is a BIG issue. :devilish:
Message: Posted by: gician (Oct 7, 2003 01:37AM)
I agree with you. It's all in the delivery and how much of YOU you've delivered up to that point. The line I tend to use all the time is one I believe I heard from Brian Gillis:

Q: "How'd you do that?"
A: "Quite well I thought."

It's all just part of the fun.

I do experience a little difficulty when someone who's really been baffled says, "I really need to know how you did that." I don't use a goofy line when this happens. They can't make any sense of it and have experienced...magic. They really can't explain it, and well, neither can I. So I humbly thank them, and wish them to hold onto that feeling.

I miss that feeling.

Message: Posted by: Lee Darrow (Oct 15, 2003 08:52PM)
Jason, Vizzini was actually quoting General Douglas MacArthur, and the quote was incomplete. The entire quote was, "Never get involved in a land war in Asia unless you control the skies." And they did the book, by William Goldman, proud.

[b]Replies: Do it again.[/b]

You sound just like my wife.. "Do it again, do it again!" - courtesy of Heba Haba Al

Is it rerun time again?!

I can't, the batteries died!

I know how you feel. Sometimes I sit at home and do this over and over, just to entertain myself!

[b]Replies: How did you do that?[/b]

It's an ancient Chinese method called Chi...Ting. If I do it REAL slow, it's called Tai Cheat!

Without hesitation or fear of failure!

It's all done by hypnosis! (Snap fingers in front of their face.) "Wake up!"

It's a pigment of your inebriation!

From a really great guy at a trade show, recently, "It's supposed to be an optical illusion, but it only LOOKS like one!"

[b]Replies: I know how you did that one.[/b]

Don't TELL them! (Pause, add, if necessary.) SELL it to them. (Pause, add, if necessary.) Later. (Pause, add, if necessary) When I'm gone! - Courtesy Rik Johnsson

(Only if you are absolutely sure they haven't a clue, like with CMH.) "Care to demonstrate?" (Pause, add, if necessary.) "I understand, us magicians have to keep OUR secrets, right?" Slap him on the back and shake his hand.

[b]Replies: Can you make my spouse disappear?[/b]

Pal, this is Chicago! For 50 bucks ANYBODY can disappear! In MY neighborhood, it's only $19.95!

Sure, but MY wife will be really unhappy when we get home together!

With tongue in cheek,
Lee Darrow, C.Ht.
Message: Posted by: Mithra (Dec 12, 2003 05:18AM)
As I do moslty side show stuff I use, "Very carefully," a lot. I also use, "I'm a god" or "I took the Side Show Oath."

Mithra :firedevil:
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Dec 13, 2003 07:18AM)
To "Do that again!" I sometimes reply, "I didn't do anything. It was an illusion."

To "How did you do that?" I give them a false explanation in a foreign language. Be careful. Don't give them the real explanation in the foreign language—they may understand it!
Message: Posted by: Jerry the Great (Dec 13, 2003 11:46PM)
I really think that for me the best response is one of appreciation, "I'm so glad you liked that, it's one of my favorites too." And then carry on with the presentation. This doesn't risk offending anyone and keeps everything on track. :smiles:
Message: Posted by: Steve Hoffman (Dec 22, 2003 04:54PM)
Spectator: "How did you do that?"

Magician: "Many people ask me HOW did I do that. But the real question is not how, but WHY?"

(Either leave it at that, or come up with an answer to reason WHY...)

Steve H
Message: Posted by: shahin (Jan 25, 2004 12:47PM)
I found Giobbis advice in [i]Card College 5 [/i](chapter 64: Cardmans Humor) very useful. He talks about "general considerations on the use of jokes and lines," it's worth checking out.

Message: Posted by: Peter Marucci (Jan 25, 2004 02:11PM)
DPE666 writes: Statement: "I know how you did that!" or "I saw that!"

Answer: "I don't care."

Wonderful! Done in character it's worth a truckload of other lines, culled from Lord knows where and that just don't fit!

I think it's brilliant. (I may be alone, but I still think so!)

Message: Posted by: dpe666 (Jan 25, 2004 10:56PM)
Wow. Thanks, Peter. :devilish:
Message: Posted by: magicmel (Mar 11, 2004 06:16AM)
To: How did you do that?
To a female, I say "If I told you'd I'd have to sleep with you, and my wife gets really upset when I come home and tell her I told the secret. AGAIN!!"
To a male, I say the same thing, but end it with, "And believe me, THAT'S NOT GOING TO HAPPEN!!!"
Message: Posted by: JJDrew (Mar 12, 2004 07:43AM)
One I've found effective with my own character is:

Spectator: How did you do that?

Me: (looking perplexed) I don't know, sometimes that just happens!

This also gets me off the hook for repeating a trick. Obviously since I don't know how I did it, I couldn't repeat it at will.
Message: Posted by: radiantentertainment (Apr 12, 2004 04:48AM)
I use a rubber band routine as my typical opener and as prevenative maintenance before any of the typical questions are asked. The beginning effect of me penetrating my thumb with the band is done once. I then state "Most magicians will not do the same thing more than once for fear that someone may catch on, I am different, I don't care." I then repeat the effect allowing the spectator to pull the band threw my thumb. I do not know why but this line gains a chuckle so I use it. I actually don't care for it. If I use this line no one ever asks me to repeat an effect for the rest of my set.

At the end of my routine I say "Many people ask me how I do that...and I ask them 'Can you keep a secret?' Of course they always say yes, so I tell them 'So can I, I'm a magician!' "

If the audience doesn't laugh I say "They never laugh either" which then gains a laugh.
After this I give a mock explanation of my whole routine using broken and restored rubber band which goes like this.

"Since this table is such a great table I will tell you the secret to everything that you have just seen. It takes three skills. (actions matching words) The strength to break a rubber band. The quickness to move faster than superman, where no one can see, so that the band can be moved to the other side of my thumb, link the bands together, make the bands appear to meld threw each other, or your finger (jesturing to the spectator whose finger was also penetrated, part of the routine). And last ,but by no means least, the ability to squeeze the rubber band so firmly that the broken ends permanently fuse back together.

This mock explanation typically prevents eople from asking how it was done as well as any following effects.

If someone states "I know how that is done." to any of my illusions I make eye contact, nod, wink, and say "Wow, Most don't!" and I continue on.

If the guests are the right type and someone asks me to do something again I will say. I'm not a juke box. You do not put a quarter in me, press 5306 and hear Freebird" Being from WV this gains a laugh. I will then ask the guest who requested a repeat if they would like to see something I believe they would like even better. Then I continue on.
Message: Posted by: DanHarlan (Apr 22, 2004 06:33PM)
Spec: How did you do that?
Magi: A complete answer to that question would involve a complicated discussion of the mechanical aspects of the art of magic coupled with an understanding of the psychological subtleties being employed. But most important to me is the emotional connection which provides the context for our experience, so perhaps I'll just smile and say "Thank you, I'm glad you liked it."

Spec: Can you do that again?
Magi: I certainly hope so -- I have another show tomorrow.

Spec: Do that again.
Magi: Get me a cookie.

Spec: I know that one.
Magi: Do you want a cookie?

Spec: I saw how you did that.
Magi: Yes, but can you see why?

--Dan Harlan
Message: Posted by: MagicalArtist (Apr 25, 2004 09:22PM)
I don’t think you really need a comeback line to “How did you do that?” This is actually a compliment, a way that spectators express amazement. Of course, you could respond with a good natured comedy line like “Very well, I thought!” but the emphasis here is on good natured. I wouldn’t call this a “comeback’ but just a humorous response. More difficult to handle is when the spectator, whether correctly or incorrectly, throws out his guesses as to how the trick was done (sometimes very loudly). This response is pretty much the OPPOSITE of “how did you do that”. It’s a way of saying “I KNOW how you did that; you can’t fool me!”
Message: Posted by: willrob999 (Apr 27, 2004 12:27PM)

1.Very Well Thank you
2.Can you keep a secret? So can i


1.Just be Yourself
2.I Perform Magic not Miracles

1.But do you know why?
Message: Posted by: docmagik (Jan 10, 2007 03:41PM)
When I do magic for kids, my answer to this question goes something like this:

Them: How did you do that?
Me: Do what?
Them: Pull that brick out of Timmy's soup.
Me: Pull the who out of the what now?
Them: The brick! You just pulled it out of Timmy's soup.
Me: I don't think so. That sounds impossible.
Them: But you just did it!
Me: You have quite an imagination!
Message: Posted by: Servante (Feb 5, 2007 06:45PM)
Goldman wrote the screenplay, too. He told my agent once that the book and the screenplay are the only things he ever wrote for love.
And he's writing the Broadway musical, as well.

I generally say, first, "It's a trick," with a Paul Lynde delivery, then move on.
If they insist, and shout out a method, I generally say, "Wow! That's a lot easier than my way! Thanks! Here's another one you'll like," and move on.
Message: Posted by: Yellowcustard (Oct 1, 2007 04:52PM)
On 2003-04-05 18:26, shinobi wrote:
My pet hate: "Do that again!" when you can't reset instantly. Still looking for a good answer.

Hay try this one,

What’s the difference between a magician and a musician?

A musician takes request!!!

The ruder the funny, but not to much.
Message: Posted by: lt (Apr 3, 2009 06:18PM)
I use "very carefully" a lot too.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Jun 19, 2009 04:15PM)
One of my favorites is: "Money, brains and guts."
Message: Posted by: Steve_Mollett (Jun 21, 2009 05:37PM)
On 2003-04-09 12:26, Jason Wethington wrote:
Or a good answer for any situation is
"Who am I?! Who are you?! What am I doing here?! Then start swatting imaginary bugs. They won't ask you anymore questions. :)

A variant:
"If you want to know the truth (lean in confidentially), I think Oswald had an accomplice when he shot Kennedy."
Message: Posted by: Steve_Mollett (Jun 21, 2009 05:51PM)
One I've used for children who play the "I know how you did that" card:

"Good. Let's keep it our little secret." (wink and go immediately into the next trick)
Message: Posted by: Robmonster (Jul 21, 2009 12:14PM)
On 2003-09-27 02:09, MisterE21 wrote:
I agree COMPLETELY with Snilsson. In my personal opinion, 90% of these "responses" are excellent examples of many reasons that people dislike magicians.

Do you REALLY believe that the best response to a heckler is to become involved in a battle of wits with the person? This seems to not only defy many well respected professionals' opinions, but also common sense! Assuming, momentarily, that you are either: a) a paid performer or b) a person who would prefer to be liked by the audience, this response seems completely inappropriate. You could quite quickly lose the entire audience because, after all, you're attacking one of THEM. And how, exactly, do you intend to deal with a situation when you are outmatched in the wits arena? It certainly WILL happen.

I cannot remember where I heard this now, but it's advice that I think holds true:- If you get involved in a battle of wits with a true heckler you have to be funny every single time. After all, you are the Pro. If the heckler gets a bigger laugh than you just once then you've lost the whole battle.

Luckily I've not been in that position (and wouldn't want to rely on my own wits to survive such an ordeal).
Message: Posted by: MagiChris (Aug 18, 2009 08:10PM)
I saw this in other forums.
"Can you do it again?"
"You know, man can't do it again right after, I need a rest."
Message: Posted by: Lawrence O (Aug 31, 2009 01:21AM)
I don't have this type of request after a trick. I more often get this question on tricks I didn't perform: "I know that you cannot tell me how you did this, but tell me how the cut a woman in two". Then I answer "well that's stage magic and I never did any". The few times I got the question about an effect I had performed, was more generally at the end of the show. Since all of my effects involve the audience and at least one spectator, I should probably answer: "Oh it worked better than ever tonight, probably because the entire audience was so brilliant." If they insist: "well you should know: we did it together" if they keep on insisting look at the person with a smile in your eyes and tongue in cheek "Frankly? I can trigger it, but I really don't know how it works".

For the "can you do it again": "Not right now. Maybe later. right now I'd like to share something even more incredible with you. Just keep on helping me on this one. You really did great on the previous one."
Message: Posted by: alibaba (Sep 13, 2009 09:32PM)
At one time I was fascinated by "double-talk". Never went anywhere with it, but I still bust it out once in a while to relieve the boredom. Like when someone asks, "How did you do that?", I'll reply, very slowly and clearly, "I had the fleetisway behind my spurl, which I then put on the arbigon."

Or sometimes I'll reply to a "how did you do that" question with, "Well, I shouldn't be revealing this, but it's done with mirrors."
Message: Posted by: cdelah (Sep 17, 2009 09:57PM)
If someone catches me I would say "so you figured out what I did but I bet you wont figure out this trick. Then show them your best trick.
Message: Posted by: muse (Sep 29, 2009 02:37PM)
All I can contribute to this discussion is a situation that happened recently where I'd done a trick which was of the choose-lose-find a card variety, and I'd successfully (and hopefully amazingly) found the selected card. I was asked "How did you do that?", and I said (tongue in cheek) "Well, I've done that particular trick 51 times previously and failed every time, and I was counting on the law of averages helping me out eventually". It got a laugh so it worked for me.
Message: Posted by: Retchin (Dec 24, 2009 12:54AM)
A few years ago, I was doing the Ambitious Card Routine for a young boy, around 8, and he asked how I did it. I told him that if he went home and sat in his bed, put a card in the middle of a deck, snap his fingers, and wish really hard, it would come true. If it didn't work, he had to wish harder.
Message: Posted by: WizzBang (May 29, 2010 08:13PM)
I think we should remember that we do not have to fill our performances with words. Often a smile, a bow of the head, a hand gesture of "thanks" or silence are good responses. Many people don't know how to respond to magic so I put these comments in the category of compliments. Perhaps "thank you" is all we need to say
Message: Posted by: foreva.infiniti (Jun 2, 2010 12:24AM)
Spec: How did you do that?
Foreva Infiniti: You wouldnt believe me if I told you
Spec: Try me!
Infiniti: Numbers And Colors
Spec: ?

http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewtopic.php?topic=364781&forum=42&7 for a betta understanding
Message: Posted by: Rocketeer (Mar 23, 2011 01:05AM)
How did you do that?

I sold my soul to the devil. I'm a recruiter now. Would like to go to hell?
Message: Posted by: DominotheGreat (Apr 1, 2011 03:52PM)
Yea I just love the line: Its magic!!!
Message: Posted by: gabelson (Nov 17, 2011 02:58AM)
Any ideas for a line to use when a spectator drops a deck of cards that's been "set up" a certain way? (I always carry a spare, in case of such moments)
Message: Posted by: DoctorCognos (Nov 30, 2011 04:36AM)
How did you do that?

Glad you like it. That was pretty magical, wasn't it?

Wait until you see the NEXT one..

The Doctor
Message: Posted by: Dai Hard (Apr 21, 2012 02:46PM)
(Can you make ME disappear?) You'd have to reappear at my house and it really freaks the cat out.
Message: Posted by: spcarlson (Apr 22, 2012 10:28PM)
On 2011-03-22 21:05, Rocketeer wrote:
How did you do that?

I sold my soul to the devil. I'm a recruiter now. Would like to go to hell?


That is so funny! That line wouldn't work for me but I love it.
Message: Posted by: ed rhodes (Jul 1, 2019 02:26AM)
[quote]On Jun 21, 2009, Steve_Mollett wrote:
On 2003-04-09 12:26, Jason Wethington wrote:
Or a good answer for any situation is
"Who am I?! Who are you?! What am I doing here?! Then start swatting imaginary bugs. They won't ask you anymore questions. :)

A variant:
"If you want to know the truth (lean in confidentially), I think Oswald had an accomplice when he shot Kennedy." [/quote]

This almost sounds like a line I heard on "Big Bang Theory," Sheldon knows a secret (Penny never finished Community College) but is sworn not to tell (which is driving him crazy!) After Sheldon has been doped by Howard to shut him up, ("I drank milk that tasted funny.") Leonard tries to get the secret, Sheldon leans in confidentially and says; "Mom smokes in the car! Jesus is OK with it, but we can't tell Dad!"
Message: Posted by: Dick Oslund (Jul 31, 2019 01:43AM)
70 years performing magic...50 years as a full time pro., and, I have NEVER worked streets. (If you're a good magician, you can actually get booked and, get PAID for presenting your act.) I'm certainly not the world's greatest magician, but, I worked all over the USA, and I was never at liberty. Managers called me, to ask when I was available.
Message: Posted by: AnthonyCC (Jan 18, 2020 04:11AM)
How did you do that??

*Staring in a serious way*

When I was a kid I was bitten by a Wizard.

*They start to laugh*

I've been cursed with these powers ever since!
Message: Posted by: Khalid (Jun 18, 2022 08:11AM)
If I'm asked how I did it I tell them it's they mystic frog
Message: Posted by: Mind Circus (Jun 20, 2022 04:59PM)
In a closeup mentalism context I'll reply, "I'll let you in on a little secret, but there needs to be a small offering of $1". Then, I will "teach" them how to find an ESP card, etc using a pendulum. After, I'll do a serial number divination of the bill they lent me before returning it.
Message: Posted by: Davidicus (Jun 20, 2022 08:36PM)
"How did you do that?" I don't know, I blacked out... was it at least good?
Message: Posted by: KarpeNoktem (Jul 31, 2022 05:57AM)
I like to actually give a plausible explanation ala Derren Brown to get rid of what he calls "how did you do that?" moments

or "well I'll tell you what it WASN'T"

or set this premise up beforehand IMHO