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Topic: Client requested the bra trick
Message: Posted by: wizardofsorts (Dec 12, 2008 10:41PM)
I have never performed the 20th Century bra trick but I had a rather influential client request I do the trick. I agreed because 1. I wanted his business and 2. I needed the gig (it's been a rough year in Chicago).

So, now I have to do the trick and I would love to hear any advice from anyone who performs the trick (please re-read that sentence before responding, I only want to hear from people who perform the trick).

The client wants me to do the trick to a woman. I feel I could get out of this. Should I? Do you think the gag is funnier and less embarrassing to a man?

Is there any tell tell signs I should look for on who to pick or who not to pick?

Does anyone have any presentational ideas they are willing to share that make the trick less embarrassing.

Thank you very much in advance for any advice,
Message: Posted by: Magicusa (Dec 12, 2008 11:48PM)
You look like a kid in your picture. Let me tell you this and don't forget this. Do not make a woman look bad in front of people! The other women there will hate you too.
The only way is maybe with a plant. But then the other women will still hate you.
I have done shows for the past 30 some years. Don't do it!
They are there to have FUN!

Message: Posted by: mcvicarthetrickster (Dec 12, 2008 11:49PM)
Pick a lady who is fun loving and wants to have a good time. I've done this effect for years and never had anyone get embarresd, not to say it couldn't happen. They always realize it's not their bra, if the volunteer is fun loving they will play along. Whenever I took out the bra I would act all surprised like it's the first time I've seen a bra and say "what size is this B-cup, A-cup, oh, it says it right here, Dixie".

Message: Posted by: rockwall (Dec 12, 2008 11:50PM)
I saw Bob Sheets to this at LVMI this year and it was hilarious but I don't know if I would have the nerve to try it myself. I think it takes a certain personality and the right sense of humor. It's really a 'bar' trick where you can kind of gauge the clientel I think.
Message: Posted by: Dr. Delusion (Dec 13, 2008 12:22AM)
For adult shows we do this trick. I always pick out a couple to help with the trick. After I tie the 2 silks together I always have the boyfriend, or husband, place the knotted ends inside the front of the lady's shirt. I then announce that we're going to magically make the 2 silks melt through the lady's neck. I then give one end to the guy, and I take the other. I instruct the guy at the count of 3, pull his end towards the back of her neck, and I will do the same. Then at 3 we both pull and out comes the bra. When it appears I act astonished and claim is was the guy who made it happen, not me. It always goes over really well and no one feels bad.
But, I think the bottom line for you would be to only perform the trick if you feel good about it. If it's not your style or don't feel right performing it, your best would be to pass on it.
Good luck, Bob.
Message: Posted by: itsmagic (Dec 13, 2008 01:21AM)
This is funny for the RIGHT crowd, like at a bachelor or bachelorette party. I staple a card to the bra and force a duplicate, then attempt to have the card appear in-between the two silks...which it does along with the bra!
Message: Posted by: DavidLynn (Dec 13, 2008 06:09AM)
Pearls of wisdom from everyone here, Edd.

My advice: ONLY do it if you have the personality to make it work. I love the idea of boyfriend/husband helping out and blaming him. It gives the woman a bit of added support when on stage. Not being left on her own in an embarrassing time. do some homework adlib situations for things that could go wrong.
eg. super embarrassment on her part.
Her partner yells out a put down comment about her not having "it on" or other rudity.
She says "its not my bra"

keep going with the list and record some comebacks for each occasion. Now you are better prepared and your mind will recall the rehearsed comebacks and it will go over as a well presented quick thinking adlib. I always pre-prepare adlibs. this process also shows up weaknesses in the performance prior to physical rehearsal.

Ask some female friends/relatives how they might react to your whisking off their bra. They know you better than me and their reply's will set the mood for how you will overcome each "issue" that could arise.

Remember, It is your show and your personality. Hope I've been of some help

Another idea that just hit me. set yourself up with the underpants trick shortly following the bra. ie: grab a silk from your pocket to cover up the underwear that you are now so embarrassed about, this silk is attached to your "sugarbags/oversize or G string" undies. Now you are "embarrassed with her.

A comment "Oh crap! whats happening I thought I was over dressed but I'm under wared. Squeeze some more dialog out of this situation. Put the attention and embarrassment back onto you. Remember the important rule of not letting your participant be 'hurt'.

"Whats wrong with this trick. It's only supposed to work on others... Not MEEEEE!"
"Heck I've been brow beaten before, but bra beaten. No I wont wear that. Here have it back."

"ooh, looks like I've been living to close to a shoe string (G String) for too long"

Write your ideas down and the creative juice in you will just flow.
Best of luck
Message: Posted by: wizardofsorts (Dec 13, 2008 09:44AM)
Magicusa: I have to admit that picture is getting a little out of date. It is 5 years old or so. I may be still be a kid by some people's standards. I'm 30.

Everyone else: Thanks for the advice. I particularly like the idea of getting the husband/boyfriend involved.

DavidLynn: Ah, yes, the age old art of writing "improv." As I've learned in my acting studies and tried to apply to my magic show, "Make it seem like it is the first time you have ever said these words."

Message: Posted by: DavidLynn (Dec 14, 2008 02:56AM)
Spot on Edd. Just try to make the dialog up from your own thoughts. that way it is YOUR material from YOUR sense of humour and that ALWAYS kills better than other's scripts because it has REAL feeling behind it. Your body will talk it also, because it really is you. Best of luck mate and get back to us when you are done. Would love to hear how it went

Message: Posted by: suspectacts (Dec 14, 2008 07:20PM)
My Best Suggestion: Have a Woman Do it on a MAN!!! Only way to go!
Message: Posted by: DavidLynn (Dec 14, 2008 09:03PM)
Hey Suspectacts. what a great idea, that's given me food for thought on a trick I'm putting together.

Message: Posted by: Pete Biro (Dec 15, 2008 09:51PM)
I used to do it so the embarrassed person was ME... like it wss a mistake... Never had a problem with it. It is all based on attitude.

I do like the suggestion of having a male accomplice.
Message: Posted by: tctahoe (Dec 15, 2008 10:00PM)
Pete has it right...if the bra comes off as a mistake, then it's funny...if you do as if you intended to have the bra come off, now you are creepy...and not in a good way.
Message: Posted by: colin underwood (Dec 16, 2008 10:35AM)
I used to perform the bra trick as such ,my mistake. Or to blame the male helper which in an adult situation was the boyfreind or husband.

If the function is very upmarket or pretentious ...definately leave it out!!

I wouldnt start putting in gags that are borderline and you do not have experience to pull them off ( excuse the pun!) ....rather starve!! It can all go wrong and you will be the one who takes the fall.You never know who might be in the audience waiting to give you your big break with your OWN MATERIAL!!

I would have said to the client I would use the lady in question in my show and have some fun within a magic routine.At the end of such routine I always make the assitant the star and give her a gift .be it a balloon animal ( more fun!) or small gift.
The clients that have requested me to rag somebody, in my experience have no idea what it takes to create a perfect joke and most cases the end product will be in bad taste. She is an innocent spectator and doesn't deserve the rough up treatment. Even if you are in a buddies back yard with the barbecue.The bra trick although a easy comedy routine to do, if not presented correctly will create a problem especially in places like Usa or in middle East which is in my case my main area of work.

The bra as comedy prop is a different story and I use one in my show as a production gag and always gets a laugh. I then at end of the applicable routine will try give it back to the assistant ( always a man) an say thanks for the loan..tell your wife thanks etc. What is really funny is to throw it out to the bloke and leave it there!! If he takes it so what ..most times after the show he will bring it back.But even here in these presentations I produce it and am as surprised as the audience. In my case I search for a cloth to wipe assitants brow because it is hot , I then shake out Cloth to find it is a bra.

Coming back to your job in question ..if you have a choice ..do not do it as a request, you are in charge of your show and will entertain accordingly not to the clients wishes.This is the attitude you should adobt.If you start this practise you will have hassle asserting your needs to the client when you come to a tricky venue or some requirement which will hinder your performance.Do your best stuff and don't worry about upsetting client afterwards by not doing it....worse case you just say it didn't feel right ...if he doesn't pay your values will at least still be intact.

The three bra cup gag is also good to take the trick back into gag presentation. In other words you produce bra and then as extra whammy show it has three cups !!! I travel worldwide and prefer to be able to buy a bra if I lose one and I havnt found a shop that stocks a three cup bra anywhere!!
Good luck!!
Message: Posted by: RJE (Dec 17, 2008 01:41PM)
This was a staple of a lot of stand up magic acts in the 1980's and 90's. Then the politically correct police started making magi feel bad about doing it and the voices in our heads started sounding like a conscience. I think it had something to do with the anti-climatic events of Y2K and people just needed something to blame. So, the bra trick took the hit.

Seriously, the trick can be done on a woman and be absolutely hilarious. We will still put it in our adult comedy show with great results. You just have to figure out when it is ok and when it is not ok to do it. I once did it to a Pastor's wife and brought the house down. (She and he were absolutely fine with it.)

There are some private corporate events that we do not use it depending on the feel (no pun intended) of the audience. It is something you can generally sense most of the time. If you can read the room, you'll know.

Heck, we even have a killer routine where it is used in our children's and family shows. If you check out our promo video, you'll see it being set up at a theme park show.

We do the kid's version in our elementary school show programs and the kids love it and not one teacher or faculty member has ever said anything negative about it. Quite the opposite. They all remark about how funny it is.

Of course, it is all what you feel comfortable with and what you believe you can pull off (pun intended). Your on stage character can get away with a lot more than the average Joe on the street. Given the right type of act and an audience that is being responsive, it is a great bit to work a routine around as others here have already stated.
Message: Posted by: echomagic (Jan 3, 2009 07:36PM)
The best way to end that effect is to, as the Magician, suddenly realize," Hey, that's MY bra"!
Message: Posted by: nathanallen (Jan 4, 2009 12:42AM)
How 'bout stuffing the hanks down the front of your pants (so nobody can get 'em without you knowing, of course), and in between the hanks is a sock? Act embarassed, and shove the entire thing (hanks and sock) back down your pants. And leave them there for the remainder of the show.
Message: Posted by: Jerskin (Jan 4, 2009 02:17PM)
I used to do it with a man.
Message: Posted by: TheAmbitiousCard (Jan 5, 2009 12:47PM)
On 2008-12-14 20:20, suspectacts wrote:
My Best Suggestion: Have a Woman Do it on a MAN!!! Only way to go!

My suggestion as well. You beat me to it!

On 2009-01-04 15:17, Jerskin wrote:
I used to do it with a man.

Greg, lets keep this on the topic of magic, shall we?