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Topic: Baffling bra routine
Message: Posted by: Sir T (Aug 11, 2004 11:17PM)
Does anyone know of a GOOD rountine for the Baffling bra? I have one, would like to use it, but can't come up with a good useable routine.

thanks for any advice
Message: Posted by: saturnin (Aug 12, 2004 06:09AM)

The main thing to remember when considering this kind of effect, is your personna/character. I mean how you will be perceived by the audience, as you will be walking on a very thin line. And also keep in mind in which environnement you will perform this effect.

I once saw a magician do silk to g-string to a teacher at an elementary school show, I just couldn't beleive it! (What an idiot).

That said, Bob Sheets has a routine with it you might want to check.

Ronnie Lemieux
Message: Posted by: BroDavid (Aug 12, 2004 08:32AM)
I used to use this all of the time. (Before I made a turn in my life) and it just doesn't fit into my character anymore.)

But in the right venue, and with the right presentation, (which I rarely see) I love the impact it has on spectators. Most guys just seem to want to make the girl a victim in this thing, and if you choose the wrong subject for this, you will alienate the whole crowd in a heartbeat.

Not related to this effect, but a friend of mine got a blonde volunteer (who was a typical sterotype DB - Not all are that way! But this one was.) And he told a blonde joke, and it took him a couple of more effects to win the crowd back. I felt so sorry for him. But pick well when deciding who to make the brunt of a trick or a joke while perfroming. Gazzo probably would have gotten a huge hand for that same joke, but it is not in my friends character, so he got boos and almost lost the whole audience.

Message: Posted by: Danny Hustle (Aug 12, 2004 08:48AM)
Ahh... the bra trick. A lot of guys I respect quite a bit hate this trick. On the other hand a lot of guys I respect like it.

There is very little in between with this trick.

I happen to like it quite a bit. In the routines I have done I do it to a guy or myself. That puts a different and less threatening twist on the idea from my perspective.

Gazzo has what I consider the most brilliant bra trick I have ever heard of and he does it to himself.

Pete Biro had a great idea for it that he put on the Genii forum a while ago that I thought would work quite well. You might want to search for that.

The bottom line on it I guess is you have to be 100% sure of the audience member you use to "assist" you.

I have heard horror stories of women bursting into tears and magicians getting black eyes over this trick.

Because of this I no longer do it. The way I look at it is there are a million tricks in the world that are at least as good as this one and have zero chance of offending anyone. Why not use one of those?

The other question I asked myself is why do I want to do this trick?

If you find the answer is because of reaction, simplicity, packs flat plays big, there are a lot of better tricks you can substitute.

As far as a routine goes, there are a million possibilities. The things I've pointed out might help in the way you construct your routine for it.

I will say, avoid the presentation that comes with it like the plague. Also, the routine Bob Sheets does is great but I think it will only work if you are behind a bar, and happen to be Bob Sheets or Heeba-Haba Al.

There was another bar man in the Washington area that used to do the trick and the women I spoke to that saw him do it thought he was a lecherous dirt bag.



Message: Posted by: James Harrison (Aug 12, 2004 09:00AM)
I perform the bra trick. But only when the situation suits.

I do watch stealing at the restaurant, (and borrow anything else I can get a hold of.)

sometimes when I give it back, I always hear someone say "Can you take her bra?"

Now this still doesn't give me the right oppertunity to take it. It's only if she's going along with that sentence.

"Yeah, could you?"

I say no, do a trick then leave to go get the bra trick.

The one thing I don't do is put it down the front. I put it down the back of the neck. Seems less perverted.

Basicially, its Bob's routine with a couple different gags.

But because they left it open with 'can you do this?' This gets a much better reaction than just walking up and just doing that trick.

I hardly use this trick, only when the moment is created.
Message: Posted by: Sir T (Aug 12, 2004 09:34AM)
I know this is a perform at your own risk kind of effect, I am working on a routine, where this effect can work, but before, I spend the time on it, I would like to see how others use it. I have seen this effect go REALLY bad REALLY fast.

Thanks so far for the advice.
Message: Posted by: Danny Hustle (Aug 12, 2004 09:46AM)

I like and agree with your down the back idea! Much less threatening and a bra does go around the back so it does not create a continuity error in the trick. Good thinking!


Message: Posted by: Harry Murphy (Aug 12, 2004 01:25PM)
I do a routine that “suggests” that I am going to do the “Bra-Trick”.

How it is framed is that I am doing a double 20th Century Silks. I have a lady/girl from the audience help me. I tie two bandanas together and sort of tuck them into my belt. I can get a strong laugh or two doing this.

I tie two other bandanas together and go to tuck then into the blouse of the girl. I never get there (I never even get close, it would be rude)! I eventually have her hold them in her hands, chest high.

Now two bandanas are vanished. I take one end of a silk handing from my belt (again a laugh as I mug it up) and whisk it away. Huge colorful boxer shorts appear tied between them. It gets a strong laugh. This is the set-up and creates a bit of tension and expectation exactly what I need to create a real punch ending

Now there is by play as I approach the lady. Ultimately I will grasp a corner of a hanging bandana and whisk it away. The two vanished bandanas are seen tied between them! Note that NO BRA appears!

It gets a good laugh (usually the laughter secondary to the release of tension) when the bandanas appeared instead of a bra!

A rose or carnation is produced from the gathered bandannas and presented to the lady assistant for helping. And I don’t do any of that insulting “kiss me on the cheek and turn the head to get a kiss on the lips” bit. While a redneck, my character tries to be a gentleman!

There is dramatic tension built in the routine, there is a good set up for the expectation of a logical ending. However the punch line is to NOT produce the bra.

Everyone’s dignity (except mine) is preserved and no one is embarrassed. I simply don’t like to embarrass my spectators. I do try to create dramatic tension in them but give them proper release without any embarrassment. The audience does not laugh at my assistants, they laugh at me.
Message: Posted by: Danny Hustle (Aug 12, 2004 01:51PM)
Man Harry, that is great.


Message: Posted by: Pete Biro (Aug 13, 2004 12:57AM)
Nice Harry, very kewl and well thought out.
Message: Posted by: Danny Hustle (Aug 13, 2004 07:50AM)
At 12:30 P.M. today I am doing a show for my Son's Kindergarten class. His birthday is this Sunday and he asked if I could do a show for his school pals.

So, being a guy who usually does an adult show I was digging through my crap...er..I mean vast collection of vintage magic...Speaking of vintage magic has anyone else noticed that the Kanji characters on the front of a temple screen say, "No Smoking"?

Anyway, as I am finding a coloring book, boy to rabbit, vanishing Ketchup bottle, I stumble across the bra trick. It somehow got put in my eons old box of kid's magic right next to Rocky the raccoon. Speaking of which, I have a great routine for Rocky where a silk turns into raccoon poop and the silk is then extracted from Rocky's backside via thumb tip. Mitch Leary over on alt.magic planted the seed and I brought it to fruition. The kids LOVE a poop trick, but I digress.. Oh but I forgot the best part. The raccoon poop are actually black jelly beans that I and my assistant eat before we realize what it is...anyway.

So there I am holding a spring coon in one hand and a bra trick in the other wondering how this thing got into my kids stuff. Even more disturbing was the bra trick was tied around Rocky's neck. Maybe he just couldn't take the poop jokes anymore...

So, to make a long story longer, it dawned on me that the reason that the bra trick gets such a bad rap might very well be that there are magicians out there who might come across something like this in a similar situation and say, "Hey man! That is great, why don't I do this trick to Ms. Murphy the kindergarten teacher and bring her down to the kids level. What a brilliant idea, I think I am going to fill out that MENSA application I got on the Internet right now!"

Yeah, if you think I'm kidding check out some of the horror stories about this trick. Do a google search on "Bra Trick". I know a guy here in Boston who did this trick in a high school to a 14 year old girl and thought it was great comedy.

There are no bad tricks only bad magicians. Although, crappy tricks do exist. Anyway, sorry about the long barely on topic post. I've had three cups of coffee and it has made me a little Jazzy.


Message: Posted by: Avrakdavra (Aug 13, 2004 03:34PM)
Maybe Rocky was trying to wear the bra.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Aug 15, 2004 11:59AM)
The bra trick is one that has to be done with a great amount of sensitivity and the character you are playing almost has to be a classic "innocent," if you are going to keep from getting your lights punched out.

Don't do it on a college campus. The PC Nazis will nail you. Besides, many of the girls don't wear 'em any more, so it won't get the right reaction anyway.

The best I have ever seen doing this was a guy here in Houston named Ted Swank. He is a clean-cut, innocent kind of a guy, and he brings up a couple to do the routine. The idea is that the knot in the hanky is going to come untied. And when the bra comes out Ted acts more embarrassed than the girl does.

But...it's one of those things that if you can't carry it off, you'd better leave it alone. "Houdini Outstripped" is the same basic premise and won't get you in trouble, unless you are working at a boys' camp and you wear a clergical collar.
Message: Posted by: paulajayne (Aug 20, 2004 08:32PM)
I remember doing it once and the lady said
"Thats funny because I wasn't wearing a bra".

My out was to look down and grab myself saying "Oh dear it's mine"

Message: Posted by: RonCalhoun (Aug 22, 2004 11:55PM)
And NO, its not funny when done with a young child.
Message: Posted by: BradleyNott (Aug 25, 2004 05:14AM)
Just because an idea works perfectly in our imaginations doesn't make it work well in the real world.

You might say that some effects take certain performers to pull them off. I bet it does, and you better have a really good motivation and presentation for performing this effect for a young female volunteer, especially if you are a middle-aged male.

I think the idea of doing a rope through magician's body and ending up with a pair of fancy boxers on the rope is a FAR better effect because it makes the magician the subject of the gag.

Why play a gag on an audience member that has the possibility to hummiliate them if you can do an effect that makes them a star? Where's the art in degrading an innocent young girl by pretending you violated her?

If you don't have the personality for the effect, and are just doing it for the laughs...save the trouble and just become a comedian.

If the effect works for Paula, which I'm sure it must, then she has nothing to worry about.

I would have no problem seeing a male magician perform the effect on another male or himself. That is funny because it's a surprise and an instant tension release because not only did a bra appear, but guys do not wear bras (usually...) But no matter the magician, I'd question his motive if he performed the effct on a woman. I'd probably think of him in a negative way.
Message: Posted by: markmagic (Feb 9, 2005 09:04PM)
I think basically the bra trick, while funny several years ago, time has passed it by. Maybe in a nightclub or strip bar, but, can't think of much use for it anymore!
Message: Posted by: bropaul (Feb 10, 2005 08:07AM)
Many people have seen this trick. I get the, "Can you take off her bra", line when I'm working. I smile and say, "When the moons in the right phase." I have done it in the past and I agree with markmagic, I think it's time has passed. When I did it, at the point where the bra was exposed, I would look at it in shock and immediately put the whole mess behind my back, apologize to the woman and send her away. I look embarrassed and it all happened fast. Almost to the point of the audience just getting a flash of the bra.

When I reflected on doing the effect, I realized that it was embarrassing and I shouldn't be doing it, so it was dropped. There are really plenty of other tricks that will fill a few minutes and get the reaction you want.
Message: Posted by: Wolfgang1us (Feb 10, 2005 03:48PM)
I never had any complaint in Germany so far. It always gets a good laugh. I bet there will be different reactions in the USA, especially in the deep South...
Message: Posted by: bropaul (Feb 10, 2005 08:06PM)
Tabary is a wonderful performer. I would not have had the information that I have if it were not for his 2 incredible tapes. I highly recommend them to anyone that wants to do rope magic. But this is the only time I have seen him work. To do that kind of magic, I had to make the changes so that it would work for me.

I truly appreciate good thinkers in magic and as far as rope is concerned George Sands, Pavel and Tabary are tops in my book.
Message: Posted by: magicandrew (Feb 13, 2005 05:10AM)
You will get a few laughs but trust me, don't do it on the streets. Bad experience.
Message: Posted by: Kondini (Feb 13, 2005 01:22PM)
Try this: do it on yourself!
Message: Posted by: Eric Leclerc (Feb 14, 2005 08:00AM)
"I heard of magicians getting black eyes doing the bra trick."

Please... entertainers are all about audience management. I cannot IMAGINE what a performer has to do to get a black eye. That to me is ridiculous. For the people saying it's an old trick we should move along, it's an old trick for MAGICIANS, not real people.

I have done the bra trick live over 300 times, and I never got a bad reaction. If you act like it wasn't supposed to happen, you're good to go. I don't know why people would be upset over this (maybe if done at a kid's show).

And for the gentlemen who wrote "the bra trick doesn't have the same effect anymore these days, they don't wear them anymore" ...uuummm what? Girls don't wear bras anymore? I think you need to get out more, mister.

I thinks it's a cute trick that if played well, will be one they remember for a long time, even if they know it wasn't her bra.
Message: Posted by: Danny Hustle (Feb 14, 2005 10:27AM)

I agree with you about the performer and audience management. Unfortunately you can only manage reasonable people. There are crazy people in the world and on the street in particular you will meet more of them that you would in any other performing environment.

If you should happen to select the wrong person, or worse the right person with a very wrong significant other this can go very badly, very quickly.

Because of the delicate sensibilities of the world we live in today and the prodigious rate at which sexual harassment lawsuits are bandied about this could lead to problems, expensive problems.

I heard Chuck Fayne tell a story about a friend of his who invited a woman on stage and when he brought her up he helped her on stage by holding her hand. She filed a lawsuit that said he "touched her inappropriately" in his show. The woman was crazy and lost the lawsuit. But the entertainer had to shell out close to $25 grand in legal fees to "win" the case.

I love this trick and do not find it offensive at all. My routine involves the bra being shoved down my shirt and not a woman's. I still would not do it on the street. The idea of somebody putting a set of scarves down the front of a womans blouse on the street in this day and age makes my blood run cold with fear for the performer. Unlike others I do not object to the trick, but I understand that in this day and age it may offend my audience and worse cause a problem with my spectator. That is why I choose not to do it.

I am an entertainer who uses magic as his main medium of entertainment. That being said, it is all about them and not me.

**Whew** I rattled on a lot more than I meant to on this one. Sorry about that. I do think it is a funny, funny, trick. I also think you REALLY need to know your audience to pull it off.

When I worked behind a bar guys would bring in their dates and request that I do this trick to the girl. As long as the girl was willing I would do it. That is a different situation and I know my audience very well as in what kind of car they drive, where they work, what they drink, and who they like in the world series. REALLY know your audience on this one in my opinion.


Message: Posted by: kOnO (Feb 14, 2005 11:28AM)
On 2005-02-14 11:27, Danny Hustle wrote:
I also think you REALLY need to know your audience to pull it off....



Now, that's a good one (ha ha).

Message: Posted by: senoj derfla (Jun 4, 2006 08:27PM)
I agree with Danny, people are so sensitive about their "rights and personal space" When I first started doing stand-up comedy I revelled in the heckler, I would use my "cutting wit" to put these interefering interupters in their place. That was when I was young and only interested in the buzz I got from the laughs. I no longer use heckler stoppers, not do I insult my magical assistants by puttng them in a embarressing situation. I did the 20th century pants gag on a 10 year old boy some time back, and when I saw the confused look in the poor kids eyes I vowed never to do it again. However I did bring it back, eventually, but this time I tucked the silks into my trousers belt and had two boys pull the silks and "my underwear out" Much better to turn the joke back on yourself. You'll still get the laughs.
Message: Posted by: markmagic (Jan 16, 2009 09:14AM)
I had something happen this summer, that will keep me from doing the bra or houdini out stripped, I was going to do the at a fair, and have not done either for over 30 yearslose a good gig! . I purchased new sets of both. The fair board president on opening night asked me if I had heard about A certain pyschic, doing the KY fair circuit. He told me in one of his readings on a 14 year old girl the sex card came up. Te psychic told her it meant for her to be careful, not to get pregnant. She told her mom, who complained to the committee. They escorted him out in a police cruiser! I decided not to take a chance with the bra. Not that I would have used a minor, but one complaint is all it takes to lose a good gig
Message: Posted by: montymagi (Jan 16, 2009 09:22AM)
On the occassions when I do this trick,and they are not often, I have a couple come up. I tell them I am doing a dove production. I act very shy and try to relay to the husband without coming out and saying it, that I need him to pull her shirt out just a little so I can have it hold the silks. When It does not work and the bra comes out instead I act flabergahsted. It gets a lot of laughs, husband is there to make sure she feels safe and in the end it looks like the joke is on me and not her. But like I said I don't do it often because you have to be sure you are in the right venue for this trick. Hope that helps.
Message: Posted by: gaddy (Jan 16, 2009 02:12PM)
On 2004-08-23 00:55, RonCalhoun wrote:
And NO, its not funny when done with a young child.

but it IS funny when you do it on a big man with a beard. Make sure you hand it to him to hold right up high afterwords and to frame the moment.
Message: Posted by: G.Gilbert (Jan 18, 2009 08:59PM)
When I think of "Baffling bra" on the streets I think of Keith / Wilsoni Balloonatik .. he has the best routine IMO ...

The tension for this amazing stunt is built up throughout the whole show .. and all at once finally released / he does the baffling bra trick right before collecting..
Message: Posted by: Faulkner (Jan 18, 2009 09:22PM)
I was about to mention Keith's routine. He was working Royal street Sat. He is a gentleman and knows how to work the effect.
Message: Posted by: RJE (Apr 19, 2009 09:22AM)
We do it as part of our children's shows sometimes as can be seen in this video filmed during one of our theme park performances.

Message: Posted by: rpierce (Oct 25, 2010 07:02PM)
I have a roast to do and everyone knows each other so this would be appropriate, does anyone have a good patter to share for this, everything on youtube is lame.
Message: Posted by: RiffRaff (Oct 25, 2010 07:48PM)
Frank Starsinic rescently took everyone's 'good patter'. You should ask him.
Message: Posted by: Brent McLeod (Nov 1, 2010 11:47PM)
I wouldnt do this on the street in a show-too many nutters!!

but Ive used in many times in Adult shows where the audience is raring to have a good laugh, expereience
tells you when to use this!!
and mainly at comedy clubs etc

Other than that it stays in the case
Message: Posted by: ed rhodes (Nov 5, 2010 10:47PM)
My Uncle Bob would do the bra trick. But then, my Uncle Bob was a very crass person. Lovely, wonderful magician, but crass.