(Close Window)
Topic: Can every magic trick be funny?
Message: Posted by: wizardofsorts (Jan 9, 2005 08:14PM)
I'm working on some strolling routines for adult (not blue) audiences and I'm just having a hard time finding out what is funny about four coins coming together in one corner. Can any magic trick be made funny? If so, what's funny about matrix (rated PG). And, if some tricks just aren't funny, what suggestions do you have for comedy tricks for strolling situations? (Let me repeat, "nothing blue.")
Message: Posted by: The Donster (Jan 9, 2005 08:19PM)
Use your imagination try telling a story with it.
Message: Posted by: wizardofsorts (Jan 9, 2005 08:41PM)
I'm working on it. I'm just not liking the results so far. I guess I just have to trudge on.
Message: Posted by: Mike Robbins (Jan 10, 2005 10:10PM)

Sometimes it's not the trick that's funny, but the magician. From your website, I get the impression that you're a very funny guy - trick or no trick.

Message: Posted by: wizardofsorts (Jan 11, 2005 12:02AM)
Thanks Mike. I am a pretty funny guy, if I don't say so myself, but I'm having trouble transfering my comedy to the adult audience. I'm a clown. Really inside. I don't wear makeup or silly clothes, not too silly anyway, but I'm a physical comedian. So, how do I make a trick like matrix, for example, funny? That's my question.
Message: Posted by: Thomas Wayne (Jan 11, 2005 03:05AM)
On 2005-01-11 01:02, wizardofsorts wrote:
[...]So, how do I make a trick like matrix, for example, funny? That's my question.
Bill Malone does a fine job of making Matrix funny; check his version out on the L&L DVDs.

How? The same way I make Coins Across funny. I introduce the coins with an original funny story that never fails to get a big laugh. I carry on with a follow-up that gets a secondary laugh then I begin the trick proper. After one coin has gone across I explain that it jumped across, it just jumped so fast they couldn’t see it; then I ask: “Would you like to NOT see that again?” This is mildly amusing, without muting the magical aspect of what they’ve just seen. Halfway through - when two coins have gone - I do another original funny bit. After the third coin I’m all business, setting up impossible conditions for the final phase to happen in their hands. That's it; that's all it takes to add humor to an otherwise serious and baffling routine.

In his Matrix (which is very true to the Schneider original), Malone lays out the four coins and then counts off five cards from the deck. He pauses, with an aside to himself: "Four coins... five cards... no, wait a minute, we don't need this one", and he executes the rub-away vanish with one of the cards, immediately laying out just four cards. It's funny and somewhat astonishing and as soon as the laughter dies he charges right through with Matrix - which is a very short routine in its original form.

Stand-up comedy may be about the number of laughs per minute, but comedy MAGIC must also be about the magic. If you think you need a funny line for every little moment or phase, or if you think the patter should be just one joke followed directly by the next one, then you don't understand comedy magic.

I try to use a small bit of comedy within a magic routine to keep the audience entertained and to control their emotional response to the magical spikes. You don't want them laughing during any moment of astonishment, unless the laughter is a natural reaction to being amazed (which often happens independent of the patter). In the same way you wouldn't want someone (or something) stepping on the punch line to a joke you're telling, so you also don't want your joke (comedy patter) to step on the climax to your magic. A sprinkling of humor goes a long way with magic, and is much preferred to trying for a laugh-a-minute response, in my opinion.

Thomas Wayne
Message: Posted by: Reis O'Brien (Jan 11, 2005 06:02AM)
After looking through your site, I find it hard to believe that you can do a matrix routine without being funny! Your character seems infused with humor. I say, just be you and you'll be just fine.
Message: Posted by: bobser (Jan 11, 2005 07:22AM)
Every trick can be funny, but I don't think the tricks themselves need to be. I believe the art of being funny is in the "asides".
Message: Posted by: The Donster (Jan 11, 2005 11:48AM)
Or use trial and error until you find something that works.
Message: Posted by: bnadworn (Jan 14, 2005 09:10PM)
What could not be funny about matrix?!? oh. Never mind. oh. That too huh?
Actually it reminds me of trying to put the kids to bed. I have 4 boys. Just when I send each one to their room they are back together again trying to play on the computer. The thing that bothers me was that it was my turn to be on the computer. Eventually I have to get my wife involved to settle the dispute. I don't know why she things she has 5 kids here.

I think every magic trick can be funny. Whether it needs to be or not is up to you. You could just snicker after each move at some private joke and the audience might just laugh with you too.

I'm sure you will think of something.

Have fun.

- Brian Nadworny
Message: Posted by: sniper1 (Jan 15, 2005 11:59AM)
Come on magic is not funny. The only thing funny is when a magician does one of those mathematical card tricks which take 10 minutess to find a chosen card. "OK now divide the deck in two piles, ok pick them up again and divide them into 2 piles again, and again, again, again. OK now divide them into 4 piles (you see there is originality in here as well) and finally into 2 piles again etc.
Message: Posted by: bnadworn (Jan 15, 2005 03:03PM)
I stand corrected. Actually I'm sitting down. (which is hard to do if you are not a duck)

I have a friend of mine who is a professional comedian. He told me a story of a woman who cannot tell a joke. (Correctly that is) She will tell it in the following manner:

There are these 2 guys walking down the road. Wait! I mean one guy. Anyway. As he is driving down the road. I meant to say driving first. Wait! It was 2 guys, I remember now. No wait that was the punch line. Let me start again.

Hysterical when he tells it. It is funny knowing that there are actually a lot of people out there who tell jokes the same way.

Too funny sniper! I love those tricks. The longer the better. When I watch someone doing that I think to myself that I have lots of time to set up for my next impromptu trick. :)

- Brian Nadworny
Message: Posted by: sniper1 (Jan 16, 2005 07:33AM)
Yeah lol. I love it when one of those magicians visits the club, they are a great stress relievers. They help me catch up on lost sleeping hours.
Message: Posted by: ziatro (Jan 24, 2005 05:14PM)
According to nearly everybody who sees my magic, my tricks and routines are nothing short of hilarious.
I guess I'll have to practice a little more.
Message: Posted by: Payne (Jan 24, 2005 05:32PM)
You can find humor in anything.
Remember, A comic says funny things, a comedian say things funny.
Message: Posted by: Comedy and then the magic (Jan 26, 2005 05:12AM)
Remember, that you can make any trick funny, but don't try to force it out of the trick or yourself. If you are going to do comedy magic, make sure you know how to do it and do your research by taking improv classes, theatre classes and maybe trying to build your character and see if your character onstage is a funny guy.
Message: Posted by: funnymagic (Feb 3, 2005 10:48AM)
Every trick can and should be funny!
We are there to entertain!

What's the difference between chopped beef and pea soup?
Everyone can chop beef, but not everyone can pea soup!
Message: Posted by: lochmann4522 (Nov 28, 2018 01:26PM)
Have a look at what Mel Mellers does with simple magic tricks.
I am always impressed by the way he presents magic tricks...
Message: Posted by: Ioannes (Jul 24, 2020 12:24PM)
[quote]On Feb 3, 2005, funnymagic wrote:
Every trick can and should be funny!
We are there to entertain! [/quote]

That is true. We're here to bring a smile on people's faces.
Message: Posted by: Kim Van Weert (Jul 25, 2020 02:45AM)
A physical comedian? Then it requires a physical premise for funny.
You are intent to assemble the coins in one corner...but the coins keep assembling in another corner.
Play up your reaction of confusion and frustration - and you have your comic premise.
Forget story and play your strength.

Kim :)
Message: Posted by: Theodore Lawton (Sep 6, 2020 02:37AM)
I wonder what he came up with 15 years ago? His website is still up so he must be at least enjoying moderate success.

In my head I can hear my friend and magic mentor, Dick Oslund, telling his story of how he got started in magic. He tried to be "suave" and "deboner" at his show, and afterwards he was asked, "can you make them laugh?"
He found he could, and did, and a long career was born.
So the key is "You" as Dick would say in quotes, not the trick.

If you are funny, you'll find a way, it will either come naturally or it won't. You'll either use asides or your physical humor or the basic premise/mechanics of the trick (as mentioned above) or you might be practicing your lines, or performing, and a line or story idea will just come and find it's way into the act. Or any combination of the above.

Oftentimes the ideas come when you least expect it because you're NOT thinking about it. Your taking a shower maybe, or laying down to go to sleep and an idea will suddenly come, completely formed.

Hope he found something that worked for him! And that includes NOT performing it funny if he couldn't be funny for that trick. People get turned off by fake and cheesy so if he naturally wasn't a laugh a minute doing the matrix better off just performing it how he naturally was.

God bless you Dick!
"Down the road!"