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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Nothing up my sleeve... » » David Roth on Letterman Show (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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wsduncan
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In my humble opinion the two best moments in the history of close-up magic (in my magic "lifetime") are Roth on Letterman and Mike Ammar on The Tonight Show with Johnny, Arnold, and Billy Crystal.

Both show master close-up magicians working in "real world" conditions where the audience can, AND DOES, makeup their own lines instead of sitting passively and watching.

In Ammar’s case, minutes before the performance, he found out that instead of having just Arnold and Johnny (what he’d blocked and rehearsed for a week) that one of the world best improvisational comics would also be joining them. Michael has literally seconds to adapt and go on.

When you watch the tape, the smooth Ammar we all know, stammers a couple of times and his smile looks a bit forced. Arnold is cracking jokes and so is Crystal. Johnny even gets into the play and at one point does a Stan Laural impression. It’s every close up magicians nightmare with three cameras on it.

Michael hits it out of the ballpark just as Roth did. Because they’re both pros and because that’s what close up magic is about. It’s about ripping down that third wall and sitting right on the edge of the stage. It’s dangerous out there but when it works there’s no magic that can compete with it.
Bradley Morgan
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You said it!!

Brad
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TrcikPony
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Right on wsduncan!! You hit it out of the ballpark with your take on this!!!


Smile
Bob Gerdes
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Quote:
On 2003-09-28 21:49, wsduncan wrote:
In my humble opinion the two best moments in the history of close-up magic (in my magic "lifetime") are Roth on Letterman and Mike Ammar on The Tonight Show with Johnny, Arnold, and Billy Crystal.


I remember reading somewhere Ammar's account of this appearance (maybe on the web somewhere?). I think he even had the flu on top of it all. He commented that it was one of the first times he REALLY felt nervous.

Out of curiosity, what did he perform on that appearance? (I haven't seen it.)
Eschew obfuscation
Larry Barnowsky
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Didn't he float a dollar bill?
Mark Ennis
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I found it amusing that Letterman's band played "Jump" by Van Halen when introducing David Roth (coincidentally the guy that used to sing for Van Halen, back when they were good, was David Lee Roth.)

Personally I thought David Roth did well despite the fact that Letterman interrupted him. Letterman was definitely impressed.
ME
Bob Gerdes
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Quote:
On 2003-09-29 17:09, The Original Countelmsley wrote:
Didn't he float a dollar bill?


I thought that he did that on his FIRST Tonight Show appearance.

They changed things on him at the last minute for his second appearance, when he was ill/nervous, I thought.

Anyone know?

:confused:

OK... I found where Mr. Ammar talks about his 2 Tonight Show appearances. It was on the Kevin James discussion board:

http://www.kjmagic.com/forum/index.php?a......08742d2e

But he doesn't say what effects he did.
Eschew obfuscation
twistedace
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In Ammar's case, I forget who shuffled the deck, but someone shuffled the deck and asked him to find the four aces. He acted nervous and he looked through the deck to "see where they were". Then he went to shuffle it and his left hand fingers got "caught" in four different places in the deck due to his "nervousness". The four places were you guessed it, where the four aces were.

Oh, and as far as Roth goes... I love David’s magic but I think he was way too scripted and his interaction was poor. David Letterman was the average spectator you would usually encounter in the real world situation. That being said, Roth chose the right material, simple visual and quick. Interaction wasn't all that great. Like I said, I'm not knocking his magic, it's incredible and I'm a fan, just a bit disappointed to see that his real world personality is the same exact thing as his videos (scripted too rigidly.)
Ken Abbott
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I recently spoke to David Roth about his performance on the Letterman show. David expressed how difficult Letterman has been to magicians. Some of those situations turned out very poorly. David knew of that history and requested a material covered table as opposed to using a close-up pad, as he expected Letterman to pull it up and look under it during his performance.

It was obvious to me that, considering the various interruptions of patter and slights, as well as when Letterman picked up his coins, David was as polite and interactive as one could be. It would certainly have been a mistake to try to outdo Letterman with witty comeback lines.

Having met David Roth and spoken to him, I can say that he is a true gentleman, and even nicer than on his videos.

Ken Abbott
gforster
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Quote:
On 2003-04-28 15:24, JonTown wrote:
We have an opportunity here...

How about that faxing line?


How long have people been looking for motivation for 3fly? Why do they go individually instead of all at once? Whether you like Letterman or not, he may have given a good "breakthrough" for coin magic. Why not use the faxing line? Wow, I can think of so many different ways to incorporate it, too!
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TheAmbitiousCard
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I don't think Letterman was your typical spectator at all. He was like your typical heckler who wants all the attention during someone else’s performance.

You do run into those types, of course, but I would say your average performing magician commands more respect from your typical spectator. Letterman has no respect. Why should he?
What fun is that? Letterman clearly had no interest in the magic. Compare him with Carson. If I remember, Letterman didn't have much of a reaction either except more one-liners. He's just that type.

All this is just in a day's work, however, for a magician.

I think Roth was smart for what he did. I think it was the best thing to do if he actually wanted to get thru his material. If he pursued Letterman's taunts more than he did, it could have easily gotten the whole thing off-track and limited his performance to just one effect... or worse case... NONE!

Every word Roth uttered was one more second for less magic. That's how I saw it. I would hopefully do the same thing instead of getting sucked into Letterman's one-man-show.


Remember... there's a commercial coming in 3 minutes.
He's not at the Magic Castle.

Letterman doesn't care that Roth gets through his material. He just wanted to get in his one-liners and make people laugh (which if fine too from his perspective.)

So they both got what they wanted the audience to see.

I also think that it was good that Roth finished standing up. That is a much stronger finishing position than sitting.


To say, Roth should have said this or that or the other thing is 20-20 hindsight and if you're really wanting people to remember your effect, probably inappropriate as well.

Do you think Letterman checked in on him before the show and said, "Is there any way I can help? What could I do that would showcase your chops."

I doubt it.
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Jeff Haas
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By contrast, Jay Leno is the kind of host who will check in with his guest before the taping and see if there's anything he can do to enhance the show. There was one time that Penn & Teller were on, with a spinning wheel (like a lazy Susan turntable) with mouse traps on it.

The idea was that you'd play Russian roulette, spin the wheel, and then stick your hand into the mousetrap in front of you. The traps all had strings that would keep them from snapping on your fingers, but one had its string cut so it would snap on your fingers.

Penn went first, spun the wheel, and stuck his hand into a trap. The string held and he was OK.

Then it was Jay's turn. It turned out that he had a long pencil in his coat's breast pocket. Hmm, do you think that Penn & Teller gave him that ahead of time? He used that to trigger his trap, but it didn't snap the pencil.

And of course, you can guess how it ended. Teller got his fingers snapped in a trap, and blood spurted all over the place.

Jeff
Joe Mauro
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Quote:
On 2003-04-12 00:07, Ambitious Card Freak wrote:
I believe that most of the members here are from USA and saw this one before. However, I want to share this with all coin magic lovers over the world.

http://www.coinvanish.com/rothonletterman.rm



The link doesn't work for me. Is it anywhere else.
~Joe
Dan Watkins
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I had to move the video file to HERE.
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sugam
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That was great. Love the reaction on the last effect! Thanks for hosting that Dan.
Malcolm Kavalsky
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Fantastic!

I think that watching a scene like this is a great example of "magic under pressure", and how to deal with it. Very educational! I certainly need to oil my routines so that they can withstand any barrage from the spectators.

Also, especially enjoyed the fact that he executed routines from his DVDs, and not some high-powered tricks that no-one else can do. Seeing the reaction from the audience and even from Letterman, just shows the power of these basic effects on laymen.

I vote for this to be a sticky!
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Carron
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Very good Thanks for that Dan I enjoyed it greatly

Tom
Werner G. Seitz
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Letterman behaved like a drunk and a jerk!!!
No doubt in my mind..
When inviting a guest, the intetion is the viewers want to watch and meet him, the guest, and not getting doubtfully entertained by a drunk and jerk..he's on already most of the time!
How could anybody hire him as a replacement for Johnny Carson???..

A very *unsympatic* figure, at least in this clip where DR performed!
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Dan Watkins
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I think you are being a bit harsh on Letterman. Letterman was doing his job, trying to be funny and entertaining. It is clear that he was getting the **** fooled out of him, he did not hide that fact.

I think all the Bridge Mix jokes were jabs at Roth's jacket sleeves being rolled up. I don't quite get the joke, but I never thought the jacket sleeve rolled up look was very natural looking. I understand why magicians do it though.
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Review King
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Werner, stop being over protective. David is a Master and handled the situation like a real pro. If he tried to be overly funny and failed, Letterman would have nailed him.
"Of all words of tongue and pen,
the saddest are, "It might have been"

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