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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The side walk shuffle » » Danny Hustle's stupid busking tip of the week. (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Danny Hustle
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This is just dumb stuff that I've noticed since working the street that I have found important. I pass them on to you in hopes that you don't look as stupid as I did before I found this junk out.

Stupid tip #1.

You need a line for everything....

If an ambulance/fire truck/ or cop car goes by you need a line for it. If a cell phone goes off? You better be prepared. A woman drops and goes into labor you better have a ready quip. A bomb goes off across the street or you hear gunfire down the block, you better find something to say quick or you'll find yourself standing alone.

In my very limited experience I have found that this is a BIG mistake I made and see a lot of other buskers do.

I watched with a heavy heart as a fellow busker lost the edge he worked so long to build today because a kid sailed through on a skateboard and he didn't have a line for it.

He tried to ignore it, the audience followed the kid that went gliding down the street.

Saying ANYTHING would have been better than saying nothing.

Throwing a rock and calling him a jerk would have at least drawn attention back to you. You laugh but I actually saw that work for one magician I know. I know at least two guys on this board who are laughing when they read this because they'll know who the guy is without me having to mention his name.

Say anything!

Best,

Dan-
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"MT is one of the reasons we started this board! I’m so sick of posts being deleted without any reason given, and by unknown people at that." - Steve Brooks Sep 7, 2001 8:38pm
©1999-2014 Daniel Denney all rights reserved.
Peter Marucci
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Absolutely right!
That's one of those things that seems so obvious that it is often overlooked.
Models, actors, etc. call it "splitting the focus", meaning that the audience's attention is drawn away from -- or "split" from -- one person because of what a second person does.
Get that focus back at any cost!!!!!
DoctorAmazo
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OK, so what are some good examples of "focusing" lines?

I'm guessing you two pros have some "all-purpose" lines in addition to responses to specific situations.

I'm also guessing that the woman in labor is a show-stopper that NO line would save! (Maybe "Ladies and gentlemen, some magicians pull rabbits out of hats, but *I* have a NEW twist..." ) Now, THAT's entertainment!

Without tipping your whole arsenal, what are some good face-saving lines?
Danny Hustle
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I'll be honest with you, the BEST stuff I have (and my pal Peter may hit me with a dead bunny for saying this) I got from OLD Robert Orben patter books. Tag-Lines, Rapid Fire Comedy, Bits Boffs and banter, Sight Bits, and the list goes on.

I was AMAZED to see how many lines direct from top acts were in these books. Billy McComb, The Amazing Jonathan, Gazzo, Terry Seabrooke, they all use standard Orben lines in their show.

This is not to say they don't have a TON of their own material, it's just that some of these lines are so good they wind up everywhere.

Orben takes a bad rap (I think) because he has also written some of the toughest of heckler lines and these are often misused and outright abused. He also wrote humor for former presedent Gerry Ford. A guy not known for being a sharp wit..

What people forget is that Mr. Orben also wrote for some of the greatest minds in comedy. The guy wrote for Red Skelton, you can't say much more than that.

Anyway, if you know whewre to look these 40 and 50 year old books are out there and filled with gold just waiting to be reworked.

Will I give you any of my lines? Nope. My lines work for me. They probably wouldn't work for anyone else anyway.

But what I just told you was better than any of my lines anyway.

I just showed you where to go fishin'

Best,

Dan-
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"MT is one of the reasons we started this board! I’m so sick of posts being deleted without any reason given, and by unknown people at that." - Steve Brooks Sep 7, 2001 8:38pm
©1999-2014 Daniel Denney all rights reserved.
Kozmo
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the truth is.... a line to a working pro is worth a $1000.00 or more.....its as important as the trick...really...people would much rather laugh then what go what the f--- .... well you know what I mean....i have lines that are mine and I dont hand them out...i dont blame you for not giving them up dan.....now send me $1000 and I will send you guys a line Smile

hopwever, if you see us perform dont feel bad about borrowing my lines...its ok....use them well

koz
Peter Marucci
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Danny's right; what works for one person may not(and probably won't)work for another.
And, yes, the old books are good sources for supposedly "ad lib" lines; even Orben for some (although I find him about as funny as a migraine!).
You want the humor to be broad, and not particularly cerebral. Remember, most of your street audience was just passing by and therefore are not in the "let's see a show" mode.
This is not the place for subtlety!
Smile
BroDavid
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Excellent advice Danny!

It really doesnt matter where you get the line (as long as you arent blatantly stealing some one else's) but the point is; be ready!

I have said it before, but it apply equally here; Don't think "I will deal with that IF it every happens!" Because the fact is that it absolutely WILL happen.

I also agree with Danny, (saying throwing a rock and yelling would be better...) that the quality is not near as important as the timing and delivery of the retort.

Sure you want good memorable lines, but as tedb points out, a good line is worth a lot, and your lines are priceless. I love the line that Sonny Holiday delivers when a couple of folks begin to leave his performance. (I wont reveal it, as it his, and you can get it on the Cellini video, and I have no rights nor desire to share it) But the point is that he stops them - right now, and does it is a semi-joking way.

But Danny has begun what I hope will be a long series with a great message. Have a line!

Can't wait to see what's next Danny!

BroDavid
If you stand for nothing, you will fall for anything.
Al Kazam the Magic Man
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I think it's a very good idea to have some things ready. Here in Taiwan, the locals are very much like sheep, and they follow a crowd to see what others are looking at as quickly as they will leave if others leave as well. It can be very discouraging to work so hard to get a crowd and then lose them so quickly.
I had an experience lately when I invited the crowd to join me for some exercise and as I got into me routine where they all put up their right hand and pump it up and down and slowly down to their waist and then their pocket to get all of their money to put into my hat, some had seen it before and promptly decided to split (and you guessed it, so did most of the crowd) before I got to the end of the gag with them. OH, well we live and learn.
JoJo
Al Kazam --> Magic guy in Perth Australia
Ron Giesecke
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Danny,

Here's an interesting one I use--at times:

If the situation is odd, and catches me completely off guard, I acknowledge this by pausing, taking out a pen, and pretending to write on my hand, making a verbal reminder to myself to "come up with a line for when somebody inadvertantly throws up near the performance area," or whatever the the "odd" diversion becomes.

This admission of befuddlement actually keeps their attention, and heightens their respect for your ability to "think on your feet."

You are absolutely right on this point--have a line for everything--and practice the empathetic ones as well--when humor would be inappropriate.

--Ron
Danny Hustle
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Quote:
On 2002-10-29 10:19, Ron Giesecke wrote:
Danny,

Here's an interesting one I use--at times:

If the situation is odd, and catches me completely off guard, I acknowledge this by pausing, taking out a pen, and pretending to write on my hand, making a verbal reminder to myself to "come up with a line for when somebody inadvertantly throws up near the performance area," or whatever the the "odd" diversion becomes.

This admission of befuddlement actually keeps their attention, and heightens their respect for your ability to "think on your feet."

You are absolutely right on this point--have a line for everything--and practice the empathetic ones as well--when humor would be inappropriate.

--Ron


This is a GREAT bit! Because it will get a laugh at a moment when you literally have nothing else to say. A perfect utility line.

Wow!

Thanks Ron, that is a gem.

Best,

Dan-
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"MT is one of the reasons we started this board! I’m so sick of posts being deleted without any reason given, and by unknown people at that." - Steve Brooks Sep 7, 2001 8:38pm
©1999-2014 Daniel Denney all rights reserved.
Kaliix
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I agree with what you say about having a line for everything. It is good advice.

What may be more important though is to have the ability to think on your feet. There will always be a situation that you haven't prepared for and the ability to adlib on the spot is a wonderful thing.

You mentioned the skate boarder going through. The first line that immediately came to my mind is, "Darn, and I had all these pebbles in my pocket just waiting for him..."
The greatest obstacle to discovery is not ignorance; it is the illusion of knowledge.
~Daniel J. Boorstin
Elwood
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JB Magic in Blackpool have started selling a book full of lines and gags called "200 Gags, one-liners and intros for Magicians" by Tony McMylor.

Contact details:
Phone: Mark and Tricia Mason 01253 407097
email: sales@jbtv.co.uk
website: http://www.jbtv.co.uk

Remember they're in the UK (check your time differences and international dialling codes before calling!).

Regards,

Elwood.
Joshua Lozoff
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A question for you all. What would you suggest for a magician who uses little or no humor in his routine? When you say "line," do you only mean something funny? Or do you think a performer with a different style also needs lines to pull back the focus?
Joshua Lozoff

joshualozoff.com
BroDavid
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Throwing out a line is like a cowboy throwing a a rope around a herd that is starting to go asrtay. The point is to regain audience attention after an unexpected noise or action.

It doesnt have to be funny, generally it really should be an extension of your style.

The impportant thing is that it brings focus back to you, so you can continue.

BroDavid
If you stand for nothing, you will fall for anything.
Peter Marucci
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To refocus the audience, the line doesn't have to be funny, although it almost always is.
It depends on your style and how you deliver the line.
For example, say a streaker runs through the crowd.
A comedy peformer might do a snap double take and say something like: "And they say I'M strange."
A serious performer might do a slow turn to the audience and use the same line: "And they say I'M strange."
It's not done for laughs the second time but in both instances the line refocusses the audience on the performer.
imgic
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Browsing old threads and thought this one worthy of refreshing...
"Imagination is more important than knowledge."
ROBERT BLAKE
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I would like to tell you about a book called FINDING THE FUNNY by Ryan Pilling. in this 61 page booklet he explain what improvisation is and how to incorporate in your show. great read. Highly recommended.

skateboarder passes by: he, I had a skateboard like that last night .... (old one)

THANKS DANNY
Dick Oslund
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WHAT A G R E A T THREAD!!!

DANNY~~Thanks 3,000,000 for starting this. Your "...where to go fishing..." reminded me of the Abraham Lincoln line: "Give a man a fish--you feed him for a day. Show him how to fish--you feed him for a lifetime." I think you have really started something. A lot of magicians will be getting their hooks and "lines" ready and heading for the fishing "hole"

The only ad lib, I could come up with, quickly, (for the skateboard kid) is: "Excuse me! THIS IS NOT A DRIVE IN THEATRE!" --Not the funniest line I've ever heard, but, it might work.

--I'm reminded of JACK BENNY'S line about comedy: "It's not important that the audience laughs at every joke. What is important is that when you leave the stage, they still like you."

PETER MARUCCI'S follow up re: (splitting the focus) GET THE FOCUS BACK! is ULTRA CRITICAL. Doing school assembly shows (especially HIGH SCHOOLS, I used an old stock line, on the average,at least once a week. A teacher,principal, or a student would walk in late, and walk along the gym bleacher seating right in front of the whole "tip". The stock line: "You're LATE! Did you bring a note?" It always got a chuckle,and the focus came back where it belonged. Of course, I had an advantage. The audience was seated, and there was no "traffic" noise, etc.

RON GIESECKE~~~I'm retired, and now do only a few 40 milers, but I wish I was working, so I could have more opportunities to use that bit!

BROTHER DAVID~~~You certainly said a LOT, in just three sentences!!!

PETER MARUCCI (again) Some old timers may remember JOHN SHIRLEY. John "invented" the BALLOON BARRAGE to finish his balloon act, back in the '50s. It took him around the world. Ed Sullivan said that John's BB was the "...GREATEST CLOSING ACT, WE'VE EVER HAD!"

John was doing a club date back when the "streaking phenomenon" was big. (I think it was St. Louis)and during the cocktail hour, a streaker ran through the room. It created a bit of excitement for the dignified group. After the banquet, John was introduced, and entered in a tuxedo. His opening line absolutely destroyed the audience! He said, "HELLO, HOW DO YOU LIKE ME WITH MY CLOTHES ON?

Yes! There aint no shallow end in the pool! If you're jumping in, you had better know how to swim!
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
writeall
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I'm still disappointed that his "tip of the week" was only the one week. I bet he has more good tips by now, ten years after the original post. Smile
Brent McLeod
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Great thread-

Ive watched Nick Nickolas for years on the street doing Big Shows
& he has a line for almost every prop & action or people passing etc-It makes the show Funny......
whether hes doing Ropes, Cigs, Getting a Lighter or the cups & balls etc..always a comeback

Indoor shows think Michael Finneys Act-a line for all occasions also.........

Or Gazzo-say no more!!
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