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Bill Palmer
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"Diversity" is a load of rubbish and an excuse for people who don't know how to be funny in the first place.

If the one or two people you offend in your audience are the one or two who do the hiring and firing, you are in deep trouble. I'll be willing to bet that most of the people who justify using dirty humor in their acts are guys who do not do this for a living. Professional performers can't afford to do offensive material. It costs them money. That's the bottom line.

Maybe you have to work a little harder to get a laugh without whipping out the Ding Dong. But that's part of WORK.
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Riley
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Absolutely.

Well said Bill.
Bill Palmer
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Thanks, Riley.

Now, I'm going to make a controversial post. I'm going to ask "PhatDad" and "sarancbo" a couple of questions.

1) You make a point of how "different" American audiences are from audiences elsewhere. Have YOU ever worked for an American audience?

I've worked for audiences in England, Scotland, Austria, Germany, the US, Canada and Mexico.

2) Do you actually do paid gigs, or is this just something that you do at parties when the host allows you to get away with it?
"The Swatter"

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My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

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PhatDad
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You got me there.

1) I was refering to the fact that the british seem to be somewhat more liberal than the americans appear. That is a perspective I have taken from reading forums like these and the evidence provided by the media. I also realise that a lot of things I could get away with in my youth I can't get away with now. Although I can still flirt the night away there are some things I have to be careful doing else appear a pervert/dirty old man etc. This change could quite easily be the reason why the older generation of magic can't do the ding dong without it being seen as dirty/nasty while someone younger could. This comes down to reading and knowing the people you perform it for.

2) I never perform. I practise in private when I get a chance. Family, work, study are keeping me from practising too. So I read a magic book when I get a chance and hope that one day, when I'm of the older generation I'll have enough time to go through my magic collection. I don't even own this effect due to the fact its not real enough looking. If I did try the effect on people I'm scared they'd look at it and say 'What's this? What's so funny about an arrow?' The arrow in the amazon.com sign looks more phalic than that.

One thing I think we agree on is that you need to know the people you perform for. A paid gig would be risky but in the right place and setting it can be a valuable effect. I was just trying to suggest to the person asking the original question that they shouldn't necesarily take the 'No NEVER do it' posts as law. He may be like me and have a group of friends he wants to perform this for at a party and never work profesionally as a magician.
saranacbo
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Bill,
For what it's worth, yes, I have indeed done paid gigs--to the tune of about one a week for ten years. I'm not a professional magician, and have no urge to be one, so what you say about being a full-time pro, while of course true, doesn't apply to me. I do magic when, where and how I want to, so I don't have to worry about pleasing everyone all the time (and just FYI, I do get invited back). As for your comment about do I do magic only at parties when the host allows me to get away with it? Your condescension and sarcasm is uncalled for--though I don't expect you to see that, since others' points of view don't seem to be your strong suit. This is apparent with your comment about "diversity being a lot of rubbish." For someone who prides himself on his sophistication, this is a rather telling comment.
David Bilan
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We all have the ability to do what we want without worrying about pleasing everyone.

However (most of the time), if we are trying to make a living, we do worry about pleasing our boss/customer/audience.

The argument here seems to be whether we are performing for a small venue where we know our audience or are trying to make a career for the public at large.

Performing at a comedy club is very different from performing on TV for a kid's show. Red Skelton could probably get laughs at both places. I don't know that Lenny Bruce would have fared so well.

I didn't find Bill's post condescending or sarcastic, but saranacbo found it offensive. And so it is with "adult" humor or magic. It all depends whether the individual finds it offensive and whether the performer/author is willing to take the risk.

I'd rather risk being bland than crude (even though my personal tastes are open and liberal). Your mileage may vary...

David
Yes, I am a magician. No I did not make my hare (hair) disappear... it just took early retirement.
Bill Palmer
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Sarancbo:

You are being awfully testy, aren't you. Wow! One whole job a week for the past 10 years. Why that's 520 jobs.

When I said "Diversity" was a load of rubbish, I meant that in the context you were using it. It is the very fact that an audience may contain all kinds of people that dictates that you must be very careful how you present yourself and your effects.

Not many people can get away with "Larry the Cable Guy."

When you do this to keep a roof over your head, you can't afford to offend your audience. That doesn't mean you can't be funny. If you don't know how to do that, then you shouldn't even try.

PhatDad.

You are basing your opinions of American audiences on hearsay.
"The Swatter"

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My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

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magicalaurie
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Quote:
On 2005-12-23 11:16, Bill Palmer wrote:
"Diversity" is a load of rubbish and an excuse for people who don't know how to be funny in the first place.

Maybe you have to work a little harder to get a laugh without whipping out the Ding Dong. But that's part of WORK.


I agree, Bill. Cheap is cheap and the payoff is too.
PhatDad
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Quote:
On 2005-12-23 16:20, Bill Palmer wrote:

PhatDad.

You are basing your opinions of American audiences on hearsay.



I am basing the oppinion that there are far more people open to such an effect without being offended than the blanket statement that it should never be done at anytime for anyone that was at the start of the thread the oppinion the original poster was receiving.

I'm think we're all correct here. You're correct in what you say under the circumstances you do your magic, the rest of the guys saying 'no don't do it' are also correct and those of us that are saying 'hey, the circles we move in aren't as easily offended as some and would allow us to use this effect with no offence taken to anyone so if you're the same why not try' are also correct.

I just don't think someone should write off an effect because he's listened to nay sayers who don't actually know the whole story. The information given wasn't really that informative as to the type of person the original poster is and what his circle of friends/customers are.

If I had come on here with the same question and was told not to do it then I'd feel really bad, 20 years down the line when I realise that I could have got a lot of laughs out of it. Maybe if the people that told me not to do it had known my situation better they'd have not said don't do it.

I'm not sure if what I said above makes sense as It's very early in the morning and I need my bed. My apologies if its gobble-de-gook.
Bill Palmer
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Let me clarify my position on the UK "media experts" and their opinions of "the American audience."

The UK is an interesting group of countries. It has a total land area of roughly 92K sq. miles and a population of about 59 millon people. Roughly 1/5 of them are concentrated in once city, London. If you have travelled all over the UK, you know that audiences in one part may react differently to a given piece of material than the audiences in another part. The High Church people in Stornoway are certainly not going to find the Ding Dong as funny as, perhaps, the yobs at a comedy club in London.

The continental US -- sans Alaska and Hawaii -- is roughly 3.7 million square miles. Although we have one city that is roughly the size of London, New York City, a much smaller percentage of our people live in that area. Our population is roughly 300 million people. We have several well-defined population centers that have their own cultures and their own audiences. For example, Los Angeles has a different "atmosphere" than San Francisco.

To assume that an audience in Houston will react the same as an audience in, for example, Dallas, is totally wrong. Audiences in Nashville react differently than audiences in Chicago. The basic cultural structures of these areas are radically different. But all of these are relatively large cities, much larger than anything else in the UK other than London, itself.

In fact, audiences in one section of any large town may be completely different from audiences in another part of town. It depends on local demographics. Corporate audiences are usually quite diverse. But if you really want to see "diverse," you should do a strolling gig at an open house for an industrial supply company. Before I retired, I did a lot of these. I still do one occasionally. The audience will contain a wide variety of ethnic groups, including people from Europe, Asia and South America. You are likely to see bikers, cable installers, and CEO's of major corporations. And you have to know how to communicate with all of them. This is a skill that you don't learn overnight.

The idea of a generic, monolithic "American" audience is really rather laughable.



If I got my opinion about the US from English television, I would probably think the same way that many of the Brits on this forum think. In fact, if I got it from American television programming, I would have a different opinion. American programming is directed almost entirely towards Los Angeles and New York City. When they go out to other areas, such as Atlanta, there is always an kind of condecension to the area implied in the scripts.

My objections to this kind of material in general and this particular piece of material specifically are not based on some kind of personal prudishness. Not at all. There was a time when I worked dirty. It cost me money. Now I don't.

I found it far more satisfying to get a "real" laugh from "real" humor, than to get an embarrassed guffaw from someone who would never hire me back again.
"The Swatter"

Founder of CODBAMMC

My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

www.cupsandballsmuseum.com
Jonathan Townsend
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Quote:
On 2005-12-04 12:08, NYillusionist wrote:
...it would be a great closer to liven up a disinterested crowd....


If the audience is disinterested by the sponge balls as is, they might go all the way to disturbed or disgusted when confronted with a sexual reference. If you are performing in a venue where folks are playing spin the bottle and strip poker, perhaps the prop would be an ice-breaker. Outside such a context, the prop may provoke some uncomfortable comparisons as regards size, color and texture. Usually not a good thing in polite company.
...to all the coins I've dropped here
Mtripp
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It is always interesting to see people attempt to justify this kind of garbage.

Here is an example, believe it or not.

One fameous magician did a trick like this. His was to blow up a balloon, make an animal, give it to a woman, then pop the middle with a pin so she had gentalia in each hand.

Har de har har....

Well, if you are old enough, remember the first mini-van promotion? Doug Henning did the ads? Karrell Fox was to find magic talent for the NATION WIDE mall promotion.

I was always slated to be one of them. The second slot was between two other magicians, one of them the guy I spoke of. So Karrell, the agent, and a rep from the Auto Company, all went to see them work. They went to the guy I spoke of first, and what do you think he did for them as his BEST trick???

Yep, har de har har......

As they walked out, having never even seen the second guy, the auto rep said to Karrell and the agent, "Hire the other guy"

Do as you wish, but just think, why do you think so many people have a poor opinion of magicians?
PhatDad
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Can I ask what year this was in?
Bill Palmer
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The year doesn't really matter.

NO CORPORATE EXECUTIVE WILL HIRE A PERFORMER WHO AUDITIONS WITH MATERIAL LIKE THAT.

Corporate promotions have to be squeaky clean.
"The Swatter"

Founder of CODBAMMC

My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

www.cupsandballsmuseum.com
Mtripp
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1983 - Plymouth Voyager Promotion

But Bill is right....

...and I can tell other stories if need be.
cinemagician
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Phat Dad, what is "magical" about this effect at all? What specific supernormal power is being exhibited with a performance like this? What "magical effect" is taking place? If one really were a magician with any kind of mystical powers why would he waste it on a demonstration like this. What meaning could an effect like this have if any? I feel sorry for someone who has to resort to a gag like this in order to get a cheap laugh or shock reaction from an audience. Why not just kick your legs over your head and light one of your own farts? - it would work just as well.
...The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity...

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Mad Jake
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Well it appears that the Magic Sponge Ding Dong definately has some staying power in this thread Smile

Jake
For quality Paul Fox Cups spun on Danny Dew's Paul Fox tooling visit us at www.airshipmagic.com
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