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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Now that’s funny! » » Constructing a comedy magic act from scratch. (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

magicgeorge
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Hello,
I usually do kid's shows but have also had a fair amount of performing for adults in a walk-around situation. My set tricks for walk-about go down well and also get laughs but unfortunatly there's quite a few stock gags in there (sorry I'm a magician it's inbred). What I would like to do now is try to construct a comedy show for adults for parlour/small caberet situations.
What I really want to achieve is a fresh completely original act using tricks I like to perform rather than tricks specifically designed for comedy. Before I begin I would like to pick your brains to make sure I'm going in the right direction.

For a parlour act what's the good length of a set? 30/40 minutes?
What's a good length of time to spend on a single routine or effect?
Is it essential to keep the magic going, would it be advisable to include a few monologues/verbal interactions for 5 or so minutes between effects.
When picking effects for the act what are the main things to bear in mind?
When writing comedy patter for effects what's the best way to go about it, any golden rules to bear in mind?
Any other tips/considerations to help me start out?

Thanks in advance,
George
0pus
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Quote:
On 2006-02-13 14:19, magicgeorge wrote:

For a parlour act what's the good length of a set? 30/40 minutes?



I am not entirely sure what venue you are trying to capture.

If it is a comedy club, I think you should shoot at 20 minutes (but a SOLID 20).

In other venues, I think you will have to conform with the venue's expectations. In a home, at a party, you might need 45 minutes for adults.

Quote:

What's a good length of time to spend on a single routine or effect?



That really depends on how you are playing it. It is not unthinkable that a 20 minute set would include only one or two routines.

Quote:

Is it essential to keep the magic going, would it be advisable to include a few monologues/verbal interactions for 5 or so minutes between effects.



Keep going -- don't stop. The entire act should flow. Segues are important.

Quote:

When picking effects for the act what are the main things to bear in mind?
When writing comedy patter for effects what's the best way to go about it, any golden rules to bear in mind?



You want the effects to fit your character and fit with the comedy. Patter can be created for a previously chosen effect or can be written first with appropriate effects being chosen or developed afterward.

What do you want to accomplish with the act? What character is the audience supposed to see when you appear before them?

Why not suggest an effect here, give some parameters for your planned performance and see if members of the Café would be willing to offer suggestions for your patter? It could serve as an interesting jumping off point.
magicgeorge
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Hi Opus, thanks for your reply.
The market I will eventually be going for is probably homes and private venues. One of the reasons I'm undertaking the venture is there have been a couple of occasions where I was hired for adult parties and I explained that I offered walkaround magic. Since everyone gathered around anyhow I realised that a show would've been much more appropriate.If I do do comedy clubs I hope performing this act will help me break my teeth in for a comedy club set. Take a 40 minute set and turn it into a tight 20 minute one.

Quote:
Quote:
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Is it essential to keep the magic going, would it be advisable to include a few monologues/verbal interactions for 5 or so minutes between effects.
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Keep going -- don't stop. The entire act should flow. Segues are important.


Does this mean don't stop the tricks? What I was thinking was not a break in the performance but a part of the act where I'm just doing a bit of comedy propless as a segue, or an intro.
Interestingly, a lot of your replies fit in with my thinking behind constructing kid's shows. When designing kid's routines I know my character and I know what makes kids laugh so putting it all together comes naturally, I don't have to think about the process whereas trying to put together adult magic and comedy has me constantly thinking: "will this work?", "am I going about it the right way?"

My character will be just me exaggerated a little, a bit wacky but not irritatingly so with some more intelligent humour mixed in. Likeable,funny (obviously),agreeably sarcy on occasion.
I have a few ideas for my first routine which will be a version of Sankey's Earplugs, I will post that in rough, shortly. However I thought I might ask a more general questions before taking the plunge and putting that one to the wolves.

Thanks again,
George
nathanallen
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Good advice.
Keep it going - this means something is going on - no dull points between tricks... My onstage persona is a highly-energetic caffiene addict, so it's easy to stay high energy.... As a result of the caffiene, my mind bounces around a lot, and sometimes I go off on a tangent...
Now that I think of it, my character is probably hyper-active and ADD... hmmm
What was I talking about? Dick Cheney shot a lawyer.
Nathan Allen, The Maniac of Magic
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To buy a prop is nothing.
To write a good routine is something.
To really entertain an audience is everything.
C Christian
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As a starting point go with what you know....for example lets say in your kid show you do a great tear and restore news paper with lots of laughs and gags. This should be your starting point look at this effect and start writing towards adult patter. Keep writing till you have gold. See if you can change your handling a bit to fit an assistant from the audience, leave no stone unturned.
hope this helps chris
magicgeorge
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That's pretty good idea, Chris. Although my kid's show is aimed at the little'uns there are parts that the adults love. Particularly the monkey puppet and the raccoon. I might take the raccoon routine and rewrite it, scrap the "wiggle your fingers" and add a few sophisticated gags.
I'm pretty hyper-active on stage too Nathan, probably overly so I need to find a balance where it's energetic but I'm not bouncing around like a complete goon,I have to be a little smooth I suppose.
Thanks,
George
nathanallen
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Quote:
On 2006-02-16 20:02, magicgeorge wrote:
... need to find a balance where it's energetic but I'm not bouncing around like a complete goon...


There it is! George The Goon!
It's brilliant! Cheers!
:hotcoffee:
Nathan Allen, The Maniac of Magic
www.maniacofmagic.com

To buy a prop is nothing.
To write a good routine is something.
To really entertain an audience is everything.
sweetcarl
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If you think you can pull it off, why not just do a kids show for adults? Treat them EXACTLLY like little kids at a birthday party buzzing on purple Kool-Aid and birthday cake. The more you treat them like little kids, the funnier it could be... IF you can get them to play along.
Adults - especially women - love to get into role-playing. And everything that was funny in second grade is funny again when you're a grown-up. But to pull it off, you would have to be in TOTAL control from the moment you walked into the venue - acting like a self-important school principal and bossing them around mercilessly. Your act would have to be SUPER tight, but it could be total hilarity. Especially since with this approach, there would be massive latitude for double entendre.
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Dan Monroe
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Its true a lot of the same tricks can be performed for children and adults by just changing your patter and presentation. Rope tricks are good for this. look at prof. nightmare it can be done tame with silly patter to very risque for adults and for a more general aud. some where in the middle.

Dan
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Magicshore
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To add to what Dan has suggested, I do a lot of family shows and to captivate the age span I'll often take a kid oriented trick and turn it into an adult/kid effect.As an example..I often include Confusing Crayons in my shows and I start the trick by asking the kids " Hey kids, are you tired of hearing your parents always saying..." Put it back the way you found it ?" This always gets a loud and agreeable response from the kids which catches their attention and gets them on my side. Then I remark " Well I think we should see if our parents can do the same thing that they expect of us...right?" Again, the kids are now on the soapbox with me and anxious to put a parent to the test. Then I select, usually a father, and I try to get a father who obviously has at least a few of his own kids with him. Bringing him on to the stage provokes verbal encouragement from his own kids, and of course the other kids in the audience jump right in just as if their own father was being picked to be the example. Once Dad is next to me, I ask him if he always tells his kids to put things back the way they found it. After dad responds that he does, I say " Well then I think we should see if you also can do what you expect your kids to do. I then introduce the tubes and crayons and go into the effect. Without fail, all, and I mean all, the kids respond with laughter and along with that laughter the kids enjoy that " now dad can't do what he expects us kids to do". The kids get that " Well what about you, dad? " feeling that puts the heat back on the parent instead of the child. I usually end it after several failed attempts by the dad to get his bottle right by saying " Well, I guess dad has a lot to learn from his kids"
This routine has been a favorite of mine and of the audience. As with this trick, you can often take the theme of many tricks and create patter that will apply to either the child or the parent/adult. I hope that gives some assistance in putting some new life into some of those tricks, Confusing Crayons included.
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