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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The side walk shuffle » » Humor Coach (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Tom Frank
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While at the World Magic Seminar I came to a humbling realization. I'm not half as funny as I think I am. Or to be more to the point, I am the only one who finds most of my humor funny. It's genetic actually, my father and I once defined true Frank humor as humor that only the person who's telling it gets. . . make sense?

I asked Steve Ameden to be my humor coach while at the convention. I would spew some stupid **** I thought was funny, then look at him and say "Funny or Not Funny?" at which point he would tell me, matter a fact which it was. The purpose of this was to identify what was and was not funny. There were a few bugs in this system, as comedy is highly subjective and what is funny to some may not be funny to others.

This experiment continued last weekend as I street performed at the market. Jake was standing around watching me and I asked him to do the same thing. I let in a few of my audience members and before long they were actively participating in this strange "on the fly" evaluation of my act.

This experiment (which started out as a joke. . . that I thought was funny) blossomed into it's own sort of thing. In Gazzo's booklet "The Art of Krowd Keeping" he explains the problems of starting a show too soon. This has always been a bit of a problem for me. Last weekend, I did my card tricks to gather the crowd, I would start to go into the cups, when I would break character, look at the crowd and confess to them that I am not as funny as I think. I asked them to help me in an theatrial experiment in the understanding of comedy. I explained to them the whole funny, not funny thing. I further explained that at any point I may point to someone in the crowd and ask them, "Funny or Not Funny". I added that they did not need to wait for me to ask and they could offer up their opinion at any point.

I was amazed at how well this worked! Not only as a bit, but as an actual way to help me understand what is and isn't funny to most people. The biggest unexpected benefit was, that I was connecting with my audience in a new and profound way. It opened my show up in a new way and slowed me down.

At the end of the weekend I tried a few shows using all of the data from these experiments to remove all the jokes that were not funny.
Mario Morris
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Frank
Not only did I find that really funny I actually understood you for once.
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Mario
Bill Palmer
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Most people think that comedy cannot be taught. Maybe, maybe not. But there is one book that I recommend above all others. It is a book by Steve Allen called How to Be Funny.

It will get your funny juices flowing.
"The Swatter"

Founder of CODBAMMC

My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

www.cupsandballsmuseum.com
BAH1313
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Great Tom, now I'm wandering if I'm funny.
This is gonna take some serious introspect. Do you mind if I use your theory? I'd like to find out how funny I am now that you've got me thinking.
I am truly blessed to have a job where people are laughing all the time and everyone believes in magic....Come to think of it, I'm blessed to even have a job.
johnnymystic
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I have that book Bill!

Now it's time to read it...

johnny
I drink cheap tequila and vomit
<BR>I cannot eat hot wings...acid reflux
<BR>I never inhale Smile
<BR>I can put a field dress on a deer
BAH1313
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Johnny, from your picture, I'd say you are pretty funny. That's hilarious!
I am truly blessed to have a job where people are laughing all the time and everyone believes in magic....Come to think of it, I'm blessed to even have a job.
johnnymystic
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Bah, thanks! That thing on my head is the 'Super Gallo Meta Mindtronic Alpha Wave Projection Unit'...it sends thought waves from one person to another, it's part of what I hope is a funny mindreading routine.

This thread does make one think though.

johnny
I drink cheap tequila and vomit
<BR>I cannot eat hot wings...acid reflux
<BR>I never inhale Smile
<BR>I can put a field dress on a deer
Doug Higley
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Good stuff Tom...after you define the parameters, then you should continue the study and subdivide into separate routines...

1. 'Funny' 2. 'Kind of Funny' 3. 'Only I think it's Funny'

Then see which routine gets the most hat!

#3's 'sympathy hat' might surprise you...or not. Smile

Doug
Higley's Giant Flea Pocket Zibit
Tom Frank
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Good stuff gang!

I like bouncing ideas off of you guys. It reaffirms that I am not a moron.

Peace
Bill Palmer
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Or that all of us are morons and none of us knows it!

Seriously, Tom. Get that book. It changed the way I looked at humor. Some will say that it is dated -- but it's like Fitzkee. The examples are dated, but the principles aren't.
"The Swatter"

Founder of CODBAMMC

My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

www.cupsandballsmuseum.com
Tom Frank
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Thanks Bill, I'll do that!

TF
bropaul
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Tommy, why do you do things like this. 32 years of doing this stuff and I just took it for granted if the audience laughed, then they thought the bit or line was funny.

Now I have to question what I was taking for granted. Are they laughing at the line? Are they laughing at the bit? Are they laughing at me? OR are they laughing because they think they should laugh at that time.

I'm so confused. I guess I'll be checking it out on a day to day, show to show basis and hope that I can at least keep my timing where it should be while I'm being paranoid about everything else in my show.

OR... Maybe I'll just keep doing what I'm doing and not try to improve anything. I'll think about it.

So now if my show is completely screwed up, I can only blame it on you. Thanks buddy.
Bro. Paul West

www.BrotherPaulMagic.com
johnnymystic
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Is it okay if they laugh at the line, the bit and at me, 'cuz that seems to be what happens when I perform.

Hey Tom, I've watched your cups and balls routine a dozen times now, thanks for putting it up! I gleaned a lot from it. I realy needed to see what the C&B's was like live in a street setting to kinda get the feel for it ya know. I'm also gonna try and convince my wife that I need the Phoenix Cups.

Also, yesterday was my fist offical day of busking, I made a little under a hundred bucks, I know I woulda got more if I was in a city, however I'm in the berkshires.

johnny
I drink cheap tequila and vomit
<BR>I cannot eat hot wings...acid reflux
<BR>I never inhale Smile
<BR>I can put a field dress on a deer
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