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Dannydoyle
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Was that supposed to be funny? again proving the point.
Danny Doyle
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<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
nucinud
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Once you start to dissect comedy, it becomes unfunny.
The best way is to try things and keep the stuff that works.

Sometimes the same routines that work well for one audience, dies with a different audience.
"We are what we pretend to be" Kurt Vonnegut, jr.



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NJJ
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Quote:
On 2006-06-13 09:26, Dannydoyle wrote:
Ok first off the knife thing is an OLD vaudville bit which YOU did not make funny. The bananna thing is just crude. Rehashing old bits does not make you funny. It means you can tell others jokes well.

Second of all making sarcastic remarks does not make you a comedian on any level.

You are pointing out exactly what are some of the problems. Lets say you do have people rolling in laughter, do you understand why? Writing things down does in no way really help you with this.

Thanks for pointing this out so clearly for us. It makes the point perfectly.


Why such curt replies?

Sure, the bit he was discussing was a bit crude but your reply was just rude!

He was trying to make us laugh. He was giving a couple of examples of bits he is working on. One old, one new.

Show some respect for your peers.
Tom Bartlett
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I don’t know that studied comedy, but I was certainly fortunate to have grown up in a time where great comedians performed weekly on TV, and I mean people that could bring a smile to your face one minuet, a tear to your eye the next and then have you rolling on the floor laughing, and never say a four letter word, use an obscene gesture or talk bad about your mama.

Real entertainers, like Red Skeleton, Jack Benny, Milton Beryl, Lucille Ball, Carroll Burnet and so many more I do not have time to list. I must say Red Skeleton had such a impact on me , to this day, images of his performances flash in my mine and bring me a smile and give me warm and pleasant feeling.

Their comedy was feel good and many times they were letting you laugh at them and yourself at the same time showing the human frailties we all posse, not making someone the butt of a rude joke or making us feel stupid or small like the in your face comedians and yes, some magicians of to day are doing.

Great comedy entertains so does great magic, we should all study both.
Our friends don't have to agree with me about everything and some that I hold very dear don't have to agree about anything, except where we are going to meet them for dinner.
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Judy Carter's books are probably the best 'how-to' books for aspiring joke writers... if you want to teach yourself. Otherwise, as in magic, there's no substitute for experience. And telling other people's jokes will get you nowhere. Because it says nothing about YOU. If you look at the best comics of the past 30 years: Carlin, Robert Klein, Richard Pryor, Chris Rock, Ray Romano, etc., you'll see that their act was uniquely THEM. Their essence, their "gestalt", set them apart. Part of the problem for magicians in comedy clubs goes further than the writing- it's the fact they're all doing variations on the same trick- the comedy equivalent to every comedian doing a "McNuggets" joke, or a "Why don't they make the plane out of the same thing they make the black box out of" joke. Unfortunately, there's a stigma attached to magicians (unfair as it is), in that today's savvy audience is EXPECTING them to be hack, because they've seen the same linking rings so many *** times. The same cut and restored rope. A comic has an advantage, in that even though he may be twice the hack as the magician who preceeded him, he hits the stage as an unknown commodity... in other words, the audience keeps an open mind... "Maybe this guy with the quirky fact will have something funny to say"... until they realize either he's not funny, he's a hack... or perhaps he is funny. But at least he gets that fighting chance. When someone's introduced as a magician, the stigma is already attached. Me, personally- I'm an aspiring mentalist, certainly not a good one at this early point in my development, and I don't claim to do one *** new thing! But I also don't perform mentalism in public. I'm just trying to learn the basics from Corinda, Osterlind, Cassidy, Annemann, etc. HOWEVER, I did perform stand-up for a living over 17 years, and taught it as well, before becoming David Letterman's head monologue writer for over 4 years, and then going on to write for Bill Maher and The Tonight Show. Not to self-promote -(I guess it's too late for that now, eh?), but I can honestly say that in my experience, talent and hard work wins out. In the arts... in any field. Yes, we can (and should) learn from others, but eventually, it's our individual personality reflected in our original material that will make us unique, and therefore, memorable.

Gabelson
sniper1
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Judy carters books are a must have for the serious comedy worker , some other books which might come in handy for a comedy magician are , david ropers , and bil severns , and if your lucky and manage to find the book , how to add comedy to your act by lou derman buy that aswell ( altough its been out of print for ages)

Posted: Jun 14, 2006 3:38am
Quote:

On 2006-06-13 08:44, sniper1 wrote:
Well what can I say from my point of view , is that some people are made , while others have a natural knack at comedy , if like me , you were the guy in school who always had a fast remark ready for every occasion , the guy who whenever friends are around usally has people rolling with laughter , than most probabblt you are a natural , but even naturals , have a database where they get ideas , and concepts , me for example , I watch everything which I deem funny , and store good ideas in a note book , who knows they might come in handy sometime . a good exercise is to watch an effect and say to yourself now how do I make this funny .

wow I have arrived to the point that I'm actually qouting myself . well unfortunetly the above post got understood the wrong way , the message I was trying to say was that to some people who are born funny have a natural tendency for understanding what makes people laugh , in fact I remember when I was still young and started analyzing comedy , it was the result of telling a simple joke . what I noticed was why was it that when a friend of mine told a joke all he got were a couple of grins and when I said the same joke I got belly laughs . at first I tought like everybody else and said well its not the joke but who tells the joke . but after that I wondered what made me diferent frim this guy anyway , and first thing I noticed was the voice tonality , unlike him I wasnt telling the joke in a montonous tone sounding like a cannabis smoker trying to lecture a class about ancient history . no when I was telling the joke my voice was full of enthiusiasm . secondly this guy was telling the joke and standing there like a stiff . while when I looked at myself I noticed that I was using hand gestures and facial expressions . this can go on ad libitum , but you can simply sum it up as personality . that is what makes you original . off-course I didn't know back then the technicalities for these gestures and timing, and tonality, pauses, etc. but I was aware of them still the same.

seondly while others might disagree on carrying a small journalist pad with you all the time I find it really usefull and as I said when you see or hear something that makes you laugh, write it down in the pad, what I forgot to mention in my hurry to try to get my point tru was that next to the funny thing usually I write what made it funny for me. and as said the note book will come in handy in those brain storming comedy writing sessions . remember its a waste of brain power to go into a omedy writing session with a blank mind. so having some refernce material will help a lot and reduce those annoying mind blank episodes.

Posted: Jun 14, 2006 3:44am
I forgot to mention , try to get all the books published by karrel fox aswell

Posted: Jun 14, 2006 4:03am
Quote:

On 2006-06-13 23:50, gabelson wrote:
Unfortunately, there's a stigma attached to magicians (unfair as it is), in that today's savvy audience is EXPECTING them to be hack, because they've seen the same linking rings so many *** times. The same cut and restored rope. A comic has an advantage, in that even though he may be twice the hack as the magician who preceeded him, he hits the stage as an unknown commodity... in other words, the audience keeps an open mind... "Maybe this guy with the quirky fact will have something funny to say"... until they realize either he's not funny, he's a hack... or perhaps he is funny. But at least he gets that fighting chance. When someone's introduced as a magician, the stigma is already attached.
Gabelson

while the above unfortunatly is very true . doesn't mean one cannot be succesfull in the comedy club ciriut as a comedy magician . first and formmost you will have to rely a bit more on stand up than on magic ( you have to be more of a comedian doing a bit of magic that a magician trying to do a bit of comedy )

a good example of the above is IL MAGO FOREST . he is an italian comedian who dabbles in magic , I didn't say that he is a comedy magician for the simple reason that most of the magic things which he does don't work , and those which work usually have some wacko method to get the effect .

an example of the above was when he did a card divination effect

what the audience saw , a pack of 5 jumbo cards is shuffled , one is picked , returned to the pack and shuffled . magicians starts bringing cards up one at a time to forehead and divines chosen card .

method , this is what really got them rolling , he took a 1kg hunk of italian salami out of his jacket pocket and explained that while the card was being chosen he wet his hand with the salami juices and then handled the chosen card to cover it with the smell of salami, and then when he was bringing the cards to his forehead he was actually sniffing for the correct card .

after this if I remembered corectly he went on with the gag uf using very large and noticable crimps in the jumbo cards to try to find the chosen card

Posted: Jun 14, 2006 4:16am
I just wrote this last post so I can get 5 posts in a row yippieeeeee

do I win anything ???
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Dannydoyle
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You do win something for clarifying yourself thank you and I am sorry.

If I misunderstood your first post I again am sorry.

Comedy magic has become such a hacked profession, that indeed often people will expect you to be bad. This is good in a way as when you are finally good, meaning funny as well as magical, then you have really done something for them.

My responce was curt as Nicholas says because the original question was has anyone actually studied comedy, and it "seemed" (incorrectly mind you) as if you were pointing out the lack of need for such a thing. Again my bad.

The fact is yea that there are few things less funny than figuring out why the heck something is actually funny. Seems counterintuative, but it is true.

I guess the moral of the story is to try to learn, rather than just do. And for some of us (read as me) clarify first!
Danny Doyle
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<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
sniper1
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No need to feel sorry , but unfortunatly I suffer from the TO MAKE A LONG STORY SHORT syndrome . most of the time I will have a whole thesis in my mind to write in a post but to try to save time and space I tend to try to condense it into 5 sentences which unfortunatly lead to messy results .
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gsidhe
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To the original topic of this thread...Has anyone actually studied comedy?
In my case yes...Independantly of magic and sideshow arts. I have a degree in theatre performance and studied the history of comedy from Shakespeare, through France's Commedia del Arte, and up to the present. I worked street improv on and off for alomost 20 years and I am currently the co-owner/co-founder of the Grimprov (Grand Rapids Improv Company) where I tech improv, write commedic Interactive Murder Mystery scripts and perform regularly. I have also won scriptwriting competitions with my comedies.
I did not try combining ANY of it together until I had decent skills in all, and had actually studied technique for presentation (For example, the Comedy rule of three- A running gag should be repeated no more than three times for maximum effectiveness)
The information and advice are out there, and needs to be persued with the same vigor as any of the other arts that we practice.
Now, I am a bizarrist Magician at night, comedy sideshow artist by day (Pain and danger make for great slapstick), and overall I feel I am a well rounded performer.
But I studied and practiced it ALL.
Gwyd
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Yes, both on my own and with teachers. For me, its a hobby that turned into a job, so the work was well worth it.

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Sonny Vegas
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Studying Types of Comedy : I would suggest you pick to study a few of your favorite Comedians. There will be some that you don't favor and there will be ones that will make your sides split. I study everything from Vaudville to Ernie Kovacs to Monty Python to Steven Wright and current comedy. A little from all those worlds makes your thinking unique and original. Mix it up. This will be what you want to portray to the audience.

Most comedians have a character they build from and perform a show.

Examples : Dice Clay, Carrot Top, Emo Philips, Gallager...those are extremes, but a good examples of Character Comedians.

More subtle comedians might be more favorable to your taste. It all depends on what you like. Never force a type of comedy to emulate. Make sure what you are learning is something you enjoy. That comedy base will stay with you and be incorporated in your performances as you write and polish you material. Make it be ALL you.

Improv: I cant stress how much my studying at Chicago's Second City Improv and running a 5 year Improv show has helped my performances. A trick goes wrong and my improv skills kick in. I have saved myself many times with a witting comeback for a magical stumble. Improv is a tool that can carry you through a complete performance....but never soley rely on this. There are too many "crash and burn" moments in improv, it's not a guarentee..BUT, when combined with rehearsed and written comedy, it's a formula for success!!!

Suggestions: Carry a note pad with you and when you have a funny moment--Write it down! You'd be surprised how a simple 5 second funny encounter can open up into a whole routine of your comedy script.

Classes: Improv - There are many various workshops throughtout the world that start at beginner levels and work their way to stage performance. Highly suggested first before taking Standup Comedy classes. http://www.secondcity.com/
Comedy Classes - These are harder to find. A good Comedian teacher is as hard to find as fur on a frog. Most classes are on DVD formats that can be purchased from accomplished Comedians. I have taken classes at Zanies in Chicago which is taught by Dobie Maxwell. I was lucky to find this Master who honed my improv skills and written comedy into a well polished professional show.
http://www.dobiemaxwell.com/

Open Mic Nights: Check your local comedy clubs for these nights. Call them and ask for a spot that night. In some circumstances they might have a first come first serve sign up...check with them. They will only give you about 5-10 minutes of stage time. Make sure it's your best lines. It's a good place to try your material and let me be the first to remind you...its' "open mic night" this is where you find out what's good and what should be flushed.

Hope this helped. Any Questions, I can point you in the right direction.

Sonny Vegas
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Joey Evans
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Open Mics are good, but talk about a trial by fire. You can do all the workshops and corporate events you want. When you walk on the comedy stage, it's different. It's a great learning experience and helps you out in a hurry.
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nucinud
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Open mics are great. After doing open mics in the early 90's, working or speaking in front of corporate people was easy.
If you can survive an open mic, your are golden.
"We are what we pretend to be" Kurt Vonnegut, jr.



Now U C It Now U Don't

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Dannydoyle
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Yea the problem guys is we are showing our age. Open mic nites are definatly vanishing from our landscape.

The Wed. night thing is going the way of the doo doo bird unfortunatly. Many clubs still have them but with the comedy format changing as it is, they are more often than not gone.

I do agree they were a great trial by fire though.
Danny Doyle
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<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
Sonny Vegas
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Free Lesson: Who's Line is it Anyway.
Great show to see what happens when given a random circumstances. Comebacks don't have to be killers, just witty and the audience loves them. Ryan Styles and Colin Mochrie are some of the top Impovers out there. Watch and learn.

Open Mic : Yes they are trail by fire, but you'll never know what flys if you don't put it in front of random people. They still do have them, but yes I have seen a decline to some point. Believe it of not Standup is making a comeback here in the Midwest and people are flocking to the better Comedy Clubs. The 80's were the high points. Comedians made good money then. Now it's a hard fight to the top or to "Headline" It will take time and some really good material.

Never say Die! (until your talking to St. Peter)
Sonny
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Tony Iacoviello
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Danny:

Yes, I've taken improv classes, comedy writing classes, several workshops, and acting classes to help me out. Plus I get to see some of the best comics in the country perform weekly at the Comedy Studio in Cambridge (plug).

What has all of this taught me? I'll never make it as a standup comedian!

I'd also like to recommend Judy's books. Great material both on comedy and the business of performing.

Speaking of books, has anyone read Jay Sankey's book on standup?

Tony
gabelson
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For a stand-up comic, Jay Sankey is one hell of a magician.
thecardtrick
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I've actually just begun studying comedy. That's why I'm visiting this forum.

I have read a few books on clowning. The most interesting was a psychological study of actors, clowns and comedians -- and their audiences. Not light reading.

Another great one was a sociological study of clowning throughout history (court jesters, etc.), studying the clown's role in Shakespeare and society at-large.

The library has some valuable stuff.
harris
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Growing up in my family helped my sense of timing.

People say I am not the most handsome actor, but I am "entertaining".

Tonight we open an original play based on The Wise Woman by George Mcdonald.

In August I get to learn and take on the part of Herb in Godspell. The director, Lori Triplet has taught me much about acting these last few months.

Herb was played by Eugene Levy in Godspell the Movie.

You are all appreciated by,

Harris Deutsch
Laughologist and Nearly Normal Actor
Harris Deutsch aka dr laugh
drlaugh4u@gmail.com
music, magic and marvelous toys
http://magician.org/member/drlaugh4u
gabelson
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Nothing is more awe-inspiring than imaginative, flawlessly-executed improv- (Second City, as you mentioned, Sonny. The Groundlings, as well.) However, nothing is more tedious and cringe-inducing as BAD improv. And unfortunately, bad improv is considerably more plentiful than bad stand-up. I believe that's because by and large, it's a much more difficult art form. Stand-up can be learned... improv, for the most part, is an innate gift.

Gabelson
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