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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Now that’s funny! » » It's not so funny when I climax. (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Sealegs
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The UK, Portsmouth
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Ok here's the thing. I do a book test routine that is full of laughs from start to...well nearly the finish. I get to the climax and reveal the word, which I couldn't possibly know..... and the audience who have been laughing throughout the routine, I know, are sitting there waiting for the funny bit that goes with the impossible climax. In 10 years of performing this effect I've come up with lots of ideas but nothing that fits the bill to my satisfaction.

I don't know at the start of the effect which of some 24 possible words is going to be picked which rules some ideas out.

Any thoughts or ideas would be welcome?

Many thanks Neal.
Neal Austin

"The golden rule is that there are no golden rules." G.B. Shaw
Neil_Brown
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England
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How do you get your laughs? Is it wordplay, situation comedy, sight gags etc?

I guess the trouble is that, with 10 years of doing the effect, you are by far the best placed person to know what you do that makes people laugh... it's just a case of encapsulating that into a tiny segment which not only fools the audience (the magic part), but also brings the house down in terms of being funnier than any of your preceding jokes... I'll rack my brains, but it's a very tough problem, especially from the point of view of an outsider looking in.

The fact that you don't know the relevant word until after the effect has begun rules out the more obvious prediction-style jokes, because most of them would require a "fixed" item, with the word already in situ... and, unless you had 24 different predictions, that's not going to be overly practical. To my mind, this would necessitate you writing down the prediction - either in view of the audience, or else hidden (eg. n**lwr***r or similar); if you were to have 24 words written on a sheet, and just circled the relevant word, it implies to the audience that their choice was limited, in my opinion. I guess the next question is "how do you normally reveal the word"? Do you just say it, do you write it down etc.

One idea springing to mind is that you attempt to write the word on a hand-held A2-ish sized whiteboard, in a wipe-off marker. That way, you could incorporate various pieces- the pen doesn't write, you push the board completely out of its frame, that kind of thing- but it wouldn't suit everyone's style. If you entertained with witty one-liners, suddenly moving into a more farcical approach would just look wrong, really...

Alternatively, you could think about a "miscall" approach - you build up the climax, and then get the word completely wrong... played correctly, I think that this could have considerable comic potential. Of course, you somehow "magically" reveal the correct word- but, are you a magician, or are you a mentalist?

I quite like the idea of combining this approach with the whiteboard idea above- you have a nightmare of a time trying to write the word down, but, you finally succeed. With a triumphant tone in your voice, you ask your spectator to announce (into a microphone) the word that he is thinking of - at the same time, you spin the whiteboard, revealing the wrong word. However, you are too busy milking the applause (whether you actually get any or not) to notice... The spectator / someone in audience will probably point out that it's the wrong word, leaving you to casually spin the board round so it faces the back again, and ask the spectator to repeat the word they were thinking of. They do so, and you say something like "Well, isn't that what I said", and you spin the board back round, which now has the right word written on it... After the false (and potentially humourous) first climax, with the miscalled revelation, you're in a good position to then pull off the second (true) climax, with the correct card.

In terms of how you'd do it -I envisage a flap on the whiteboard, so that you write the real word in the middle of the whiteboard, and then, flip the flap upwards, so that only the "wrong" word is visible. When you turn the board round after the false climax, you let the flap drop, perhaps letting it automagically lock in place using a magnet, to allow you to reveal the correct word. Quite how you'd be able to build this into something which allows the entire white centre to fall out the frame when you try to write, I'm not so sure, but, I reckon it's possible with a bit of thought.

Anyway... just my thoughts Smile

(Might be worth moving this into the Secret Sessions board...)
0pus
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Neil,

I am not sure you are addressing what Neal asked.

As I understand it, Neal has a book test routine where the reveal will be one of 24 possible words/phrases. His routine to very funny throughout, but the final reveal, instead of being a blowoff to the routine, falls a little flat, largely because it is not a comedic reveal.

He's looking for something he can use with 24 different words that will cap off the routine.

This seems like a tall order, and will really require understanding what the routine looks like throughout, and determining whether there can be a big blow-off.

I am thinking that maybe he needs to narrow down the range of answers and develop specific endings to the routine for each.

0pus
Neil_Brown
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England
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Quote:
I am not sure you are addressing what Neal asked.

As I understand it, Neal has a book test routine where the reveal will be one of 24 possible words/phrases. His routine to very funny throughout, but the final reveal, instead of being a blowoff to the routine, falls a little flat, largely because it is not a comedic reveal.

He's looking for something he can use with 24 different words that will cap off the routine.

This seems like a tall order, and will really require understanding what the routine looks like throughout, and determining whether there can be a big blow-off.

I am thinking that maybe he needs to narrow down the range of answers and develop specific endings to the routine for each.


Leaving aside the issue that it doesn't suit Neal's style, of course- as I said at the beginning of my post, the ending will be determined by how Neal gets his laughs throughout- I'm not sure which part of my response wouldn't address the problem? Neal's got to the stage where the spectator has selected his word (one of the 24), and he's looking for an entertaining and humourours way of revealing it, but isn't able to "fix" the prediction at the beginning- my suggestion is essentially a miscall with byplay, which, I think, would provide a both a magic and funny way of capping off his routine, without being tethered to a particular word?

(I'm happy to be entirely wrong here- but I'd need someone to explain where I missed the mark Smile)
Joey Evans
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Fort Myers, FL
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Maybe it doesn't need to be. It's extremely difficult to have astonishment and hilarity at the exact same moment without diminishing one. Keep the end amazing in my opinion. I do a bill in impossible location that is hilarious and I've closed many comedy clubs with it, but the end isn't laughs. It's, "No Way!" If you're a comedy magician, sure focus on the comedy, but getting the No Ways is good as well.
The Visual Comedy and Magic of Joey Evans

http://www.Evansmagic.com/



The Impossible Has Never Been So Funny!
Sealegs
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The UK, Portsmouth
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Hi guys,

Thanks for your responses and for taking an interest.

Neil: I was blown away by the thought an effort you put into your response to my request. Thanks for your time. The comedy in the routine comes from wordplay, sight gags and situational set ups. The mis-call, or getting the word wrong features in quite a few guises during the routine so we're thinking on the same track there and the white board approach is one that I have explored too. I had it in mind to trun around the board revealing a mess of letters and then wipe the board to reveal the word. Haveing the actual word written in permenent maker and the other letters in wipe off marker would do it but I have the practical problem of not knowing in advance what the word will be. I'd need to have 24 words already written down on before hand. However while reading your post and thining of the problem again I've come up with a new approach to try. If I can write the word down on a pad as part of , ie during , the routine (which is what I do anyway) and then somehow introduce a transparent sheet over the top of it and disguise the words with other letters or shapes then these could be wiped off the transparent sheet revealing the word on the pad underneath. There are all sorts of potential problems with this but your post has jarred my brain on this and at least given me another avenue to explore. Many thanks for your input.

Opus: thanks for your comments. Different endings for each possible word that maybe selected is certainly an option. That way it's easier to work in the comedy. The practical problems this presents are difficult to deal with though. Having 24 written predictions makes it a tall order but it's certainly worth having another look at.

Joey: you're right to say that getting the .."no way...!"... response is great, it is, but I can feel the disappointment at there being no comedic pay off along with the wow factor. You're alo right to say that combining astonisment and hiarity at the same moment without diminishing either is very difficult. I agree. And at the risk at sounding immodest my sucess as an act results from doing just this throughout my show. At the moment I have the astonisment reaction... and I then immeadiately follow it up with a one line gag that gets the laugh. However it comes too late.... for maximum effect the comedy needs to be at the moment the magic happens. The one needs to cause the other. But that's just me wanting to get the max out of a routine.

Thanks again guys for your thoughts any more imput will be gratefully recieved, absorbed and digested.

Neal
Neal Austin

"The golden rule is that there are no golden rules." G.B. Shaw
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