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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Now that’s funny! » » Billy McComb, Bumblebees and Idiots. (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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I recently found a thread, over years two old that I had contributed to. In the thread I mentioned a peer's dislike for the McCombical Deck because a) he felt the finale was obvious and any smart audience should see it coming and b) you were not really finding the card, it was just changing one card to another which is nowhere near as amazing.

I only just found Billy McCombs reply yesterday.....

Nick Johnston
Your friend is the sort who could explain to a bumble bee that aerodynamically he can't fly. Which is apparently true !
But then being maybe an idiot and not knowing the bumble bee does fly
Ask your friend........ with his theories !

That was the first and last thing Mr McComb ever said to me before he passed away.

He was right of course. (not about the now knows why they fly Smile The point is that this routine is hugely memorable and amazing, despite the theoretical 'evidence' suggesting otherwise.

So in honour of Billy McComb, I want to have an UNTHEOTRICAL discussion about new or old, original or unoriginal, big or small ways that you or others you have to make this great routine even more ENTERTAINING!

I'll kick as off with some ideas..

The cards can be ANYTHING (others have used paintings, records covers and postcards). I did some work for Ferrari where I let them "pick a car". Each card had the big Ferrari logo on it. The card turned into the Volkswagon Logo.

When I bring the volunteer up, I ask if I can manipulate them...right front of ALL these people. I then tell them the manipulation will be SUBTLE. This helps the laughs.

In Rich Marotta's version he has ONE card in an windowed envelope as the prediction. This allows you to flash the INCORRECT card as you take it out the second time, making the finale bigger.

And here are some lines I've used before the reveal

"Well somebody has been made a fool of today! But it wasn't you and me!"

"You are SO lucky I'm a magician"

"And look the backs of the cards match PERFECTLY....and the fronts as well."

"I could have sworn this was the three of heart..." (turn over and show eight of clubs)
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Let me add another idea I've never seen.

You show the audience the cover of a particular celebrities favourite book...make it funny or appropriate in some way.

John Travolta - Battlefield Earth
George W. Bush - My Pet Goat
Tony Blair - George W. Bush's Biography
Osama Bin Ladin - Where's Wally?
Brad Pitt -

Then introduce their 'entire' collection of books (all the same book) and see if they can pick which one is the celebrities ALL TIME FAVOURITE! From there, the routine would continue as normal.
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Or an 'expose' of how people fake physic powers using ESP cards.
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Re the McCombical deck:
I've only seen it performed once and that was maybe over 15 years ago and I can't remember where or who by but I do remember it as being a funny routine.

Over the years I've bought the effect (I've got two sets knocking around somewhere) but try as I might, and rather frustratingly, I can't convince myself that any presentation that I've come up with is funny enough to include in my act.

Maybe it's just a question of sytle though.

For example I'd rather do it with superhero comics and include an on-stage strip to reveal/turn-into the superhero that's already been predicted. Making a big thing out of this sets you up for a big fall when the specky announces they chose a different superhero. Then of course your prediction is shown to match the speckys choice; and for good measure you do an instant(ish) change from wrong superhero into the chosen superhero......

Personally I find this kind of approach offers more comedy potential than having two sets of jumbo cards.

But like I said, I think it's just a question of style.

Neal Austin

"The golden rule is that there are no golden rules." G.B. Shaw
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Neal - Fantastic!
Eric Lott
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I hope it's not too late to hop in this discussion. I just made and performed a version of the McCombical Deck. I got the idea from seeing Copperfield perform it with albums. I printed up pictures of young male celebrities who are bachelors. A google search for "Hollywood Bachelors" and you'll get a list pretty quick. I showed my prediction to the audience, which I believe was Orlando Bloom who starred in Pirates of the Caribbean. I used a high school aged girl and had her choose one. She made her free selection and I showed the audience that she had also chosen Orland Bloom (all were Bloom). Long story longer, when she revealed her selection, it was Napoleon Dynamite. If you're not familiar with Napoleon, let's just say, he's not all that attractive. I showed my prediction and they obviously matched. It went over very well! I went through a lot of trial and error to get it to work. The type of paper I was using didn't cooperate with roughing fluid. If anyone's interested in what I finally did to get it to work, let me know.

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