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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » I'm a real boy! » » Is vent v. dummy the way? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Jim Poor
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Fairfax, VA
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I've been watching a lot of clips lately and it seems that there is a huge tendency for vent routines to pit the vent against the figure.

Maybe this appeals in the same way as a "magician in trouble" type routine?
I watched a few clips with my wife, and she said a few times "why so rough, mean, etc?"
These were kid show performers mostly.

I guess the question is, are the majority of routines out there really like this, and if so, why?

I'm not knocking it, but it has me curious.

Any thoughts?

Jim
harris
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Harris Deutsch
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During school, library and i.e. scout shows I use the conflict/mean stuff to illustrate things can be funny in comedy,tv and the movies but cruel in real life.

This is also featured in my elements of comedy lecture for middle school students.

Vents routines are also used to illustrate:
1. Fiction versus Non Fiction(for 2007 Library Shows)
2. Spiritual Principles
3. Fun with out using alcohol or drugs
4. Things are funny when they are happening to someone else
5. Problems in life such as school, stores or when the toilet overflows....

In the past I have used vent to show.
1. Different types of answers when interviewing for a job
2. Therapist heal thyself
....

Find what is you....

My wife says Nigel is an extension of my childhood experiences as well as those as I got older.


Harris
Harris Deutsch aka dr laugh
drlaugh4u@gmail.com
music, magic and marvelous toys
http://magician.org/member/drlaugh4u
Jim Poor
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An extension of my childhood could be quite frightening! LOL.
Budihaha
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I have the same feeling as yours, so I'm struggle with myself, when I write a script!

I don't like to become rough or mean to my figures. When I am in trouble, it is funny from audience perspective. So I control my reaction and action that I don't know what to do to them. Or sometimes I expressed that I hate to myself, but still trying to be nice to my figures. This become more funnier for the audience!

When my reaction is too mean, the audience will hate me, but feel pity to my figures! I don't like it, because small children will afraid of me!

Hope this helps!

Budi Ha Ha
Budi H. Hadiwarsito
Bandung - Indonesia
www.budihaha.com
olivertwist
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Nashua, NH
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The conflict between the performer and dummy is funny. It doesn't have to be, and shouldn't be mean. But it's funny because the audience knows you are doing both parts and it's absurd to be giving yourself such a hard time. It emphasizes the figures' character as separate from yours. Ideally it should play like Abbott and Costello, Laurel and Hardy, Burns and Allen, straight man - funny man.
rossmacrae
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You have ALMOST hit on something ... you're within millimeters ... what you're looking for is a "get-out-of-your-rut" re-thinking.

Whenever we see vent and dummy, it's automatic to think of an "adversarial" routine, a smart-mouthed little guy versus the big guy.

Olivertwist has a great point about the great comedy teams, Alternatively, you could turn the tables - you could be the "off-in-space" one and the dummy could be the one you drive crazy with your illogic. Or you could make an extensive effort to watch every working act you can, and analyze the vent/dummy dynamic in those acts that break the mold.
olivertwist
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Good point Ross. Look at Kevin Johnson's act on America's Got Talent. (Link in Kevin Johnson thread) This is a completely different approach. He killed them with it.
Jim Poor
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That was the first act I watched when I started getting interested myself. He's great!

The guy with Darwin on Leno (grrr, can't remember the name right now) was good too.
Doug Arden
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When I first got in to vent I bought all the dialogue books I could find. Virtually all of the dialogues that were suitable for my vent character were adversarial.

Since I wanted my routine to be unique, I spent a long time, over a year, writing my own dialogue. The rotuine is approximately 15 minutes long and is not adversarial at all. It gets huge laughs throughout and has helped me increase my bookings and income.

I'm not suggesting the adversarial way is wrong. What I am saying is that you can "break the mold" and be very successful doing something different.
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