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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Now that’s funny! » » Comedy with a chair (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

mcharisse
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Inner circle
York. PA
1217 Posts

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Dear fellow magicians,
I recently aquired a disecto-style arm chopper that I'm quite happy with, but a spectator standing next to it can look down and see the blade.
I occurred to me that seating the spectator next to the chopper lowers the angle of vision so that he/she can't see the secret.
Necessity being the mother of invention, it the occurred to me of course that this offered opportunity for more comedy.
"You look faint - maybe you should sit down. And that way you wouldn't have so far to fall should something go wrong and you pass out from loss of blood.""Would you like a pillow, too?" (Offer them some goofy-looking pillow, perhaps.)
Anyway, I'm seeking other chair bits and/or lines to flesh this idea out. I saw a collapsing comedy chair available online, but the ad says it's designed for the magician to sit in, not the spectator.
I like the idea from that prop of getting all tangled up in the chair, as this would certainly not inspire confidence that you could successfully operate an arm chopper.
Any ideas? Thanks in advance, and of course I'd be curious if others were doing something similar.
Marc the Magic Man
thesecretrouting
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New user
25 Posts

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Marc,

a couple things come to mind. When they sit down you could say,"you know, if you were a little higher up this would work better. Let me put something on the seat to raise you up." The audience will be anticipating a cushion or a box to put on the chair. You then walk off stage to get something and return with a single layer of tissue paper. Have the spectator sit on it for the laugh.

You could also try this....Mention to them that they might be more comfortable sitting down. Walk off stage to get a chair. You return with one that looks like an electric chair. Hook a spagetti strainer over the back of a folding chair with some wires hanging from it. Refer to it as the new "portable model"

Hope that helps,
Jim Barron
mcharisse
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Inner circle
York. PA
1217 Posts

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Thanks Jim, both good ideas, and I've run across plenty of electric chair jokes I might be able to work in...
thesecretrouting
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Glad I could help. Good luck with the Disecto routine. I may be mistaken but I believe Dick Stoner has a routine for it on his "I Spell Magic FUN" DVD's. You may want to check them out. Lot's of good, commercial stuff on them.
JB
Cory Gallupe
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Inner circle
Nova Scotia, Canada
1272 Posts

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Has anyone ever seen those shocking chairs? Not like an electric chair, but gives a light shock to the spectator?

Seems like a pretty sweet idea, but very dangerous at the same time. I have used shocking pens and the like many times on friends and family. BUT, when performing for a bunch of people you don't know, I would be terrified to do such a thing to a volunteer.

First off, how can your audience gain your trust if you bring up an innocent volunteer, and zap them?
When an audience goes to a magic show, a show that they have likely never seen live before, they are a little nervous, or off set to begin with, why would you do that to them. It hurts! It really does. A couple of run ins with electric fences, (And the mistake of trying to grab a "cow", which I later found out was a bull... But that's another story.) I know first hand that electricity isn't fun.
Why would you do that to a volunteer who was kind enough to help you on stage?

Another thing, how do you know that the volunteer doesn't have a bypass of some sort? All you need is to give them a little shock, and you've lost your job. You'r carrer is over. And worst of all, you took an innocent life.

I just personally could never do such a thing. I would hope that no entertainer would use an object like that in their act.

On the subject of funny things to do with a chair, I don't know. I just wanted to let you know what NOT to do.
Hagerman
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108 Posts

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Pull the chair out from under them when they go to sit down. It's a classic.
mcharisse
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Inner circle
York. PA
1217 Posts

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I agree you have to walk a fine line, especially leading up to an arm chopper effect. Many kids magicians won't even do chopper tricks anymore, but I think the scary/comedy aspects can still be effective and kids still like a little pretend scary.
But I don't think I'd be shocking the poor kid on top of everything. After all, I want the boy on my side in this and also want to reassure him that everything will be all right. I want the audience to "worry" but I also want them to "get it" and realize that on some level, I'm not really mean or incompetent.
After all, there'd be nothing funny about really cutting a boy's hand off.
So the humor can and should be broad - the rubber hand, maybe even the electric chair jokes, though on second thought I kinda wonder if that, too, wouldn't detract from the chopper by shifting attention to someting even more potentially sinister.
I found a folding wooden chair in a thrift store today for $15. I'm planning on playing with it to see how I might logically get tangled up in it.
The only real chair line I know is "You cant sit there, we're waiting for rigor mortise (sp) to set it.
It gets a laugh about 1/3 of the time when I try it out and work meetings and such. I certainly need better.
Help! I need feedback!
And I appreciate the trickle of comments on this. It seems like a good exercise in 'how to be funny' or at least, how to really try to think about being funny and I'm surprised it hasn't generated more replies.
Marc the Magic Man
thesecretrouting
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These are all good thoughts. I wouldn't do the hand chopper with a kid nor would I do the actual electric chairs. That kind of stuff I would reserve for an adult male. The electric chair sight gag (spaghetti strainer) would be o.k. with an adult for a one time laugh and then go back to the arm chopper.

I must agree that the electric chair currently (no pun) being marketed is not, in my opinion, a good idea. Too heavy handed for my taste. That chair, by the way, is not the traditional method for the classic electric chairs routine which done properly causes no discomfort whatsoever to the participant. Nor, properly presented, does it make the magician come off looking like a bad guy.

What is missing in most discussions on using audience volunteers for any type of perceived "danger" effect is the absolute necessity of helping the participant realize that you and he are "in" on the gag. He then becomes "part of the show" as opposed to being "a victim." It makes all the difference in the world and while the audience doesn't know why, they will sense the situation as being entertainment as opposed to victimization. That could be the subject of a book.
JB
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