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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Now that’s funny! » » Choosing a volunteer for a humiliating gag effect (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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scottds80
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I've had the dilemma of choosing volunteers from the audience if they will be slightly humiliated. I don't mean to the point where there will be anything offensive, but just a friendly gag/prank. Other magicians (perhaps too serious and stuck up) on this forum have suggested never to prank your volunteer. So I thought up a way around this to achieve it all without offending anyone.

Let's say you were going to perform 20th century shorts/underwear on an audience member. The big male undies I have always performed on myself, but recently performed on others with GREAT results of laughter.

This is my basic script for this (in reality I have some great one-liners to add to this):

"I would like all the males in the audience to stand up.... (Males all stand)
I am about to choose a volunteer, but they need to have 3 things:
1. I need a brave man
2. Someone with a good sense of humour
3. Someone who is willing to come on stage and be the subject of my next magical effect.
If this isn't you, please sit down. Otherwise remain standing."

I then go on to choose my volunteer for the prank. Afterall, they have agreed to use their good sense of humour.

The cons: If everyone sits down, that would be a problem. I doubt this would happen, but I guess you could use this to your advantage in another way somehow.

Any thoughts or additions?
"Great Scott the Magician", Gippsland
Comedy Writer
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Maybe, and just me thinking out loud here, NOT do any magic with underwear...? Or that is off-color/ offensive...Or that insults a volunteer.

CW
Brian S. Tanner
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Speaking for myself, I would never have any member of my audience be the butt of a joke or a gag. Nobody wants to be humiliated. I always make sure that the volunteer ends up being the hero. I treat my audience as guests in my home. So why would I ever want to make a guest look or feel foolish ?

You're saying that you'll be asking for "Someone with a good sense of humor" and for "Someone who is willing to come on stage and be the subject of my next magical effect."

First of all, your idea of a good sense of humor and the spectator's may differ greatly. as for Someone who is willing to come on stage and be the subject of my your magical effect, that could be taken as a dare. In any event, someone may end up in a very embarrassing situation. Not good. I would suggest that you allow the gag to happen to you, and that the volunteer is either the straight man or the person who saves the day.
Judge:How do you plead?
<BR>Defendant:I plead insanity.
<BR>Judge:Insanity?
<BR>Defendant:Yep. I'm just crazy about that stuff!
scottds80
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First of all, I am a beginning magician (2 years into it). The thing is I have seen that some of the worlds most successful magicians use this 20th century underwear in their act, performing it on their spectator. Of course, one should deliver his OWN presentation.
So it makes me think it's not all that offensive or insulting. In the context, it's a simple gag. This is just my opinion, but I do appreciate yours and will reconsider the undies. That's why I am asking.

What WOULD be truly offensive is when a magician belittles his volunteer with insulting remarks or one-liners.

Thanks for your point about making the spectator the clean one and/or a hero. I'll keep that in mind. I guess I'll continue to be double minded about this!
"Great Scott the Magician", Gippsland
mesmer
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Let me chime in on this.

You can do any jokes and gag if your joke is in line and congruent with your stage persona and your character.

Bob Arno use the 20 Century Underwear gag in conjunction with his Pickpocket act, you can see him at YouTube, just click Bob Arno.

Mike Caveney also produce loads of cutlery from spectator jacket pocket and The Amazing Jonathan staples the head of his assistant and impale it with a scissor.

Well, I guess if it suits YOU then by all mean DO IT.
NJJ
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Scott - Sorry my friend but with a topic title like "Choosing a volunteer for a humiliating gag effect" you are going to have prudes chiming in with their opinions!

I pick people who are
a) Watching the show closely
b) Laughing
c) With friends who are actively enjoying their company
d) Between the age of 25 and 45.
e) male
f) Sober and in control

This has never been a problem for me.
scottds80
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Ok great to hear comments from people who can understand where I'm coming from. It's very agreeable what mesmer said:
"You can do any jokes and gag if your joke is in line and congruent with your stage persona and your character."

I assume Nicholas also does this effect, and he has it under control. I have had no problems myself with it, so I guess it works under my character. But the original purpose of this topic was a method to choose the right volunteer, that's all.
Thanks fella's.
"Great Scott the Magician", Gippsland
Mark McDermott
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Scottds80,

I have used in my show the bra-trick. After the shows I have had both men and women say that they thought that it was so funny! When I know that I will be doing the trick it is in the latter part of my show and I have watched the reactions of the crowd so I know who to pick.

I hope this can stay as my line but this is how I get into the trick:

#1 find a lady with a good sense of humor

#2 As she is approaching the stage I inform the audience that the next trick cost me $100.00

#3 I look her in the eye and wink with my eye not to the audience and say " well have you ever done a $100.00 dollar trick? "

#4 normally the audience is laughing so hard I have to pause for a moment

#5 after the trick and the bra is shown I tell the audience to give her a round of applause for being a great sport!!!!


No one has ever been mad and I make sure she is not upset and I take her back to her seat and thank her for being in the show.

Jeff Hobson taught me to always escort your volunteers to and from the stage.

Mark
mrunge
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That's good advice!

Mark.
Sealegs
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Scottds80 the real good thing is that you are thinking about what you are doing or at least the response and reaction of your audience.

It might be helpful to consider how you would feel if you were on the 'receiving' end of whatever comedy bit you have in mind.

If you genuinely would have no problem with it then it's likely that whatever it is fits your style. Whether it comes across as funny and appropriate is another matter..... that will probably be settled by the market.

If you think you might feel uncomfortable being on the receiving end of whatever it is you have in mind to do... then that seems as good a reason not to do it as any.

Another thing to maybe try and do is think who your audience is... then rather than thinking; 'do I find this funny, rude, offensive, bizarre?'... think to yourself; 'are THEY likely to think this....etc?'

Neal
Neal Austin

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nucinud
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I pick guys who are twice my size and joke about how if I mess up they could kill me. Then I do the bit. And then I give them a chance to get even. I will do the Kellar Rope Tie. I have them tie me up as tight as they can and play it for laughs. It always works, and I always find them after the show and thank them for being a good sport.
"We are what we pretend to be" Kurt Vonnegut, jr.



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Stevethomas
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...then the rest of us can never get anyone to volunteer because they remember seeing another audience member humiliated with the "bra trick". Maybe the one person (assistant) doesn't mind, but the other 1999 people in the audience are fearful of being "picked on" by the next magician they see.

Also..Jonathan does staple and impale the head of the assistant, but THAT ASSISTANT IS NOT (and the audience knows) from the audience. She's "Psychic Tanya"...

Steve
Mark McDermott
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Steve,

Did you not read the whole post? When I take any person back to their seat they understand that they were part of the show and NOT made fun of! If you feel that you couldn't keep it at that level then don't do anything like that in your show. I have been doing magic for 30 years and know how to treat all of my audience to a great show.
Also I don't do this in every show, I ask the person who booked the show that this can be added in the show if they might want it, if they say yes I make the choice by the way they are having fun in the first part of the performance.

Just my 2 cents.


Thanks Mark Runge


Mark
nucinud
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I never do the Bra trick on a women. Only on a man much funnier and less sexual harassment charges.
"We are what we pretend to be" Kurt Vonnegut, jr.



Now U C It Now U Don't

Harry Mandel

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mrunge
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Smile

Mark.
mtpascoe
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An audience will take a lot in good humor. I was used as butt of a joke for a guy who was a joke writer for Richard Pryor. I laughed when he called me English, even though I wasn’t. But after awhile it did not get funny when I noticed his anger towards white people was serious. It was a shame because I was laughing at myself and didn’t mind. So, I guess the point I’m trying to make is as long as you don’t take it too far, I think your audience member won’t mind it. But, I guess it depends on the person.

And as a tip, don’t ask an audience of adults if they want to volunteer, because they won’t unless they are drunk. If they are drunk, don’t choose them. Get Jeff Hobson’s Egg Bag routine and learn how he chooses someone from the audience.
NJJ
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Scott - I stopped doing the routine when, as I was about to stuff the silks into his pants, the man leaned over and said 'uhhh.....i'm going commando tonight"

EW!!!
Mike Melito
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Awesome tips guys. I always was reserved with this area of choosing a volunteer.
drkptrs1975
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I would be very careful of how you do it, the best way is to make the joke on you Smile
Dannydoyle
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Quote:
On 2007-09-11 00:54, mesmer wrote:
Let me chime in on this.

You can do any jokes and gag if your joke is in line and congruent with your stage persona and your character.

Bob Arno use the 20 Century Underwear gag in conjunction with his Pickpocket act, you can see him at YouTube, just click Bob Arno.

Mike Caveney also produce loads of cutlery from spectator jacket pocket and The Amazing Jonathan staples the head of his assistant and impale it with a scissor.

Well, I guess if it suits YOU then by all mean DO IT.


Bob also uses a stooge for it does he not?

I like the way Nicholas automatically paints those who disagree with him as "prudes".

The idea that you HUMILIATE a person is bad. I don't think this trick qualifies.

I mean really the audience does not believe for a second you really took off his underwear. So how much humiliation is there to begin with? The funel trick with the water, THAT is humiliation and not good.

Now as for your age if you are young I would avoid the bra trick. Just smart move there.

So do it in good humor and really how can you pick someone from the stage? With only 2 years in, you have to concentrate more on the show. You will find good and bad ones. Just learn to make the most of each and every volunteer. THAT is far more important than worring about who you pick.

Good luck with it.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
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