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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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btedeski
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Pittsburgh PA
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To each there own...

I personally don't do that kind of trick (but if I dig deep into my stack of magic I do have the bra trick but with 3 boobs)

but if it works for your stage persona, and your working the right kind of crowed then just about anything goes.

your come on, does kind of give them fare warning as well. So enjoy
Billy The Clown
www.BillyTheClown.com

Bill Tedeski
Pittsburgh PA

Were magic is just too funny....
Stevethomas
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If you think that by making the spectator feel good as you take them back to their seat and that makes the entire audience (didn't you read my entire post?) feel comfortable, you're wrong. They realize that the next time an audience member needs to "be chosen"...they're afraid it might be them. There are exceptions, with venue, audience type and your persona. The helper might feel quite at ease, but the other 1999 people know they're glad it wasn't them being laughed at.

Steve
Mark McDermott
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Union Mills, IN
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Steve, I have had no problem getting helpers on stage after the bra-trick. sorry that you think it would be a problem.


Mark
RVH Magic
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It depends what on type of 'comedy' magician you are.
If you have real comedy skills you don't need underwear or bra tricks - none of the succesful professionals comedy magicians use them !
But if you want easy laughs then...
marty.sasaki
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Why not ask ahead of time. Steve Bargatz gave great advice about this. He does a nice bit where having a bald man is part of the show, and he always asks the guy ahead of time if he is expecially sensitive about his bald head. If he is, he asks someone else. He makes fun of kids intellegence, but only after finding out that the kid has a sense of humor and is actually quite bright. You don't have to turn the audience member into a stooge...
Marty Sasaki
Arlington, Massachusetts, USA

Standard disclaimer: I'm just a hobbyist who enjoys occasionally mystifying friends and family, so my opinions should be viewed with this in mind.
Cody Comet
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Louisville, KY
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Steve Bargatze is a great and funny man. He has helped me out a lot with my magic, and has given me great advice to me. and your very well right, he does do that, and that's a lot of what makes his act so great. And it gives him a lot of opputurnities, like at the recent Unconventional Convention, he asked a black magician if he could make fun of the fact that he was the only black guy there, and that led to some very funny and original jokes, like when Steve told him that at least he knows how he feels at a Chris Rock concert. Steve is one very funny guy. And does anyone know any contact info for him, since he wanted me to send hom a video of my kids show act when I get it developed, so he can help critique me.
Thomas Wayne
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Quote:
On 2007-09-10 23:30, scottds80 wrote:
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. [...]


Or perhaps too experienced and professional.

TW
MOST magicians: "Here's a quarter, it's gone, you're an idiot, it's back, you're a jerk, show's over." Jerry Seinfeld
Markymark
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Well said. Or choose a young helper so that when he or she grows up they really
hate magicians!
''In memory of a once fluid man,crammed and distorted by the classical mess'' -Bruce Lee
Josh Riel
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Yep.....

Sorry Scott, what Nicholas said.
Magic is doing improbable things with odd items that, under normal circumstances, would be unnessecary and quite often undesirable.
zifferinolpm
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Quote:
On 2007-09-11 00:04, B to the T wrote:
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.


This is true, except for the time we called up the HS girl for the 20th century bra trick! Never to be invited back again. Oh to be in our 20s again!!
aussiemagic
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Although I don't really like or do bra tricks and 20th century shorts I don't see anything wrong with having a go at someone if it is in good fun.

I love British humor and I naturally prefer British comedians/magicians over those in the US. And, "taking the p###" plays a big part in British comedy.

I think you can get away with more in Australia and the UK than you can in the US. So, it doesn't surprise me that there is always going to be disagreement among magicians over this kind of thing.
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Brian S. Tanner
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Quote:
On 2007-12-06 19:46, zifferinolpm wrote:
Quote:
On 2007-09-11 00:04, B to the T wrote:
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.


This is true, except for the time we called up the HS girl for the 20th century bra trick! Never to be invited back again. Oh to be in our 20s again!!


Dan ! Dummy up, will ya ? You're gonna ruin my already useless reputation.....lol
Judge:How do you plead?
<BR>Defendant:I plead insanity.
<BR>Judge:Insanity?
<BR>Defendant:Yep. I'm just crazy about that stuff!
Rory Diamond
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Amazing Jonathon does several prank bits to audience volunteers.One gag he does is he has a volunteer blow into a "horn" that blows white powder back into his face. Most magicians would find this to be a very mean prank, and insulting to the volunteer. However, you see Amazing Jonathon on TV all the time. Why is that?
Brent McLeod
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Experience is also a key here!

Know your audience & if you've been performing for only 1-2 years give effects like this a miss!!

I use effects like this at Adult corporate functions & always make a call on the night as to how the audience reacts etc, same at comedy clubs-no problems anything goes really!!!, also 21st Birthdays these effects work well but find out about your audience-religious, conservative or just plain boring!!-only by doing numerous shows will you be able to do this & learn to read your audience-experience teaches this!!

I also agree with the British, Aussie, NZ humour & attitude as mentioned by Aussie magic is so different than in US, audiences expect you to take the P***,

Here, if they trip we tell them to get over it & stop slowing the show down & will generally be heckled by the rest of the audience anyway for slowing there night down!!!-If they have a sore knee-buy them a beer later & were all mate s again!!-No problems! Get over it!! You cannot sue people here

Good luck anyway!!
magic4u02
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This I ssomething I wrote a while back for an ezine but I think it has a lot of value here as it deals directly with how to pick and greet your helpers on stage and how to go about handling it. I hope it may be of value.

I thought I would write this article as there seems to be so much information written on the subject of building your shows, working on routines, or how to be entertaining etc. However, there seems to be some topics which I find little information on. Perhaps it is because there is a feeling that people should already know how to do this or perhaps it is perceived that this is an unimportant task that is minor to the actual show itself. What I am referring to is a simple topic of how we select our helpers, greet them and treat them while on stage with us.

I am sure we have all seen some performers over the years just simply point at a person and say, "um.... hmmm YOU!" This certainly is one way in which to select someone from the audience, but dare I say it certainly can’t be the best. To me it just seems very rude to select anyone in that form or manner. Maybe some of us can even admit that we have done that in the past or even still do it today.

I wonder what we as performers, through our own efforts, can do to make our shows better places for us and those we select to assist us. I think for me it all comes down to an old fashioned word “respect.”

While growing up I am sure each of us has been taught and told this word “respect” many times by teachers, parents, adults and elders. In other words, respect was taught to us as something we are supposed to do or show to another person. It is the way in which we act around them or treat them. We were told to show respect to gain respect back.

But, somewhere between the age of us growing up and us becoming entertainers, some of us have forgotten that the word “respect” should be carried and brought with us when we go on stage. Do we forget or are we nervous or is there some kind of feeling that we are more important then the audience because it was they who came to see us? Not sure exactly what the reason may be and maybe some or all of these can apply to some degree. However, there seems to be this void a lot of us go through when we hit the stage to perform. We seem to leave “respect” backstage.

However, if one really studies and cares about his or her performance, you will find a definition for respect that reads as follows: “a sense of worth or excellence of a person.” You will notice that it does not mention age, sex, race or even social status. It simply means to treat everyone you meet with a sense of worth and value.

I try and remember this whenever I pick someone to assist me on stage and how I treat them while they are assisting me. One thing I remember every time I go on stage is that I must treat my helpers as if they were guest in my own home. How would I want to be treated? How would I want to be talked to? These are the things that go through my head as I work with my helpers.

One of the things I see happening a lot is just how one entertainer goes about the simple process of selecting someone from the audience to assist us on stage. I am sure there are many different ways in which we all select our helpers for assisting us on stage. However, are there certain ways in which we do this that may not being showing the kind of respect that we should be showing? Certainly pointing to someone and shouting, “You” is not the most respectful of ways to get a person to come up and help. However, I have seen this done too many times.

When I try and select someone from the audience, I want to show respect to them. I want to make them comfortable as I can and I want to build their trust in me. I start building this trust by the simple way in which I select them. One thing I do is to try not to point if I can help it. I usually state the person by describing their location of where they are sitting as well as what they are wearing. I might call for the person through the use of the word “lady or gentlemen or boy or girl” Each of these words show respect to my audience. For me, this is better then pointing.

I might state it like so “Would the gentlemen in the 3rd row wearing the red tie like to come up and join me on stage?” Notice I am also asking their permission as opposed to demanding something from them. I am not being forceful but showing respect to them right from the start.

I then remember to make sure this person feels comfortable as they are making their way to the stage area. This person is in the spotlight for this time. They may feel nervous and a bit scared of what is to come. They are not used to being on stage as we are and we must be tuned into this. When ever a helper is heading toward the stage area I want to acknowledge them and show my respect to them. With this in mind, I say something like, "Would you please give her a nice round of applause as she makes her way up to the stage." This is a way for me to show my appreciation for them coming and assisting me. It builds a trust and respect before the person even meets me on stage and lets them know I thank them.

I might also tell her to watch her step or even help her up the stairs. I also find it important to meet and greet them half way. I do not wait for them to always come to me. Having them walk to greet me mid stage almost has this feeling that I am more important then they are. I usually meet them at the stairs if I am working on a stage etc. and I help them to the location where I need them to be.

I also do not just rush into the effect or routine as I see a lot of people do. I take the time to introduce myself to them find out their name and introduce them to the audience. This helps calm and relax them and gets them to realize that I want them up there and that we are going to have fun.

Now many folks wonder if and should you use your assistant to get laughs. Well certainly you can and that is a part of magical entertainment. The difference is that if you are going to use your assistants for laughs that you build the trust with them up first and make certain that every step of the way you are telling them and reinforcing to them that you appreciate them and that you are just kidding. You might say something like, “I am just kidding Joe. Please give Joe here a round of applause for allowing me to pick on him for just a few moments.” If I have done this well Joe will understand that I appreciate him being there and I thank him for helping me entertain the audience.

After any effect with an assistant, I want them to be certain they realize that I really appreciate them helping me. I do this by always allowing them to get the biggest applause. I direct the applause to them instead of myself. They get the praise from the audience and all the applause that goes along with it.

After the applause is over, I usually will whisper to them my own special thanks to them as I escort them and direct them down to their seat. Once again as they head towards their seat I allow the audience to applaud them one last time.

One thing I remember a magician telling me a long time ago was this simple question, “What is a magician without an audience?”. To me the answer is ….a pretty lonely person. It means to me that I am nothing without my audience. They are the reason why I perform and because of this I always want to show my respect to them.

This is one reason why after every performance I do I take the moment to meet and greet the audience if I can. It is my chance to thank them for coming out and show that I appreciate them doing so.

So how do you personally pick and greet your own helpers? Well that is something each of us has to figure out for ourselves, but I hope that what you learned as a kid will come back to you and that the word “respect” will be a part of how you handle it.

Kyle
Kyle Peron

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