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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » New to magic? » » Card Peek Gag (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

the AuditOrr
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I'm sure that you've all seen the gag where the magician shows a deck of cards and has a spectator select one. The magician then emphasizes that he cannot see the face of the card, no matter what. He then holds the card (back towards him) and says that it's a regular deck of cards. While showing the face and then the back of the card, he says that they've not been marked or altered on the front or the back. The gag being that the magician now knows what the card is.

This gag has never worked for me. Whenever I've seen it performed, I've seen people burst out laughing. However, whenever I've performed it, the audience just gives me this really dumb-struck look.
Anyone have any tips on this?

Fraser
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ViciousCycle
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When Max Maven does the "Phil" card trick, there is an astonishing amount of humor in the way that he says the name "Leon". It seems like something simple. However, one person can say it and have people burst into laughter, and another person, who is in no way humor-impaired, might say the same thing and get very little reaction. I think there's something similar at play with the card peek gag. If it doesn't work for you, the simplest advice might be to try something else.
Andy the cardician
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It is a personality thing - it fits you, or it does not.
Cards never lie
Tina I
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Comedy has a lot to do with personality and style. Look at the stand-up people for instance. Sometimes you see someone that tries to "borrow" other peoples jokes, especially from famous comedians, and they usually fall flat out. Like Jerry Seinfeld's, "And what's the deal with ... ?" It never works...never. Except for Jerry Seinfeld, that is.

If a joke don't work for you, then drop it. It does not mean you're not a funny guy, it just means that the joke doesn't work for you. Most pros have been through hundreds of lines/jokes that didn't work before arriving at *the* one that hits.
the AuditOrr
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Ok, well, makes lots of sense. I'll just keep trying new stuff.
Thanks,

Fraser
I want to go far...
Magi51
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It does depend on you. I used it once or twice, but the people didn't really know I was joking, so they were like "you cheated" sort of thing.
the AuditOrr
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Yeah, I've totally gotten that as well.
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erlandish
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It usually works best as a tool to make fun of yourself. I used to do this for kids. My script for this...

----------------

Hold the card up towards them, and let them see me staring at the back of it intensely, before actually conveying happiness, as if I know what the card is. Even make noises of satisfaction until somebody notices.

Acknowledge the kid who notices. Say, "What? Oh, you think there's markings on the back? No, there's no writing. Here, have a look." Flip the card around. "Look, no writing. See? Nothing there."

Flip the card back around. "Ok, now please take this card and I'll try to figure out what it is..." Usually by that point there was a whole lot of protest that I was carrying on with the trick.

--------------

The point of that exchange was to make me look silly. It makes it even more silly when I look back at them as they protest with this sincere look on my face that everything's fine and nothing's wrong, and that I think we can still continue the trick. It's not overdone, I move onto a proper card selection quickly after, but it still needs to be there for a second.

By way of another example, here's the old spongeball gag.

---------------

"Here, watch this, this is amazing." The spongeballs are laid out side-by-side. "Do you want spongeball #1 or spongeball #2?"

They say "Spongeball #1".

I say, "Ok, then I'll hold onto spongeball #2, you take spongeball #1. Close your fist tight. Alright, now with a little magic wave over here, a wave over there... a snap of the fingers here, a snap of the fingers there... There! Did you feel it?"

"No..."

"Which one did you take? Number 1 or Number 2?"

"Number 1..."

"Open your hand up slowly. Ladies and gentlemen, spongeball Number 2! I have spongeball Number 1 right here. Thank you so much, isn't magic incredible?" Pause for a moment. "What? ... They switched pla- oh forget it."

(credit: Daryl on Fooler Doolers, with only minor alterations. I've been told that the bit is older than that, though.)

---------------

Again, it's there to make people laugh at me being an idiot, and it helps that I look somewhat sincere that this non-effect is the magic effect that I was intending.

That kind of atmosphere, where it's ok to laugh at the magician, needs to be there from the start. Comedy's a messed up thing. It's frequently about giving the audience permission to laugh rather than just saying funny things. It's why sit-coms have laugh tracks when, logically, you'd think they shouldn't need them if the comedy was any good.
The Jester Extraordinaire : bderland.com
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themagiciansapprentice
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Erlandish,

some great ideas. I use the "look don't see " technique of holding the card far to one-side so I have to make a very big, exaggerated glance. I'm almost a clown doing it this way.

I've also found that building up to the effect using other funny gags helps set the fact I have a sense of humour. I don't start with this one
Have wand will travel! Performing children's magic in the UK for Winter 2014 and Spring 2015.
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