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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The words we use » » Come-Back Lines To The Ordinary Questions... and the unthinkable (1 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Profile of brianmayo
Didn't notice if anybody answered it, but to Jason: The Princess Bride, what an awesome movie! Smile Smile
kihei kid
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Q: How did you do that?

A: Confucius say, "Man who stand on toilet and tell secrets high on pot."

A: Ancient Chinese secret.

In loving memory of Hughie Thomasson 1952-2007.

You brought something beautiful to this world, you touched my heart, my soul and my life. You will be greatly missed.

Until we meet again “my old friend”.
Evan Williams
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Haha. Any question can be answered with something about what Confucius says. My grandpa has a million of 'um!
ed rhodes
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On 2003-08-08 11:04, Monte wrote:
Can you make my wife disappear?

Ya. Just be yourself. (Mike Ammar)

Somebody had an article on this response once. He had several responses:

No, but (gesture to wife) I can make your daughter here vanish!

If I could do that the first one wouldn't have cost me so much.

Yes, but who would you find to put up with you?

(Gesturing to wife) What in God's name do you have in mind that's better than that!

"All the world's a stage, but the play is badly cast!" - Oscar Wilde
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Profile of dpe666
Statement: I know how you did that! (or) I saw that!

Answer: I don't care.

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Profile of snilsson
Most of the suggested "come-back lines" in this thread seem rather smug and patronizing. Are you guys really using these lines? For real?

Isn't "How did you do that?" just another way of saying "Wow, that was good" and wouldn't, "Thanks, I'm glad you liked it" be a better response?
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Profile of Jgriff
I liked the line that Daryl used once.

How did you do that?

It's an ancient Chinese secret called Chi-Ting.

It works great after a poker or gambling demonstration.
Jeremy Griffin
"Rough and Smooth Forever" - Jay Sankey
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I use mine for real. It is very fitting of my character. Smile
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Profile of Zeiros
Indeed, somehow the phrase "I don't care" fits perfectly with that avatar of yours!

But seriously, if you're trying to get on with a trick and some idiot is shouting out, "I know how it's done, hurrr hurrr..." then a quick putdown is in order.

An example from my own life would be that I was performing and somebody shouted out, "My card is on the top, I know my card's on the top, how else would'ya know what's goin' on?" Clearly I was dealing with somebody who had seen a couple of those "exposition" specials on TV and remembered them.

I muttered, "I wish you were right, it'd make my job easier," whilst performing a double lift* and fixed that problem!

*The spectator's card WAS on the top. My bad, I guess, for letting them suspect this.
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Profile of nums
On 2003-04-05 18:26, shinobi wrote:
My pet hate: "Do that again!" when you can't reset instantly. Still looking for a good answer.

When I hear, "That was great!!! Do it again," I tell them they sound like my wife on our honeymoon...

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Profile of zimsalabim
How did you do that?

I didn't, you did. Smile
Joe Zimmer

"The Second Greatest Magician in the World"

Who is the Greatest? Everybody else! Borrowed with respect from the late Great Eddie Fechter Owner of the Forks Hotel


Orlando Florida
Patrick Redford
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When someone asks how it’s done I find a response of:

"Did you like it?"
"Thank you."

This works wonderfully. They are really just complimenting you.

There is no need to put them down, this just gives one a bad image, as well as other performers a bad image.

There is no need to be rude or cocky here.

Just my opinion.

Kindest Regards,
-George Tait
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Profile of MisterE21
I agree COMPLETELY with Snilsson. In my personal opinion, 90% of these "responses" are excellent examples of many reasons that people dislike magicians.

Do you REALLY believe that the best response to a heckler is to become involved in a battle of wits with the person? This seems to not only defy many well respected professionals' opinions, but also common sense! Assuming, momentarily, that you are either: a) a paid performer or b) a person who would prefer to be liked by the audience, this response seems completely inappropriate. You could quite quickly lose the entire audience because, after all, you're attacking one of THEM. And how, exactly, do you intend to deal with a situation when you are outmatched in the wits arena? It certainly WILL happen.

Going back to the paid professional possibility, imagine momentarily how the people booking your show (and paying your bill) would feel when you start attacking their customers? You are supposed to be a professional: this means being in control of the crowd and, barring that, in control of yourself.

I will fully admit that certain situations allow greater leeway; with experience you are able to discern what the boundaries are in each audience. You are able to differentiate between spectator types and respond accordingly.

Many of these lines just SCREAM to me that the magician is seeking attention. In fear that a spectator is going to suck the attention, momentarily, away from the magician, he feels the need to respond in a "witty and amusing" manner, so as to pull the spotlight back.

A notable exception is, as DPE pointed out, when this is within character, however, I doubt that 90% of the people posting on this thread have similar characters...seems statistically impossible. If it fits your character, great...assuming you've actually given thought to your performing character.

Anyway, after my diatribe, my responses are generally self-deprecating and low-key; I fail to understand why I should feed into an obnoxious spectator's desires by egging them on and getting nasty.

I rarely have to respond to, "How did you do that," because I usually ask them first. In most of my effects, I attempt to make as much of the magic dependant in some way upon the spectator as possible; thus, when the effect is successfully completed, I can look at them in astonishment and ask how they did it. I usually say something along the lines of, "I've done this with hundreds of people and NO ONE will tell me how it's done! I guess it IS against the rules though..." This not only gets a laugh, but also subtly reinforces the fact that I'm not going to spill secrets.

If they do beat me to, "How'd you do that" or the effect doesn't have sufficient audience participation to elicit my regular response (or, if I've already used the line a couple times), I generally fall back on the, "Lots of time and very few friends" response...which isn't even THAT far from the truth!!

When people ask to see a trick again, I generally tell them I'll be happy to show them again...next time. And, if they liked that, they'll LOVE this one and then just launch into it.

If someone jumps on me about knowing how something is done (which has almost NEVER happened), I right back to not knowing, "Thank GOD, I've been trying to find someone to tell me how it worked..." and keep going. If they keep pushing and, if it's possible, I'll switch it up. Ideally, I p**m the top card and let them shuffle to their hearts content. I find that presenting evidence is far more convincing than presenting patter.

Anyway, that's how I take care of it. I don't want to make people feel bad, I don't want to make them "sympathize" with a heckler. Above all else, I see no reason to attack a spectator who hasn't shown aggression, such as, "How did you do that?" "Well, can you keep a secret? GOOD! So can I!" Those types of responses are completely uncalled for, as the spectator wasn't heckling, they were responding.

It all depends on what type of character you want to be to your audience, I'd rather be liked.


(My sincere thanks to anyone who actually read that entire post!)
Your EFFECT is only as good as its AFFECT.
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Profile of dpe666
I think that it also comes down to the way in which the line is delivered. For example, in the previous post, the line: "Can you keep a secret? GOOD! So can I!" was given. If that line is given in a "smart-alecky" tone, then yes, it is uncalled for. However, if said with a wink and a little nudge, it is simply good natured banter.

My performing partner, Tom McCarthy, uses lines like that ALL the time, but I have never seen ANYONE get upset. His character is that of the charlatan. He is very antagonistic, which is needed in order to pull off his act.

So, again, I think that tone is a BIG issue. Smile
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Profile of gician
I agree with you. It's all in the delivery and how much of YOU you've delivered up to that point. The line I tend to use all the time is one I believe I heard from Brian Gillis:

Q: "How'd you do that?"
A: "Quite well I thought."

It's all just part of the fun.

I do experience a little difficulty when someone who's really been baffled says, "I really need to know how you did that." I don't use a goofy line when this happens. They can't make any sense of it and have experienced...magic. They really can't explain it, and well, neither can I. So I humbly thank them, and wish them to hold onto that feeling.

I miss that feeling.

Lee Darrow
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Profile of Lee Darrow
Jason, Vizzini was actually quoting General Douglas MacArthur, and the quote was incomplete. The entire quote was, "Never get involved in a land war in Asia unless you control the skies." And they did the book, by William Goldman, proud.

Replies: Do it again.

You sound just like my wife.. "Do it again, do it again!" - courtesy of Heba Haba Al

Is it rerun time again?!

I can't, the batteries died!

I know how you feel. Sometimes I sit at home and do this over and over, just to entertain myself!

Replies: How did you do that?

It's an ancient Chinese method called Chi...Ting. If I do it REAL slow, it's called Tai Cheat!

Without hesitation or fear of failure!

It's all done by hypnosis! (Snap fingers in front of their face.) "Wake up!"

It's a pigment of your inebriation!

From a really great guy at a trade show, recently, "It's supposed to be an optical illusion, but it only LOOKS like one!"

Replies: I know how you did that one.

Don't TELL them! (Pause, add, if necessary.) SELL it to them. (Pause, add, if necessary.) Later. (Pause, add, if necessary) When I'm gone! - Courtesy Rik Johnsson

(Only if you are absolutely sure they haven't a clue, like with CMH.) "Care to demonstrate?" (Pause, add, if necessary.) "I understand, us magicians have to keep OUR secrets, right?" Slap him on the back and shake his hand.

Replies: Can you make my spouse disappear?

Pal, this is Chicago! For 50 bucks ANYBODY can disappear! In MY neighborhood, it's only $19.95!

Sure, but MY wife will be really unhappy when we get home together!

With tongue in cheek,
Lee Darrow, C.Ht.
<BR>"Because NICE Matters!"
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As I do moslty side show stuff I use, "Very carefully," a lot. I also use, "I'm a god" or "I took the Side Show Oath."

Mithra Smile
Mithra, God of Light

"Nothing is what it seems."
Jan Fishan Khan
Bill Palmer
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To "Do that again!" I sometimes reply, "I didn't do anything. It was an illusion."

To "How did you do that?" I give them a false explanation in a foreign language. Be careful. Don't give them the real explanation in the foreign language—they may understand it!
"The Swatter"

Founder of CODBAMMC

My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

Jerry the Great
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I really think that for me the best response is one of appreciation, "I'm so glad you liked that, it's one of my favorites too." And then carry on with the presentation. This doesn't risk offending anyone and keeps everything on track. Smile
"What's wrong with you people? Haven't you ever seen a fool before?"

Jerry the Great
Steve Hoffman
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Spectator: "How did you do that?"

Magician: "Many people ask me HOW did I do that. But the real question is not how, but WHY?"

(Either leave it at that, or come up with an answer to reason WHY...)

Steve H
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