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jay sankey
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Hey Guyz. Thanks for all the positive feedback about my 'friday videos.' Mucho appreciato! For those of you who haven't heard about, I just posted a video called 'Lecture Moments #1." It's a few different LIVE clips from past lectures (as opposed to 'future lectures' Jay?) including some funny bits + serious advice.

If you send me your comments I'll post them on the video page later this week. Next Friday's video is going to be a doozie (nice work Sank!) It's a new comedy video featuring a character called "Christophe Le Clown" and he is seriously OUT OF CONTROL. If you are a big fan cliched and unoriginal clowns, DON'T WATCH THIS VIDEO. It's only going to upset you. But if you (like me) can't stand artless, uninspired clown performers, this is one video you WON'T WANT TO MISS! Some people are going love it, some are going to hate it. You've been warned. Smile

As for this week's video, here are a few of my comments from the video page. My hope is that they strike a chord with some of you. LLRM.

"Magic lectures are one of my very favorite places to improvise. I presented my first lecture when I was 17 and so, having literally 'grown up lecturing,' it's a type of performance situation in which I feel EXTREMELY comfortable. All audiences always have an enormous amount of influence on any performance and so it's no surprise that whenever any of us find ourselves in front of people who are familiar with our work and came specifically to WATCH US DO OUR THING, our own performances often 'rise to the occasion.' (Unless of course we feel a great deal of 'pressure' and our nerves get the better of us. I remember a 'Just For Laughs' comedy show case in Montreal several years ago...)

I improvise a great deal of the stuff I say and do during a magic lecture. And when improvising, so much of it is about COMMITMENT. About not hesitating. About -if not completely ignoring- at least listening less intently to the 'little worried voice in our head that warns us not to say or do stuff.' Much of the time I just say what comes to mind (and it usually works out fine) but sometimes I bail on a direction. I quickly re-think a scripting choice and SWERVE away from it as best as I can.

A perfect example of this is during this first clip when I've just borrowed the deck from someone in the audience. I refer to the deck as 'unprepared' and then I begin saying the word 'unprotected'...and I drop that line of thinking QUICKLY. In a different context (with no kids or extremely conservative people in the audience) I probably would've gone with it and seen where the idea of an 'unprotected deck' (as opposed to unprotected sex) would've taken us. I bet it could've been pretty funny. But on instinct, in front of that very mixed and family-oriented crowd, I made a choice and shunted the train off onto another track heading in a different direction.

I've been doing the 'borrowed deck' gag for over 20 years. It still plays very well for magicians. As an actor I really enjoy heading into a bit that I've done a zillion times and trying to deliver it with some reality.

It takes A LOT to make me feel shy or awkward (when I'm performing, that is) but I admit that every time I've watched the clip where I actually SIT DOWN ON THE GUY'S LAP, I uncomfortably chuckle to myself. I mean, heck, talk about your physical intimacy during a close-up performance! "Jay Sankey: Magic Lap Dancer." But I have a real need to try stuff, crazy stuff, and just see WHAT HAPPENS. It borders on an addiction with me.

"If I tell you what I'm going to do before I do it, does that sound fair?" I love that line. It's such a solid set-up. I use it all the time, with magicians and lay people. As for the "I'm going to kick you in the head" punch line, I've tried a few different lines, but the gag works best if you say something: simple, easily imagined, violent and a little over-the-top. For example, "I'm going to knock your bottle of beer off the table," won't get a laugh. "I'm going to break your toes," won't get a laugh. It has to be something broad and simple. Blunt works.

As for my last comment about the audience making you a great magician, I think there's a lot of good reasons to keep this idea in mind, especially as a reminder regarding how much power the audience has in the 'exchange.' Live performance, especially close-up, is a mysterious act of co-creation. LLRM.
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