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Nick Alexander
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Hi everybody,
I'm a busking magician who wants to get into kids' parties. I was just wondering how risqué I could make my jokes, if I could do that at all and what some of the jokes you guys use are.

regards
TMM Smile
Emazdad
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When dealing with kids, anything slightly gross is OK, kids love it, but I take it by risqué you mean slightly rude double meanings of a sexual nature. All I can say is definitely No, avoid anything even slightly risqué, they're only children.

When doing kids' parties you are there to entertain the birthday child and their friends, not the adults; when busking you're entertaining everyone.
Yours Funfully
Clive "Emazdad" Hemsley
www.emazdad.com

"Magic is a secret, without the secret there is no magic"

Remember there are only 3 types of people in the world, those that can count and those that can't.
Frank Tougas
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Minneapolis, MN
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I whole heartedly agree, when dealing with kids risqué material is definitely a no-no.

Yes it is okay to use humor that works on several levels— after all, often there are adults in the room and by making the experience enjoyable for them as well, you are more likely to not only be asked back but possibly do other venues connected to the adults i.e. family picnics, business and work related venues, etc.

As they say in the theater to indicate keeping it clean, "No Blue Material". Think like a kid and perform to their level of understanding and leave material that is questionable...well...back on the streets, where it is more appreciated.

Unlike a street performance, in a living room your audience can't walk away. If they do, well that is a whole different subject.
Frank Tougas The Twin Cities Most "Kid Experienced" Children's Performer :"Creating Positive Memories...One Smile at a Time"
Cheshire Cat
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I cannot agree more with Clive and Frank. The problem is Masked Magi, if you start firing jokes over younger children's heads for the adults, then you would be accused of not doing what you were paid for, i.e. entertaining little children. If you used anything risqué with older children you are liable to be accused of corrupting them (or even worse!).There are many days when a little child says something that I could do a double take on, to try and amuse the adults, but I usually just give the grown-ups a semi-smile or maybe a feke startled look— this works just as well!

Some may say children's entertainers have to 'dumb down', I disagree with this (as that little child may be destined to have a far greater mental capacity than I), so I look upon it as being able to 'adjust' to the stage in life these little people in front of me are currently at. Hope all this makes sense.

Tony.
Adam V
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I will agree that you should never ever ever (ever) do risqué jokes in a kids' show. However I have been complimented many times by adults for making jokes in the show that only they get. While you are paid to entertain the children there is no reason for you to not entertain the adults. Remember, even though the kids may love you, if the adults are bored themselves they may not want to hire again. As ridiculous as that sounds it is unfortunately true.

As a general rule, remember that your job should be to entertain _everybody_ in the room while focusing on the group you were hired to perform for.
Adam V - 9 out of 10 dentists recommend him.
Emazdad
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Quote:
Remember, even though the kids may love you if the adults are bored themselves they may not want to hire again. As ridiculous as that sounds it is unfortunately true.

I disagree with that, I don't do anything for the adults. They are included in the show at certain points but their participation is still for the kids. I get booked time and again because I keep the kids entertained and the adults book me because they love to hear the kids having a really good time. 90% of my work is after all repeat bookings and recommends. This is what I'm being paid for, entertaining the children. As I've said before I've had lots of bookers say "We had so and so last year, but he was telling jokes to the adults over the kids' heads and they didn't understand them."

As a parent there are the odd times during the show when a kid says or does something that only parents understand is funny. At these times as with Ace the odd knowing look at the parents will make them laugh. Plus as all my routines involve a helper who is the star, the adults love watching the kids performing.

Billy Whizz is the same, he doesn't do anything for the adults either, but his show like mine is so much fun the adults enjoy it as it is without having to do something special for them, and as we both do about 30 shows a month we must be doing somthing right.
Yours Funfully
Clive "Emazdad" Hemsley
www.emazdad.com

"Magic is a secret, without the secret there is no magic"

Remember there are only 3 types of people in the world, those that can count and those that can't.
Nick Alexander
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Thanks for all your feedback guys, I'll just use some funny toilet humour instead.
NJJ
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You are paid to entertain the kids but the parents are the ones who pay you.

Entertain everyone who is watching!

The die box is a great trick for both adults and kids. The kids yell while the adults laugh!
eddieloughran
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I think M.M. is winding you up!
Adam V
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No he isn't.
Adam V - 9 out of 10 dentists recommend him.
Emazdad
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Quote:
You are paid to entertain the kids but the parents are the ones who pay you.
At a birthday party during the magic show the parents often take this time to clear away the food etc., and cut the cake up to put in the party bags, sometimes watching as they work. They finish their preparations for the end of the party then watch the show. Sometimes they stay in another room talking to the other parents who stayed, all they care about is that the kids are being entertained and having fun and the noise of the kids laughing and shouting tells them I'm doing a good job. So they pay me, re-book me and pass my name on. All without me making a special effort to entertain them.

I sometimes feel this need to do stuff for the adults stems from a minor level of insecurity. Maybe you're trying to say to the grown ups, "Look I know I'm here doing a kids' show, but I can entertain real people as well, honest."

Quote:
Entertain everyone who is watching!
If the kids are having fun, and your show itself is fun the adults will enjoy it without you having to do something special for them. As a parent seeing my kids smile, giggle and laugh loudly is one of the true joys of parenthood. I even get adults who forget themselves and join in with the children during the show.

If I was to do my kids' show to a room full of adults it would be seen as patronising and childish, but do the same show to a group of kids in a room full of adults and the adults' perception changes. They laugh with the kids, join in and have a great time. If anyone says anything to them they have the perfect excuse, "Well it's for the kids isn't it." This gives them the excuse to trangress to their younger days for a short while. Many adults have commented to me how much they enjoyed it and couldn't stop laughing.
Yours Funfully
Clive "Emazdad" Hemsley
www.emazdad.com

"Magic is a secret, without the secret there is no magic"

Remember there are only 3 types of people in the world, those that can count and those that can't.
NJJ
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Well I hate to say it Emazdad but it sounds like you are entertaining the adults as well.

Sure, you don't have to work in some pithy political satire or edgy stuff but you need to make sure that everyone who is watching is entertained in some way.

A lot of the parents I perform for are bored out of their minds at the party and want a good show as much as the kids. Sometimes hearing the kids scream isn't enough for them.

I provide family entertainment, not just kids' entertainment. I see my job as entertaining whatever audience I am presented with.

E.g. I just got home from a gig where there were 30 adults and only 10 kids (figure that one out) at a kid's party. They all sat down and watched the show together and I had the right balance of stuff for the kids and adults to keep them all happy and entertained.
0pus
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I think I am more in Emazdad's camp. When I have hired children's entertainers for my own children, I always sit down with the kids to watch. (I also "rouse" the children to react with applause, etc., and help maintain an appropriate level of proper conduct.) In this situation, the thing that is entertaining to me is watching the kids. An entertainer that plays to adults in this situation often appears to be saying "I would rather be performing for grown ups." Sometimes that can appear pathetic. I think that if a performer chooses to be a children's entertainer, he or she should fully embrace that decision, at least during the performance.

0pus
p.b.jones
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Hi,
I think this whole thing depends on how you term "playing to the adults". I like to think of my show as a family show not a children's show, after all the amount of times that I am hired just to entertain children is tiny. At 99.9% of my shows there are many adults and always at least one or two as I will not perform otherwise.

Yes, they might book me for a 4-year old party but I consider that I am paid to entertain at the party so I should do the best I can, therefore I entertain all present. I do not mean with rude jokes or double entendre, not even jokes that only the adults get. But it means that I do not do Run Rabbit Run, Hippity-hop Rabbits etc.

The jokes and business that I use are funny for all ages without being off-colour. This is just how I prefer to work— it suits me and my personality and it gets me lots of work. Just as Emazdad's does for him. I think it is not a case of right or wrong but rather what works for you.
Phillip
Emazdad
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Quote:
Well I hate to say it Emazdad but it sounds like you are entertaining the adults as well.

That's true, but not due to me actually aiming anything at them, they just get caught up with all the fun the kids are having and enjoy watching the kids.

There's nothing better for the adults to see that will convince them to book you for their kid's party than a child with eyes as wide as a dinner plate and a mile-wide smile.
Yours Funfully
Clive "Emazdad" Hemsley
www.emazdad.com

"Magic is a secret, without the secret there is no magic"

Remember there are only 3 types of people in the world, those that can count and those that can't.
Rupert Bair
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I don't know if people still chat here but can anybody tell me any triied and tested gags for kids really silly jokes
Matt
magic4u02
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I would also have to say that you can say gross things and make fun of gross situations. Kids like gross stuff and it can be used in a good manner.

However, I would never ever even think about using anything Risque in the sense that it is based upon sexuality. There is no reason to do it and your only going to hurt your gigs if you even attempt to do this at a kid's oriented performance.

Kyle
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Jeff Alan
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I contend that we ALL play to the adults some:

If you use those crazy classic kid show jokes, then you are entertaining the ADULTS. Most of the kids don't even get the jokes, especially the younger ones.

If you get a kid up who is a real cutie and has "stage presence", and you milk that, then you are entertaining the ADULTS! Most kids don't find other kids "cute".

If you get a kid to "do" the trick for you & have them bow and clap, that's for the adults, kid's don't generally clap for their peers, kid's holding the bunny for a picture with the magi, that's for the adults, if you've ever looked out to the adults in the back to give them a funny look about something, that's for them also.

Many parents have come up to me afterward & told me how much THEY enjoyed the show, and they say things like, "I didn't think I would.", but making sure that EVERYONE enjoys the show, can make a better show.

But I have never heard a kid say, "I didn't like it, it was over my head..."
Aim high and you won't get your shoes wet.
Leo B. Domapias
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When choosing jokes to include in my birthday/school/family shows, I follow this rule:

There are absolutely no jokes about SEX, DRUGS, ALCOHOL, CIGARETTE, RELIGION, RACE or DISABILITY.

In the Philippines where politics can get so passionate people can get killed for their political persuasions, I also junk politically flavored jokes.

Ben Benjay
Manila, Philippines
Emazdad
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Hi Ben, with kids in the audience any jokes on any of those subjects would not be usable any way. I don't really tell 'jokes' during my show, most of my funny's are one liners based on the situation at the time, and 99% of them are aimed at the kids. The Odd one percent is aimed at the parents, it's a sort of an 'in house' parent to parent one liner about kids.
Yours Funfully
Clive "Emazdad" Hemsley
www.emazdad.com

"Magic is a secret, without the secret there is no magic"

Remember there are only 3 types of people in the world, those that can count and those that can't.
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