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Inner circle
6439 Posts

Profile of NJJ
I need a strong visual opener to a stand up routine that shows me to be both a) magical and b) funny.

E.g. I used to open by telling the crowd that most people would touch magic with a ten foot pole (and then pull out a ten foot pole from a gift). I'd follow that up by telling them this is wasn't a normal bag. I'd turn it around and it would have a pair of fake buttocks on it. "You see, this bag has a false bottom."

It got a lot of laughs but the pole has never been as amazing as I hoped.

Any ideas?
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Elite user
Washington State
484 Posts

Profile of Magicduck
I have used a number of openers. One that plays well, and is in the vein you request, is the "What's Next" spot card. I state that, before I do a show for these folks, it helps me know how well they are able to see so I know how hard I have to work. Then do the card by telling them they should see X spots on this side, then remember there were X spots on this side, then of course it starts changing so, as you flip it, the spots are not as they should be. Finally, I show the back and claim that, if they have spots in front of their eyes, they should see their eye doctor.
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Veteran user
Ontario, Canada
322 Posts

Profile of johnpert
As an MC I used the "paper bag briefcase" from Hank Lee. I stored my props inside that I planned to use.

I pulled out a newspaper, shared some headline jokes (search the net). You could then go into the torn and restored newspaper effect from there.

You could pull out a length of rope and do a rope routine with funny bits as well.


Peter Marucci
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Inner circle
5389 Posts

Profile of Peter Marucci
I have a brown paper bag, which I carry out and claim that, since I didn't know what time my show was, I packed a lunch.

I turn the bag around and there are the initials N D (in the University of Notre Dame logo style.)

"Hmm" I say, "That could stand for 'Notre Dame', which would mean this is the actual --- LUNCHBAG OF NOTRE DAME!"

I then refer to its being a terrible joke that I wouldn't touch with a 10-foot pole but "fortunately I have one with me", and pull the long pole out of the small lunchbag.

BTW, I LOVE the idea of the "false bottom"!
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Inner circle
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
1565 Posts

Profile of Thoughtreader
Take some jumbo cards and make a set of Two Card Monte from them. It makes a great opener.
Sincerely yours,
Paul Alberstat
Canada's Leading Mentalist
AB StageCraft
Larry Barnowsky
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Inner circle
Cooperstown, NY where bats are made from
4866 Posts

Profile of Larry Barnowsky
The false bottom idea is very funny.

On stage I often use my assistant Esther in the act. When the curtain opens there is an easel with a large cardboard poster which says in a very large bold font, "The Incredible Count Elmsley" and in the smallest font barely readable below "The Lovely Miss Esther".

As I am introducing myself and her, she whips out a huge magnifying glass to try to read her name on the poster, moving the lens in and out in an exagerated way... I do a double take as she quickly hides the magnifier behind her back. This gets a strong laugh and the audience is given a sample of what kind of assistant she is.

At the end of the show after I take my bow, I have her do the same, but in addition she turns around the poster which on the other side has her name in big type. The audience reaction to this is always very strong.
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