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J-L Sparrow
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Profile of J-L Sparrow
A few weeks ago my workplace had a company Christmas party, and the secretary/business manager asked if I would be willing to do a magic show. I agreed (making this my first magic show since I did one in a friend's garage when I was twelve years old). This time I would be doing a show for about twenty co-workers and their spouses and children.

I decided to keep the show fairly short (about fifteen minutes) so I decided on these tricks:

  1. A Futile Lesson (by Paul Resin, as found in "Annemann's Card Magic")
  2. Cups and Balls routine (nothing too fancy -- I just used a pretty simple routine)
  3. Paper Balls Over the Head (of a sitting spectator)
  4. Up One Sleeve and Down the Other (from Bob Longe's "World's Best Coin Tricks")
  5. Triple Rope Trick (as found in Mark Wilson's "Cyclopedia of Magic")

Tricks A, C, and D I included because I wanted some light-hearted comedy magic. I figured many of the spectators wouldn't be able to see a deck of cards very well from where they were standing, so that's why I chose "A Futile Lesson" for the card-trick portion of the show: it's fun mainly comes from the humor more than from the "magic" itself.

I discovered that as I asked for volunteers, most of the kids' hands immediately went up (something that I wasn't expecting). So while I chose an adult volunteer for tricks A and C, I incorporated the kids in helping me magically tap the cups in the Cups and Balls routine. Even though they just tapped the cups (some harder than others), they seemed to derive great pleasure from exhibiting their magical abilities.

Another thing I discovered is that the humor in the comical magic was much more popular with the adults than with the children. With "Up One Sleeve and Down the Other" (which has me jumping around to get a coin up one arm, across the shoulders, and down the other arm), Bob Longe states that even though some people won't be fooled by the trick, they'll still be entertained by the spectacle. And they were! (At least the adults were.)

When I did the "Paper Balls Over the Head" routine, I admonished my volunteer not to reveal the trick if he discovers it, and I repeated it to "all of you out in TV land," as well. The adults all got a kick out of the trick, but the kids didn't really understand the humor -- they kept pointing out that the paper ball didn't really disappear!

So I learned that while adults can really appreciate a good comedy act, young children are more likely to appreciate "raw magic ability."

In the end, the magic show went over really well. Over the next few days my co-workers were asking me to demonstrate the Paper Ball trick to those who didn't attend the Christmas party.

I wish you all Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and a Happy New Year!
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Memphis, Down in Dixie
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Profile of ringmaster
The worst part of the company Christmas party is going out to look for a new job the next day.
One of the last living 10-in-one performers. I wanted to be in show business the worst way, and that was it.
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Profile of rogerpierre
I used to"pull" the Cracker Jack gift through the box for my daughters, they thought anyone could do it! In fact, they would get mad when my wife could not!
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Profile of highcard
Children do well with humorous routines but they have to be geared to their level. That would have been hard to do with a company party because the age range was probably wide. You are a brave man to do your first show in years in front of co-workers, though. Glad it went well for you.
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Sacramento, CA
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Profile of bigcheese
Great story, thanks for sharing it. If you decide to do a company party in the future you'll be more prepared for the mixed age group, and I'm sure it will be as successful as this one was.
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