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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Now that’s funny! » » Comedy vs. Magic- what balance do you have? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Bob Sanders
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Magic Valley Ranch, Clanton, Alabama
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First, last and always my job is to entertain. That includes anything from absolute comedy to elegant dove and illusion magic. For years I even did some very serious mental magic. To answer your real question, there are parts of my stage show that emphasize one or the other. My stage show is intentionally broken into sets that use the staging and the music to set the tone for what is to come. Every time the curtains close, I get a chance to redo my character a little. In practice, if I talk, it is comedy and if it starts with music, it is elegant magic.

Once in an Atlanta hotel, I started with music and the highbrow bit and switched in the middle to comedy. In Atlanta it bombed awfully. In Atlantic City or Reno I think the audience would have been very different. The audience is the ultimate test. And I literally make some changes during the show based upon what the audience is doing tonight. Some audiences have no use for art. Others are personally threatened by true mystery. Some just want a laugh. They bought a ticket. Give them what they want.

My real objective observation is that better educated and more accomplished audiences enjoy a greater range of talent than do the less educated and less accomplished audiences. For a lower end audience, magic mystery had better be funny too or they get threatened. For mental acts, the balance is different. Upper end audiences view mental acts as entertaining tricks. Actual credibility for the psychic powers of the entertainer is low and so it must be entertaining. To them, being too serious in a mental act just lowers the credibility of the performer. For lower end audiences, psychic routines and powers are very real. Psychic entertainers have high credibility with them. But in an amazing magic routine, they are easily threatened. Ignorance works both for and against the entertainer. Humor suffers as the sophistication levels of the audience fall for adults. The ranges of what is funny is not the same. Likewise, the judgment between being entertainer and fraud changes too.

Children are another category. It is OK for an insecure child to have fun. Insecure adults may be threatened. The mismade flag is not funny to an insecure adult but psychic powers are real. Yet to a very sophisticated adult when the entertainer claims psychic powers, he is just a fraud. If he made it entertainment instead, it is humorous entertainment and fun to laugh at and with. So back to the basics, the audience rules. Be prepared.

Bob Sanders
Magic By Sander
Bob Sanders

Magic By Sander / The Amazed Wiz

AmazedWiz@Yahoo.com
nathanallen
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Des Moines, Iowa, USA
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Old post, but great question Kathryn. I always thought of myself as a magician who just happens to be a bit of a wise acre (I've never really thought about it in terms of percentages), but a couple of weeks ago a guy said my show was "75% comedy and 25% magic"...

I'm not sure if I should take this as a compliment to the comedy, or as an insult to the magic...
Nathan Allen, The Maniac of Magic
www.maniacofmagic.com

To buy a prop is nothing.
To write a good routine is something.
To really entertain an audience is everything.
Dynamike
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Eternal Order
FullTimer
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I am picking up more with comedy these days.
Floyd Collins
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Ohio
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I try to make sure the comedy does not out do the magic and the magic does not outdo the comedy. It is my constant goal for my shows. Sometimes it seems the comedy does out do the magic in witch case I just flow with it.
No one said it would be easy, or did they?

Check out my all new book "Chicken Scratches" visit my lulu store for more information.

http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/thecenterstage

http://www.collinscomedymagic.com
Sealegs
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I'm in a bar in Monaco just having a break from the ship I'm currently engaged on so I might be a bit the worse for the beers I've been drinking but I have to say that this is one of those theory questions that have little value in the real world of performing.

Do you leave your audience saying, "that performer was fantastic" and "wow what a phenomanally great show."

That's all that matters. Percentages of comedy to magic don't come into it. Are you giving the crowd the best show that you can deliver? Hopefully one of the best shows they'll ever see?

If the answer is yes then who cares if it's 99% comedy and 1% magic or 99% magic and 1% comedy? The audience certainly won't. And if you are happy doing what you're doing neither will you.

As long as you're happy doing what you're doing and the audience is ecstatic with what you deliver everything else is, to use a quaint English expression, b o l l o c k s.
Neal Austin

"The golden rule is that there are no golden rules." G.B. Shaw
markmiller
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Agreed. Sealegs has made the most accurate sensible post in this thread.
Comedy Writer
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For me its about 60% comedy and 60% magic.
MagicBus
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Kalamazoo, Michigan
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An example of comedy magic falling off a cliff, go to http://www.youtube.com, type in "Higgins at Abbotts" in the search box. I don't know whether to laugh or cry, maybe both.
Comedy Writer
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...Though I'm re-scripting the show to be more of a 75% magic / 75% comedy balance.
Jerskin
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I do more comedy than magic which seems to get me in trouble when they're expecting more magic (as happens at the Magic Castle)
GrEg oTtO

MUNDUS VULT DECIPI
TCsteinberg
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NewYawk
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There are NO RULES
~ tc ::--.---( )
Brian Lehr
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Edmonton, Canada
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Quote:
On 2009-08-30 12:24, TCsteinberg wrote:
There are NO RULES


Um, isn't that a rule? Smile

Brian
55john55
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Better a rule than a ruler, but I think it is one of those things that you can't measure.

My guess is that you will find out who you are over time. Just by asking the question you show that you are going to make an effort to find out what will make you comfortable. If you are happy with what you do, your audience probably will be also.
Ronald72
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Holland
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A great english guy has wrote a great book about stand up magic. There are some rules and what sealegs telling is a part of the reslult. As a comedy magician you can test your comedy at the laughs of your audience. if your audience only laughing and so hard then you are a good comedian. For comedy magicians it is a fact that we are a magician. We allways should have our focus on that. if at the climax of a routine the audience is real hard and only laughing they will miss the climax or magical effect. They miss the fact that we are stand-up magicians. We are not comedians. We here to give the audience a good laugh and briljant magic.

Comedy can be sripted but we are not telling jokes but using lines. A comedian is telling jokes. A great advice from bill Malone is holding a notebook with funny lines. Learn them. Another great advice is listen closely to your assistant and make comedy with him or her.

my best, Ronald
Bill Palmer
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Eternal Order
Only Jonathan Townsend has more than
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Current comedy fashion is that comics don't tell jokes. Comics are fairly well into what is called "slice of life." The problem with slice of life is that in this country, we all have fairly similar lives, within our cultural boundaries. So most redneck comics sound very similar to each other, most comics from any specific ethnic group sound similar to one another, etc.

I went to an open mike night at a local comedy club, just to watch the fellows and see if any of them were actually funny. I watched two comics arguing over which of them had invented the "is this an audience or a jury" line. One claimed that it had to be him, because he was an attorney.

I told him that Bob Hope had done the line before they were born. Shut both of them up.

Anyway, as far as comedy magic is concerned, the key to comedy magic is that the magic must not get in the way of the comedy and the comedy must not get in the way of the magic. There needs to be synergy when the two are combined. In other words, the magic must be good, and the comedy must be good, so that when they are combined the total effect of the routine is greater than the sum of the parts.

Every "name" comedy magician I have mentioned this to has agreed with me on this.
"The Swatter"

Founder of CODBAMMC

My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

www.cupsandballsmuseum.com
Comedy Writer
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I have now moved to 100% comedy and magic in all my shows.
BCaldwell
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is really regretting his
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Comedy Writer, I think you should go with a 83% comedy/69% magic mixture...
"...that's just my opinion. I could be wrong." Dennis Miller Smile

~Bob~
Comedy Writer
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Bob - I like it!

cw

And then give 110%?
BCaldwell
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is really regretting his
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Exactly! I literally always give like 110%..
"...that's just my opinion. I could be wrong." Dennis Miller Smile

~Bob~
JimbosMagic
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Rule 1... there are no rules.
Rule 2...who wrote rule 1
JIMMY CARLO. KIDabra International Family Entertainer of the Year 2009.
IBM Triple Award Winner. Uk Champion of Comedy Magic.
Represented the UK in the United Slapstick Awards on German TV.
European Children's Entertainer of the year 2007/8
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Now that’s funny! » » Comedy vs. Magic- what balance do you have? (0 Likes)
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