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magicgeorge
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Quote:
On 2011-08-22 21:02, terrillific wrote:
I also recommend taking a improv classes. Improv help me a lot in my presentation for Standup and magic.


Improv is a lot bigger in the States than in the UK.

I'd love to do improv but there's only one workshop going over here and I didn't apply in time.
BrianMillerMagic
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Quote:
On 2011-09-22 05:18, magicgeorge wrote:
Quote:
On 2011-08-22 21:02, terrillific wrote:
I also recommend taking a improv classes. Improv help me a lot in my presentation for Standup and magic.

Improv is a lot bigger in the States than in the UK.

I'd love to do improv but there's only one workshop going over here and I didn't apply in time.

Learn by doing. Respond to anything and everything that happens during a show, whether on stage or close-up. Do it in ordinary life when you're with strangers in public. Best way to learn improv is just to start doing it. Unless you're actually looking to learn the improv "games" that troupes do. Then obviously take classes.
jeffdell
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Thanks everyone for the informed conversation and the great feedback. Per the advice from Brian, George, and Floyd, I've been mostly working on getting a solid, solid 5-7 minutes of pure stand up without worrying about adding magic just yet. Rather than adding a magic trick\effect to the routine, I've started to tell jokes about magic which I'm hoping to use as a segue into performing "the first trick I ever learned."

I did pick up a copy of Judy Carter's Stand-Up Comedy Book and while I have found the book to have some insight, I have found getting out to open mics on a consistent basis to be the most helpful thing. At this point I'm trying to find a balance between getting out and performing and writing. Unfortuantely, my schedule does not allow me to go out and perform more than 1 - 2 nights per week at open mics and still write and still be awake for my day job.

As for effects, I've picked up a couple of marketed effects -- namely Kranzo's Mind Reading Crotch and Cody Fisher's Sweet dreams and I've gone through them. Both routines I'm sure are gems for Kranzo and Cody, however I don't believe there presentations are quite for me. Though watching their timing and how they constructed a routine around the effect has helped quite a bit and I'm hoping to start doing my own Professor's Nightmare routine coming up as I continue to go to open mics.

For those who are interested, I've video taped my last performance and I'm happy to send the link via PM to those who are interested or have feedback!

Thanks again for the wonderful feedback!

Jeff
magicgeorge
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Quote:
On 2011-09-22 12:31, BrianMillerMagic wrote:
Learn by doing. Respond to anything and everything that happens during a show, whether on stage or close-up. Do it in ordinary life when you're with strangers in public. Best way to learn improv is just to start doing it. Unless you're actually looking to learn the improv "games" that troupes do. Then obviously take classes.

That is pretty much what I do do, Brian. I MC a lot so I have to do the chat to the crowd thing, too.

However, I think doing a couple of hours of improv once a week would still help. Not just the games but extra time to practise in a different enviroment with like-minded people. It can't hurt.

Hey Jeff,
Glad to see it's going well. I'd like a look at`the video if you're offering.

All the best,
George
jeffdell
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Hi George,

I sent you a PM with a link.

Thanks!
Jeff
DelightfullyDark
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I actually re-registered to post in here it's been so long since I've posted. However I'll throw in my two cents for what they are worth.

Background: I play a lot of comedy clubs. From Yuk Yuk's in Toronto to some great shows the three big ones in LA, and most recently The Funny Bone in Columbus. I'm now playing more clubs in the midwest because that's where the work is. I spent a long time in the trenches as a straight stand-up before I started to marry the two together. Before any of that I was an accomplished and reasonably well respected close-up guy. I actually left magic to do stand-up because I was frustrated with magicians, but that is another story. I'm actually writing this post while waiting to go hit up an open mic in Chicago since I happen to be in town and I'm having stage withdrawals. One weird side note. I have a degree in Comedy Writing and Performance. To the best of my knowledge I'm the only magician in the world with a degree in Comedy, so I can academically prove why none of us are funny. I give that preface as a resume, not to boast.

The one thing I have heard consistently from comedians and the comedy magicians that I respect is that your first hundred shows don't count. I firmly believe that. You can listen to a lot of advice about how to choose effects and write jokes, but none of that will matter until your first hundred shows. I think that this applies when you switch from learning to do stand-up to learning to do comedy magic. They are two different skill sets, despite what people tell you. The difference between a comedian and a comedy magician is kind of like the difference between a card magician and a card cheat. Both have the same basic skill sets, but that doesn't mean both can do the other ones job.

That being said, I think the one really good piece of advice that has come out of here is, go learn to tell jokes before you learn to do tricks on stage. I no longer live in LA but whenever I went to the Castle and saw a stage guy who primarily did illusions stop to do his "comedy" bit I was really glad they had a no firearms policy. There would be a lot of dead illusionists now if it weren't for that policy. Universally those bits are terrible because that guy didn't learn to tell a joke. Nor did he learn to write a joke. Theres nothing wrong with the particular tricks. They are usually classics, and classics are called that because the trick itself usually holds up. I have a bit that's becoming popular in the underground shows I test it on that is really just The Magic Coloring Book. The same one you can buy in a gag gift store. However simple the basic trick is, my bit goes over well because I spent the time on stage to learn how to tell the joke.

Note that I said 'spent the time on stage.' I studied comedy in a structured collegiate setting, and every one of the proffessors would tell you. You can study comedy all you want, but if you are not out there doing it you will never get good at it. I refer you back to my original statement.

Your first hundred shows don't count kid. Take your lumps and get booed off stage. If your still around at 101 shows I don't think you'll be asking to many questions.

That being said there is something to be said about advice from the road dogs who have been kicked in the teeth a lot. I'll give you what I feel has been my secret to success in clubs. I don't know if it will work for you. It's a set of rules that I set out for myself concerning the tricks and bits I put into the show.

1. No rope magic. - Rope magic always looks like a puzzle to me. I've seen Bob Sheets kill with a single rope, and but they just arent for me.
2. No silk magic. - Silks are stupid. Sorry. Not going to be a very popular thought, but I think every show is better when there's no silks. If it's an all silk show the only way to make it better is this rule.
3. The magic has to be really strong from an audiences perspective. - This is a taste issue, but it also affects how I select my methods and makes a huge impact on what I put in my show and how I write around it. This seems like a dead simple rule that is obvious, but I stick to this one very hard and it's served me well. It has also reminded me that what I think is strong the audience may not understand.
4. If it's not really funny it's not worth it. - Again super obvious rule. I enforce it in my act with ruthless efficiency. I may love a joke, but if it's on it's fifth time out and it's still not getting laughs then it's got to go. It seems like the hardest thing for young comics to do is part with jokes that they love that aren't working. I feel that the ability to let go of things that aren't working in a timely manner can be the make or break for a lot of guys ever getting off the open mic night.
5. If it doesn't fit in my messenger bag than it doesn't go in the show. - Totally a personal thing. I have a love affair with my messenger bag. I also used to do a bit of free lance bike messenger work, so this is more of a mobility issue thing. Also I once had to do an extra half hour on a show because A guy I was working with lost his act because he had to check it at the airport.

These rules grew from experience and examining how I wanted to be viewed as a comedy magician. I have a lot of other thoughts that I could expound on such as my views on the current comedy magic scene, how to write a good joke, character work, how to structure an act, but those are meaningless thoughts to others because they are based on my experience on stage. Those thoughts didn't really start to develop until I had a lot of stage time under my belt. Feel free to talk to other comedy magicians, read books, watch stuff on YouTube. I think the best advice I can give you is this,

Your first hundred shows don't count. Go stand behind a mic and in front of a crowd that doesn't want anything to do with you a hundred times then lets talk.

-Erik Tait
Delightfully dark comedy and magic.

"Some people call me delightfully dark, I think it's because I watch that show Whale Wars and laugh."

"I am a magician. Hence the eyeliner."

www.ErikTait.com
magicgeorge
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Interesting post and well done on your degree and whatnot.
Quote:
On 2011-10-12 19:25, DelightfullyDark wrote:
The one thing I have heard consistently from comedians and the comedy magicians that I respect is that your first hundred shows don't count. I firmly believe that. You can listen to a lot of advice about how to choose effects and write jokes, but none of that will matter until your first hundred shows. I think that this applies when you switch from learning to do stand-up to learning to do comedy magic. They are two different skill sets, despite what people tell you. The difference between a comedian and a comedy magician is kind of like the difference between a card magician and a card cheat. Both have the same basic skill sets, but that doesn't mean both can do the other ones job.

When I started out I did straight stand up for a bit. I'm OK when it's just me and a mic but a lot of my buddies are better. I used to be quite jealous of their talents and felt that I was cheating a little when I used magic. It took me a while to realise that although I can't do what they do they also can't do what I do and I relaxed into it then and relish bring a prop into play.

I think there are a lot of things one can learn from stand-up that you can apply to comedy magic. Firstly I think comedy magic would be a lot better if comedy magicians applied the same ethos of originality and creativity that a modern day comedian applies to their act to their magic act. I can never understand why some magicians who have done stand up immediately revert to type when they do magic and use old gags and presentations. I met a magician recently who I saw do an excellent non-magic comedy set who showed me a card trick later on and he was back in "no the clean one" mode. Seems odd to me.

I'm not sure that the first 100 gigs "don't count". You've certainly got a long way to go at that stage but in some ways those gigs count the most as it is when your learning curve is at it's steepest. They're the gigs when you find who you are on stage and hopefully find your voice. Also they say if you're not dieing on your hoop you're not learning anything and you certainly do a lot of dieing on your hoop in those first gigs!

George
Sealegs
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Look a thread on comedy magic! and an opening poster asking questions and coming back later into the thread to respond to the answers. Let me just check that I'm still actually logged in to the Magic Café and not some other website....

:)
Neal Austin

"The golden rule is that there are no golden rules." G.B. Shaw
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