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flickermaker
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Jerry Lewis once said, "The premise of all comedy is a man in trouble."

I would like to apply this concept to a certain kind of comedy magic act. An act where things (magic) backfires on stage that is what's funny in the act. Great examples of this kind of comedy can be found in magic acts - like - Tomsoni and Co. - Kohl and Co. - Scott and Muriel - and comics like George Carl. And others.

I was wondering what situations of "magic gone wrong" would you find funny?

And--

Can a situation where magic goes wrong in an act be funny without exposing the effect?

Looking forward to hearing what the members of The Magic Café have to say.


Thank you
friend2cptsolo
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I think you can make a lot of magi into this a good example is a multiplying item..... something goes wrong and now it will not stop producing.
I have seen Silvester the Jester and sponge balls kept multiplying in his mouth...none stop he would take one out of his mouth and then cough up another one...... everyone was in stiches .... then he screams out "its not funny" as yet another is in his mouth as he speaks in a garbled voice.....
M. Tesla
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Any act by Carl Ballantine...although he played it a bit more for comedy than magic, he always cracked me up...
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jay leslie
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FM
This is commonly called Wrong Way Magic.
Dozens and dozens of routines and their variations have been used successfully for longer then any of us have been alive.
Mike Maturen
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Also known as "Magician in Trouble"
Mike Maturen
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Father Photius
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Playing a drunk magician goes well with the magic gone wrong routine. I used to do such a routine and it was among my most popular. The trick works for the audience but not for the magician. He beleives he is doing one trick while actually doing another, thus he is convinced there is no magic and the audience sees magic.
"Now here's the man with the 25 cent hands, that two bit magician..."
Mike Maturen
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My nightclub act is sort of based on that premise, Father. The idea is to have a decanter of "bourbon" on stage with me, and I sip throughout the act, getting inebriated along the way. It culminates with the multiplying bottles and finishes with Wayne's Exchange.

The act is still in the scripting stage...although I do parts of it for smaller, shorter shows at the moment.

Foster Brooks was part of my inspiration...LOVED watching him on the Dean Martin Roasts with my dad.
Mike Maturen
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jay leslie
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Mike
The ending should be that you drink a snake oil tonic and it immediately makes you sober.
Mike Maturen
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LOL...I'll think about that one, Jay. If I'm working in a bar, I could probably sell a ton of the snake oil in BOR sales! LOL
Mike Maturen
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friend2cptsolo
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Research by actually doing drunken magic.... LOL

Jackie Chan's Drunken Master is entertaining and can provide some good funny moments to work in.

I think it would be tough to "act" drunk without kinda going over the top with it.
Like slurring or mispronouncing words without over doing it.
Mike Maturen
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Quote:
On Jun 24, 2016, friend2cptsolo wrote:
Research by actually doing drunken magic.... LOL

Jackie Chan's Drunken Master is entertaining and can provide some good funny moments to work in.

I think it would be tough to "act" drunk without kinda going over the top with it.
Like slurring or mispronouncing words without over doing it.


Foster Brooks was a Master of this. I won't taken it to the "drunken" level that he did, however...just a little "tipsy"...enough to give a reason for the confusion/things gone wrong.
Mike Maturen
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friend2cptsolo
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I enjoyed looking up Brooks on youtube. Thanks
Mike Maturen
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No problem...he was hilarious!
Mike Maturen
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friend2cptsolo
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I think this a great line of thinking for a routine/act there are so many directions and effects that can fit into this.
Mike Maturen
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Indeed

My routine as it stands now:

1. Bill Abbott's 5-card Opener
2. Growing Tie (ongoing throughout show)
3. Robert Baxt Mouthcoil
4. 3 Ropes and a Thousand Laughs
5. Stabbed and Shot
6. Vanishing Wine Bottle
7. Multiplying Bottles
8. Wayne's Exchange

Also, as a running gag, I have a pair of the world's largest underwear (size 100) folded up to look like a towel. I wipe my brow off and on throughout the show, and "accidentally" let them fall open at some point to reveal the underwear.

Thoughts?
Mike Maturen
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fingerjack
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Quote:
On Jun 24, 2016, friend2cptsolo wrote:

Jackie Chan's Drunken Master is entertaining and can provide some good funny moments to work in.


Such a fantastic concept. I couldn't agree more. The US cut of "The Legend of Drunken Master" is great cinema which in my opinion has the greatest martial arts sequences ever...especially the final 20 minutes.

There is much magicians can learn from Jackie Chan, not just a drunken act, but his cheorography, inventiveness, timing, humor, daring, and sheer dedication and skill has been a magical inspiration for me for years, and I can't even throw a punch.
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friend2cptsolo
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Jack knows about martial arts cinema.....
I like the effect that Jackie Chan movies had on audience after the movie the people leaving would often be throwing mock punches and using funny gestures and faces. If magic could has this routining and timing it would look like the kids leaving a harry potter movie waving their arms and chanting incantations perhaps.
Some performers come to mind.

I have thought of a performance with a homemade Lotta Bowl that looks like an alcohol bottle or a taller vase and it dispenses enough for a drink but keeps refilling.A drunken man finds one last shot of booze left in the bottle,d at first it seems like a blessing but when he cannot quit it because it just keeps pouring ,it becomes a curse.....
Finally screaming towards the sky....."Finish me or finish the bottle!!!"

Sure I might not be a funny routine for this forum but I have been thinking about maybe returning to constructing the prop and story after this thread.
jay leslie
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No one has mentioned the two ways the Wrong Way plot is handled
1. you, the magician make mistakes
2. the volunteer makes the mistakes

I know, a lot of you are going to say how distasteful it is to make an assistant look bad -THIS COMMENT IS MEANT TO MAKE THE SUBJECT COMPLETE

  ( I foresee this subject going from 1 page to 3) Go ahead, if you think it makes you feel better..
JassTan
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My favorite Magic gone wrong acts mostly from magician Wayne Dobson.
He's amazing, when "Magic Gone Wrong" is unexpected , funny and endearing at the same time.
Makes the audience what to laugh with him in this awkward yet entertaining situation.
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One of the international best is Voronin. Saw it several times but still make me laugh.
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