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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Food for thought » » Why do people make fun of magic and magicians? (55 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Kanawati
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Maybe the stereotype is slowly changing? I'm not a professional. I only do the odd performance here and there. But just this week I performed at my Grandmother's nursing home. When I arrived I learnt that she and other residents had regularly been watching highlights from shows like AGT. She had seen how the residents were positively reacting to those really impressive acts and was actually worried for me! Turns out there was no need to worry...everyone had a good time:) But unlike musical and singing acts, I think the general public very rarely sees live magic acts. Could the strong performances on variety shows like AGT and other shows like Fool Us be changing negative perceptions of magicians that might be out there?

I also want to thank the OP for asking the question. At first I didn't quite get it as I can't recall encountering anyone with a negative or low view of magicians. The only negative message I was really aware of came from the old Seinfeld joke about magicians. I have seen my fair share of really bad performers though and I guess if I was not interested in magic and my rare experience of a live magical performance was not great then I may develop a certain perception... Anyway, the Food for Thought section of the café has in this instance been very aptly named. The answers and comments provided by a number of people here has really given me food for thought in terms of how I want an audience to view me and what I want the audience to experience. Many thanks for taking the time to post!
Pop Haydn
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I have opened for Jerry Seinfeld several times. He always followed my act with this joke. He liked my show because he felt my act was not that way. Nor did the audience seem to think the joke was at my expense. It is good for magicians to understand some of the critiques and stereotypes of magic that are out there, and be sure that you create an act that deliberately smashes these negative concepts of magic.
Dannydoyle
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My experience has been that if they have fairly low expectations then they have fun anyhow. It has never hurt me what people think of other entertainers.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
critter
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On seriousness- I was just reflecting on the evolution of a local theme park and its Halloween event. Years ago I remember the magic being somewhat embarrassing. It was the standard big box stuff but with the design being completely obvious at the angle I was sitting. It was more like show-and-tell for the designer's collection than an actual show designed to entertain and mystify. And they claimed a pretty big name as a consultant so this show kind of tarnished him in my eyes, perhaps unfairly.

Years later this same park had a magician perform a more bizarre themed show for their Halloween event. It featured a demonic narrator who was perfect and gorgeous period themed clothing to set up the ghost bits. Even the standard spirit cabinet was entertaining in the context of the show. The old magician in danger trope was presented in a way that felt refreshing without really needing much of anything new.

The magic in this show was presented in earnest, the announcer added irreverent humor. Whatever it was, it worked. Even my mother-in-law enjoyed it so that's impressive!
"The fool is one who doesn't know what you have just found out."
~Will Rogers


"This I offer in explanation of how it was that I found myself in my undergarments as I sat in my cell attempting to plot my escape."
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Ray Pierce
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Quote:
On Dec 18, 2018, Dannydoyle wrote:
My experience has been that if they have fairly low expectations then they have fun anyhow. It has never hurt me what people think of other entertainers.


Agreed. I've just always wanted to have realistic expectations of people's perception of magicians in order to transcend those thoughts.
Ray Pierce
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Dannydoyle
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By the time anyone who is in the audience sees my show they have made an investment. While they don't believe in magic, they believe in having fun.

It is not about what anyone thinks of other performers in general. It is about how they think of me and my show.

That has been my experience. Other's mileage may vary.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
funsway
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Quote:
On Dec 18, 2018, Senor Fabuloso wrote:
Funsway my signature reference is to Lady GaGa.


So, you either have a sig line you do not subscribe too, or
do subscribe to it but feel a need to blame someone else.

Why should anyone have to know Lady Gaga even exists (or care) to understand you?

Methinks you have just answered the OP question.
I will now quit taking your posts seriously and just poke fun ...
"the more one pretends at magic, the more awe and wonder will be found in real life." Arnold Furst



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Senor Fabuloso
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Quote:
On Dec 21, 2018, funsway wrote:
Quote:
On Dec 18, 2018, Senor Fabuloso wrote:
Funsway my signature reference is to Lady GaGa.


So, you either have a sig line you do not subscribe too, or
do subscribe to it but feel a need to blame someone else.

Why should anyone have to know Lady Gaga even exists (or care) to understand you?

Methinks you have just answered the OP question.
I will now quit taking your posts seriously and just poke fun ...


Why does my admiration for Lady GaGa bother you, that you would infer so much, from something so simple? I think you must be rocking, some new meds. Feel better soon.
No matter how many times you say the wrong thing, it will NEVER be right.

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WitchDocChris
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Quote:
On Dec 20, 2018, Ray Pierce wrote:
Agreed. I've just always wanted to have realistic expectations of people's perception of magicians in order to transcend those thoughts.


I don't think there's any other way to effectively create a good show. You have to understand what people think in general or you won't be properly prepared. One cannot blow away expectations if one doesn't know what they are.
Christopher
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Mindpro
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Absolutely so true
funsway
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Quote:
On Dec 21, 2018, Senor Fabuloso wrote:

Why does my admiration for Lady GaGa bother you, that you would infer so much, from something so simple? I think you must be rocking, some new meds. Feel better soon.


I am only bothered by your lack of quotation marks or reference so that one does not feel your sig line is your own thought.

If you truly admire her you would be more than ready to give her credit.

My "inference" comes from the apparent contradiction of thoughts you offer. Still do.
I notice you have not addressed this apparent contradiction. So have others I am sure.

Instead you project - from personal experience perhaps. Easily solved. Just explain the contradiction.
"the more one pretends at magic, the more awe and wonder will be found in real life." Arnold Furst



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Gerald Deutsch
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As I said in my first posting to the Perverse Magic thread of the Genii Forum:

"With Perverse Magic the magician does not appear to be 'better than everyone' (as is the case with so many performers).

Appearing to being "better than everyone" is what causes so many not to have respect for magicians.
tommy
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The art of magic it seems to me originated from people making fun of magic and magicians who were all charlatans at the time.

fun (n.)
"diversion, amusement, mirthful sport," 1727, earlier "a cheat, trick" (c. 1700), from verb fun (1680s) "to cheat, hoax," which is of uncertain origin, probably a variant of Middle English fonnen "befool" (c. 1400; see fond).

When a magician jokingly says, “We magicians use silver coins because silver is believed to have magical properties.” then what is the magician doing if not making fun of the nonsense we call magic?
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

Tommy
Pop Haydn
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Quote:
On Dec 21, 2018, tommy wrote:
The art of magic it seems to me originated from people making fun of magic and magicians who were all charlatans at the time.

fun (n.)
"diversion, amusement, mirthful sport," 1727, earlier "a cheat, trick" (c. 1700), from verb fun (1680s) "to cheat, hoax," which is of uncertain origin, probably a variant of Middle English fonnen "befool" (c. 1400; see fond).

When a magician jokingly says, “We magicians use silver coins because silver is believed to have magical properties.” then what is the magician doing if not making fun of the nonsense we call magic?


What he says...

tommy is right. The mountebanks didn't learn from the priests and wizards. They were making fun of them. Magic was meant to be a burlesque of charlatanry from the beginning.
funsway
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Therein lies some truth, Whit, but is not the objective to get people to laugh at themselves and their superstitions and ready reliance on dogma?

Perhaps we (as pretenders at magic) should find joy in people laughing at us and our antics. Mirth can be an art form too.

The "fun" is making a silly claim with great seriousness, not "jokingly" as tommy mentioned, but I am sure he meant (internal joke)

We are unique in providing a real-time experience of something inexplicable. The resulting mental and emotional discordance can be released though laughter or applause.
Better than anger or a bullying reaction, I guess.

At least, I always find myself laughing during one of your performances. "With" rather than "at," however. There is always the wink Smile

Magic tricks aside, was not a Court Jester often a confidant and adviser as well? Some of the popularity of theater in the Middle Ages was that
fun could be poked at royalty and others in power, with the script changed to focus on any such in the audience.

Performing magicians do what others will not - put themselves at risk while laughing inside.
"the more one pretends at magic, the more awe and wonder will be found in real life." Arnold Furst



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tommy
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Magic is not all nonsense of course - clearly, some magicians are actually demonic.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7fKrFeX8dRY
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

Tommy
Doctor Zolar
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Quote:
On Dec 22, 2018, tommy wrote:
Magic is not all nonsense of course - clearly, some magicians are actually demonic.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7fKrFeX8dRY

--------------------------

One LOCAL Pastor (here in my town on a local TV interview) . . . claims . . . they have "Real Demonic Powers" !

(in WHAT . . . . Entertaining people ? )

Geeeeeeeeeee . . . then why do we have to: Pay our rent, pay our mortgage payments and car payments and actually BUY gas for our cars ?

I enjoyed the video with all of the highlights of some of the best magicians in world !

I suppose the video is trying to Pull the Wool over their audiences's eyes !
And get them to donate more money . . in combating this horrible form of entertainment. . . or "supernatural powers".

What a fun video !
Dannydoyle
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Quote:
On Dec 22, 2018, Pop Haydn wrote:
Quote:
On Dec 21, 2018, tommy wrote:
The art of magic it seems to me originated from people making fun of magic and magicians who were all charlatans at the time.

fun (n.)
"diversion, amusement, mirthful sport," 1727, earlier "a cheat, trick" (c. 1700), from verb fun (1680s) "to cheat, hoax," which is of uncertain origin, probably a variant of Middle English fonnen "befool" (c. 1400; see fond).

When a magician jokingly says, “We magicians use silver coins because silver is believed to have magical properties.” then what is the magician doing if not making fun of the nonsense we call magic?


What he says...

tommy is right. The mountebanks didn't learn from the priests and wizards. They were making fun of them. Magic was meant to be a burlesque of charlatanry from the beginning.


Are you saying that when magic tries to put itself on an equal footing with other art forms that this was not the original intent?
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
Pop Haydn
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Magic is "a peculiar little art." It is not meant to bear a lot of weight. It happens in real time. It has a goal that involves tangling reality with fantasy. It requires the audience to think and evaluate. If you want to write a limerick that rivals "Paradise Lost," good luck.

This doesn't mean that it isn't art. Midsummer Nights Dream is just as much great art as is Hamlet. They have different kinds of meaning, but both are important reflections of human life.

To say that a magic show is not King Lear isn't a disparagement of magic. It is inartistic to choose the wrong form for the message you want to express.
Dannydoyle
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I'm sorry Pop, I'm not trolling here I think this is a killer point.

Can you please expand a little more on "not meant to bear a lot of weight"? Because I think this is the crux of the matter. I think you have cut directly to the heart of a lot of issues with magic.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
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