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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Now that’s funny! » » Stand-up comedy (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Magic79
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I am pretty new to comedy and magic, and I am looking for some great tricks I can throw in my stand-up comedy routine. Preferrably, I am looking for stuff like card tricks using big cards or some type of mentalism trick. Any suggestions?
C Christian
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Hey, Magic79

It's kind of hard to throw comedy tricks out to someone when style is everything with comedy magic. So you have to ask yourself, are you zany, dead pan, or absent minded? With this you can start filtering out tricks that are suitable for you. Or you can go the other direction select a trick like tear and restore rope and put your style into it. Hope this helps.

Cheers Chris
BenSchwartz
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Whoa, crazy it's Christian. Hehe... anyways I recommend (sounds of glory unite as Benjamin Schwartz says the words, "The Vanishing Bandana"!!). Ta=-da... ya... it's a good trick.
"The experience of astonishment is the experience of a clear, primal state of mind that they associate with a child's state of mind." ---- Paul Harris
Magic79
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I am pretty zany. I am looking to put some serious magic effects that will make the audience dumbfounded in my routine, rather than totally funny tricks and plots.
VMC_Alex
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Magic79, do you know BenSchwartz? Even if you do... I wouldnt buy anything from him...
Andini
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Magic79, if you're doing straight stand-up comedy, I would definitely recommend AGAINST putting magic into your act! Here's what Jay Sankey writes about in regards to doing magic during standup comedy:

"When a performer plays a guitar, or juggles some balls, or does and impression of a famous person, nobody in the audience thinks, "How the hell did he do that?"...But magic tricks done well do fool people. And because people traditionally see a magic trick as a problem to be solved they are quick to try to see past the trick and invest thought in trying to figure it out. This can really screw up the comedic rhythm between the audience and the comic."

- [u]Zen and the Art of Stand-Up Comedy[/u] pgs. 132-133
Magic79
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Andini,

I appreciate your suggestion. I am putting together a comedy magic act that I will perform at stand-up comedy clubs using props, stand-up and magic. I have spoken with Aldo Colombini about what he thinks about putting magic and comedy together. His opinion is the same as mine. All we care about is entertaining crowd. Whether they like the magic or comedy or both, in the end we want the audience to have a great feeling when they walk away. An entertained crowd will not stress on trying to figure out the tricks until after the show. The key is to balance your act!
bodiddly
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Ya, I agree with that as well. Jat sankey is right to an extent, if you are a comedy magician, then I think its fine, but if you put serious magic in with your stand up comedy I think that's a huge no no, it just doesn't make sense within the context of the routine. You would never see a waiter all of the sudden come out and start going from table to table trying to sell office supplies ( I didn't know what to come up with) .... its two different forms of business, combine the two and you'll be ok, just don't put the two in the same boat
johnpert
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Mac King is a great comedy magician.

The magic is great and the story line or patter is funny.... very funny.

So, how do you make magic funny? Your prelude may have funny bits (getting the volunteer, introducing the volunteer). You may have funny one liners during the trick or perhaps physical comedy (facial/body movements) to communicate during the routine and then the climax.... the magic happens.

I guess one needs to find a happy medium... too much of one and not the other may not be a good thing???

Just my thoughts,

j.
Magic79
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I am a member of the Magic Castle and have seen many great comedy magicians. One thing I have noticed with great performers is there ability to get connect with the audience immediately. There is something about Greg Wilson and Aldo Colombini that always makes people laugh....maybe it's their charm or charisma. I think the jokes and magic is all second hand.
JamesinLA
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What the heck is "serious" magic. Any effect can be presented in whatever tone the performer chooses. Even dangerous seeming effects can be presented in a funny way. I bill myself as a comedy magician and it works for me.

Jim
Oh, my friend we're older but no wiser, for in our hearts the dreams are still the same...
bodiddly
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By the way, who isn't a member of the magic castle? All you have to be able to do is a paddle move and your in.
Magic79
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Bodiddly,

Your right, it's extremely easy to become a member of the Magic Castle but who cares! I got in using a magic trick I found in a McDonalds happymeal.
Andini
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Ok, maybe I misunderstood the question. If you present yourself as a COMEDY MAGICIAN (Mac King style), that's absolutely fine. But, if you present yourself as a comic and start your act in the traditional stand-up comedy style but throw in a magic effect in the middle of it, I don't think that's the best idea. Even if it's funny, you've already gotten your audience used to you and your style. The magic is going to take it in a completely new direction.

Just some thoughts,
Andy
Magic79
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Hey Andy,

I hear what your saying, but again I think it's all about the performer. I have seen guys like Danny Archer do a wonderful character routine with only a trick here and there and go over well. I have also seen mentalists who are suppose to be serious throw in some comedy and get huge responses. According, to "seasoned" magician's, comedy can't be thrown in with mentalism.

You can do serious/amazing magic with stand-up comedy, it's just a matter of how you formulate it. To me comedy, whether it be stand-up or comedy magic is the same. The idea is to create your own identity connect with the crowd and entertain them. Heck, the late Andy Kaufman spent years being booed off the stage. He stuck with his style and vision and eventually it caught. I use this example just to prove that any combination can work, it's just a matter if you can make it work!
weepinwil
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I have found that it is difficult to mix magic and comedy as previously stated by some. It takes a special personality to keep the serious from creeping into the routine. However some manage to do it.

Once I was doing some magic for a group of persons and had relied upon a comedy statement to break the ice. "I always wanted to be a professional stage illusionist" I began. "However since the 'catch the bullet trick' went wrong with my first wife I have had a hard time getting a new assistant."

Usually people would recognize it as a joke and laugh but this one time I heard a lady remark to the person sitting next to her, "That's a shame about his first wife isn't it?"

Clearly she had missed the comedy of the statement and I dropped the line from my routine wondering how many persons I had left in the past performances still telling the tragic story of my first wife's death by the bullet catch trick.
"Til Death us do part!" - Weepin Willie
JamesinLA
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I agree that presenting/billing yourself as a stand up comic and then throwing a magic trick into your act would be weird.
I have only worked one comedy club and I was billed as a comedy magician. By the way, my magical effects always end very strongly; the audience is baffled at the end. But they're laughing the whole way through up to that end.

Jim

PS: if you used the bullet/wife joke and someone didn't get it, man, I would have had a ball with that woman. Keep playing along with her and it will just get funnier and funnier. "Yeah, it was a real shame about my first wife. Of course, before her my sister used to be my assitant. I don't even want to talk about poor old sis, rest her soul." etc.
Oh, my friend we're older but no wiser, for in our hearts the dreams are still the same...
damien666
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Not to quibble over it - but In regards to being a stand-up and throwing in magic not being a good idea...
I have seen it work successfully many times. One example that comes to mind that I saw was a comic named Chris Bliss. He did a killer straight stand-up comedy set - which is what he was billed as; and then for his finale, did an incredible choreographed to music Juggling routine. No one in the audience knew he was a juggler and he actually plays that to his advantage in introducing his finale piece.
Mind you, you may argue that juggling and magic are 2 different things, but I could see it working the same way with a good magic Routine. In the case mentioned above, The audience loved the stand up and then the Juggling (which was technically perfect) acted as icing on the cake - and he got a standing ovation for it, which is rare to see considering he was middling at the show I saw. It all depends on how a person sells it.
Also, just a note to those contemplating getting into comedy clubs doing magic - there tends to be a lot of politics involved. A lot stand-up's strongly dislike prop acts (kind of the argument that prop acts need external help to be funny, whereas stand-up is a purist form of 'the art'). Not to discourage anyone, but be aware that that mentality is very prevelant amoung comics - especially amateurs...
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