There is a difference, at least to me. There are tricks on the market that are comedy tricks, like, Tricky Bottles, Comedy Egg Can, Comedy Funnel, Comedy Rope Trick, Cut, No Cut Scissors, Comedy Book Test to name a few, and these are effects a magician can put in the act to get a laugh. And that’s fine, we all like a good laugh. The trick has built in comedy.
But then there are comedians who put magic in their act. They are comedians first and magicians, second, not that their magic isn’t top notch, but it sort of a by the way thing. They can perform a serious trick, but their comedic mind turns it into something funny.
I remember going to the Comedy Nest at the old forum in Montreal. Every so often David Acer would have a Magic Comedy night and the performers were magicians of course. Many of the spectators were also magicians. I forget who it was, but one of the performers did Cards Across, but instead of using cards he used Kraft cheese slices in the cellophane wrappers. For the magicians it was hilarious.. The non magicians must have wondered why there was such an uproar in the place. He was a funny guy. The Great Unknown (Daniel Raymond)
The Great Unknown
was also a comedian first. Romaine, although his magic is serious, has comedic bits throughout his act.
The Chinese Linking Rings can be a thing of mystery or comedy or both. It all depends on the magician. This is where one has to find oneself. Sometimes that’s not a problem, sometimes it takes work. Not the magic, but the kind of show or persona you want to portray on stage; a magician with some really funny tricks, or a comedian doing some magic. One is not necessarily better than the other. It depends on your personality and your comfort zone.
It’s a pretty large field to cover in a post. It would depend on whether it’s close-up, stage or walk around, or street magic. In general, however, I think its important to have the audience, no matter how big or small, on your side. They should begin by liking you. How do you get them to do that if they don’t know you? It’s that first impression that going to help or hinder you. How do you start your show? How do you dress? Are you well groomed? What are the first words you utter? How do you introduce yourself? Are the effects you perform appropriate for the particular crowd you are performing for? How do you react if you screw up a trick? How do you treat your volunteers? Everything counts. How do you engage the people? You could have a great show but have you connected personally with the audience?
These are things you should think about before you get on stage. A lot of this comes with experience, of course. Something works, you leave it in, it doesn’t, you take it out.
School is over and camp has begun. I don’t know what’s happening in your neck of the wood, but here in Montreal we have some excellent Magic Day Camps. The first session must have finished as we had a slew of kids here the past few days, most of them wanting the same things. I am so glad I had them in stock. The kids are wonderful, bright, polite and enthusiastic. I’m sure their magic teachers had a great deal to do with that.
Not only that, but some schools have magic as part of the program. I just read a post on my face book that said, “When we were young we were taught to say “please” and “thank you”, implying that this younger generation has no manners. I can only speak for the ones that come into our shop and they are all polite and respectful. (I can say that for most of the adults too.) On top of that, it’s getting harder to fool them, so I have great hopes for the next generation of magicians.
Gladiators in the arena, or in other words, there’s no business like show business.
If you’ve been to the Perfect Magic Facebook site, then you know that Phil has a few gigs playing piano for the Cote St. Luc Library on the first Tuesday of the summer months. A piano had been donated to Cote St Luc and it went to Rembrandt Park and was inaugurated by none other than Oliver Jones. The media was there, as well as the politicians and it was a big deal.
The first Tuesday of June came along. We had our plans but nature had other plans. There was a storm the night before and the tarpaulin didn’t do its job and the piano was ruined. But in the tradition of show business, the show went on. Some folks from the library came to our condo and carried down Phil’s electric keyboard and speaker and whatever else and he played. It was not his best show, a little trouble with equipment, and whatnot, but people came over after and said they enjoyed it thoroughly. The other day in the elevator, a lady said to Phil, “You’re the piano player. It was so wonderful.” and he said “If you enjoyed it I’ll be there again this Tuesday.”
Did I mention the park managed to secure another real piano? Phil hasn’t even had the chance to try it out as it was supposed to be tuned yesterday. In any case, as I write this, we get an email that the Shakespeare in the Park troupe has a dress rehearsal of Julius Caesar at Rembrandt park at the very time that Phil is booked. They rehearsed there on Saturday and I saw them and heard them as I took my grandchildren there to play. They are loud and have drums that are also loud.
Phil said he’s going anyway. It’s been advertised by the library and we have notices in the building and we know people are coming. So it’s Phil Matlin vs Julius Caesar. The outcome will unravel tonight and by tomorrow when this post is complete you will know the outcome. ***
Now it’s tomorrow and my gladiator won. Actually the troupe was extremely co-operative. They agreed not to use the microphones and it made all the difference. Phil gave them one of his CD’s as a token of his appreciation. It’s good when everyone gets along and makes peace instead of war.