Category Archives: Comedy

Comedy Magician, Asi Wind at the Comedy Nest

We don’t get out a whole lot. We used to when we were younger, but now, after a day at the magic shop we are happy to go home and relax. But Asi Wind, New York  Mentalist and Mind-Reader, was giving a one man show at the Comedy Nest at the old Montreal Forum and we wanted to see him as we had heard about him of course but never had seen him. It was a two hour show with an intermission and no one left at intermission. He got a standing ovation. It was a Monday night and there was a pretty good turn out.The bottom section was filled and part of the upper section. We were thoroughly entertained and as magic dealers, we understood some of what he did, but he had us badly fooled for much of it. He was funny and talented and did a terrific number with Rubik Cubes.

Besides enjoying the show, we enjoyed meeting a lot of our customers and friends there. So all in all it was a great evening.

Oh, and it turns out Asi too will be going to the Sorcerer’s Safari Magic Camp and we look forward to spending time with him there.

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Filed under Asi Wind, Comedy, Magic, Performing

Magic in Montreal Gets a Big Boost

There was a time, a few moons ago, that there were Magic Conventions in Montreal, once or twice a year. At Magie Montreal there was a lot of magic of course, but more than that was the comraderie and we haven’t  had that in a long time. Our last Convention was in 1998. CAM (The Canadian  Association of  Magicians) had one one the South Shore a few years ago. There is also a Festival in Quebec  City.  But in Montreal it’s been quiet. We miss it. It’s just too much work and too expensive. But at the Comedy Nest at the Old Forum, a few months ago, David Acer took a  chance and decided to make one Sunday night a magic night. It turned out there was standing room only. It was such fun. And the after show was great too. The magicans hung in there and chatted away. It was like old times.

If you missed it you get a second chance. SUNDAY JUNE 1st, at 8:00pm The Comedy Nest is having another magic night.  It should be a blast. Jonathan Burns, Richard Sanders, Romaine, and Angelo the Amazing Food Magician will be performing. We’ll be there! Will you? The Comedy Nest is not a big place so put your reservation in now if you intend to go. Otherwise you may be disappointed.

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Filed under Comedy, David Acer, entertaining, Magic Conventions, Magie Montreal, Richard Sanders

Clowning Around With Magic

When I was a kid my parents always took us to the Circus. Unlike today’s circus, it was full of lions and tigers and bears and horses and elephants and dogs. It was usually at the old Forum in Montreal, famous for its Hockey Games with the Montreal Canadians in their heday. I’m going back to the days of Rocket Richard, Guy Lafleur, Floyd Currie and Dickie Moore to name a few, but I digress. The thing about the circus was there were two things that made me nervous, the guy being shot out a cannon and the clowns.

Funny thing is, one of my favorite tricks in the magic shop is Card-toon, especially Card-toon 2, whereby the spectator names any card which is then located face up and removed from the deck and placed on the table so that we remember the chosen card. Then the magician shows his audience the back of the cards, which has a cartoon drawing of a little stick man with  a deck of cards at the circus. The magician tells the audience that he didn’t mix the deck because each back has a slightly different picture and by his flipping the cards they will see an amination. As the magician flips though the deck the spectators see a little stick man climbing into a cannon, lighting the cannon, and then he goes flying into the air with his cards flying all over. He manages to grab one of them and turns it over and guess what! Its the same card as the one on the table that the spectator chose. I much prefer this delightful little effect than the terrifying one at the circus.

If I was nervous about the clowns, its because they weren’t like the two charming young ladies that were here today. I know I would not be afraid of them as they were so sweet and thoughtful. They bought a lot of magic stuff, but not before they figured exactly where it would fit into their shows. They were studying theatre arts. They are working clowns and do well, and I can see why. I guess clowns don’t have to be scary.

Many years ago Phil did a lecture for Clowns Canada in New Brunswick and it was a real hit. Many of the clowns had never thought of using magic in their act. He still  has some lecture notes on the subject, Clowning Around With Magic . It is informative and deals with stage clowns, birthday party clowns and walk around clowns and how and what is suitable for each one. Check it out! By the way, Clowns Canada is having a Clowns Canada Carnavale 2013, September 27 and 28th in Mississauga, Ontario.

And then there are the magicians that do a lot of clowning, but that’s another story!

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Filed under Children's Magic, Comedy, Evelyn Matlin, Kid Show Magic, Performing, Show buisness

The Serious Business of Comedy Magic

Houdini, Blackstone, Thurston, Dante, Doug Henning have one thing in common aside from all being famous magicians who are now dead. If you mention any of those names and many more of that era, people who are not magicians immediately conjure up a picture of a magician. They were world famous, with travelling shows and big posters plastered all over the place. Today there is David Copperfield. Penn & Teller are also well known as far as being household names. There are other magicians with great stage shows, but their names don’t mean anything to the public at large. Here in Quebec there is Luc Langevin. Thanks to television he was able to reach a large population. Is he known around the world? Not yet. But he is young so there’s time. I’m sure there are others whom I haven’t mentioned so if you want to add to my list just put them in the comments at the bottom.

Things have changed. At one time many magic shows were travelling around the country competing for audiences. Now comedians are all the rage. There are comedy TV shows, featuring stand up comedians, one after the other. There are comedy clubs like The Comedy Nest and Comedy Festivals like Just For Laughs. Its great in this day and age. Can you imagine travelling around the country or countries with tons of illusions. Ask Ted Outerbridge. It ain’t easy or cheap.

A comedian carries all the material in his head. No luggage ( maybe plenty of baggage but no luggage). All you need is yourself and you have to be funny.

Enter the magician. A few blogs back I wrote about Richard Sanders performing at the Comedy Nest in Montreal. He was hilarious and he did some impeccable magic, but you would never say you saw a magic show. There were no big illusions. He didn’t look like a magician, in the traditional sense. He looked like a regular guy you would see on the street, mussed up hair, casual clothes, and the way he spoke, it seemed like he was making it up as he went along and yet he was laugh out loud funny.

Could anyone do that? I don’t think so. I think you have to have something to begin with. But even having that, its not automatic. Furthermore, I don’t think he was making anything up as he went along. Sure he took advantage of responses from the audience which he involved to a great degree, but he knew exactly where he was going.

Eugene Burger once gave a lecture for us and he pointed out that people buy magic, they learn the tricks well, and then they go and perform them…without a script. He said it was as though they thought the right words would just pop into their heads when they needed them.  He said every word he said, every move he made, had a purpose. That was over 20 years ago, but I never forgot it. When performing a card trick he made a comment which made everyone laugh. It was to us an off the cuff remark. Later in the lecture he explained he had to do a “dangerous” move and when people laugh they throw their heads back and blink for a second. That’s all the time he needed and that “off the cuff remark” was a set part of his routine.

Mac King has a comedy magic show in Las Vegas which he has had for years. I assure you, nothing is left to chance. I saw him perform in person twice. Once he was at Magie Montreal, in 1993, and then I saw him at Club Soda. Same jokes but they appear fresh every time and they work every time.

So there is a market out there. But you have to build a show. Step by step, word by word. So if you have a tendency towards comedy and you do magic how do you go about it?

Enter the magic dealer. There is help out there. In fact the Camirand Academy of Magic just released a DVD Comedy 101 with 14 routines on it for props many of you  probably  already have. David Kaye has a book and a DVD called Seriously Silly, on how to entertain children with comedy and magic. And then there is the classic 5 Minutes with a Pocket Handkerchief for kindergarten kids.

To me, the difference between performing magic, performing comedy magic, and stand up comedy is this. In stand up comedy, the objective is to be funny. You really have to be funny. In magic without comedy, you’re hopefully creating wonder and amazement. In comedy magic, you have to be funny, but that isn’t the objective. The comedy is misdirection.You’re making them laugh while you’re setting them up. The amazement should still be there, but they won’t leave scratching their heads, they’ll leave with a smile on their face. But it all has to be thought out, and its a serious business.

Fortunately for Montreal Magicians there are 2 Comedy Clubs in Montreal with open mics. If you have a good 5 or 6 minute routine, you have a place to cut your teeth or get your feet wet, so to speak.  There’s the Comedy Works on Monday nights and The Comedy Nest on Wednesday nights. Give it a try! They’re looking for talent so if you think you have some, go for it! If you live in another city, check out the comedy clubs there and I’d bet they have open mic nights too. Break a leg!

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Filed under Comedy, Magic