Tag Archives: Comedy Nest

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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A Magic Show? Stand-Up Comedy? Just plain old entertainment!

So as I said on my Facebook earlier in the  week, we (Phil & I) went to the Comedy Nest at the old Montreal Forum to see Richard Sanders who was performing there last week-end. Plans to go there were conceived at our auction the other week, when we found out David Acer is now a co-owner of the Comedy Nest. Denise & Stan Teshser (also a  magician) who were at the auction ( not only were they at the auction, but Stan worked his butt off, bagging the items in the right place as people acquired them. NO mean task, I assure you, as I stood and watched!) and are our dear friends, (who else would work so hard for nothing except dear friends?), asked us if we would like to go. We set a date, they came into town, we went out for dinner and during the course of dinner we found out that neither Stan nor Denise has ever been to a comedy club. Stan doesn’t like stand-up comedians. Comedy clubs weren’t around when we were teen-agers. We used to go to night clubs and sometimes there was a comedian as a act but to have one after another was unheard of.

But being a magician and knowing Richard Sanders is a magician, he wanted to go. He figured, I suppose, that he would see a comedy magie act. There was a comedy M.C . and 2 acts before Richard. I will only talk about Richard because we are talking magic here, although we enjoyed them all but Richard was the Star! Let me tell you this. Stan and Denise did a whole lot of laughing, as did Phil and I. Richard did magic, which was impeccable, but so well disguised in his comedy that I’m sure people didn’t walk out and say we saw a magic show or even that we saw a magician. He sort of sneaked it in. His interaction with the audience was fabulous and funny. He didn’t put anyone down, or use foul language, that I can remember, and when it was over I had the distinct feeling that he could easily do that kind of show in Las Vegas. Phil felt the same way. And I don’t think that’s the last comedy show that Stan and Denise will go to. We just laughed ourselves silly!

We wish David every success. Keep on getting that calibre act and its a shoe in!

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Filed under Auction, David Acer, Denise Tesher, Evelyn Matlin, Magic, Phil Matlin, Richard Sanders, Stan Tesher, Uncategorized

Special Halloween Magic & Fun with the funniest!

I was wondering what special stuff I could write about for Halloween when I got this email from David Acer. No more wondering! We have comedy magicians on the menu!

NIGHT  OF  THE  LIVING  STANDUPS

David “Axe-Wielding” Acer headlines halloween weekend at THE COMEDY NEST with special guests Mike “Barely Undead” Paterson and DeAnne “Your Brain Looks Delicious” Smith.

David Acer is an award-winning writer and comedian who has done crazy things on television shows around the world, like protesting outside a train station dressed as a giant penny while inviting people to lie down on the tracks to “see how it feels.” And limping to the couch for a talkshow interview with a Denver Boot on his leg because he had “a few unpaid j-walking tickets.” He has appeared on a multitude of international specials and a plethora of Canadian comedy classics, not to mention live at The Riviera in Las Vegas, The Magic Castle in Hollywood, and 10 times at the Just For Laughs festival in Montreal. But younger viewers (and insomniacs) are more likely to recognize him as “Doubting Dave” from the syndicated series, Mystery Hunters, which garnered him two Gemini nominations (the Canadian equivalent of the Emmys) for Best Writing in a Children’s Non-Fiction Series, and the publication of his spin-off book, GOTCHA!, now a Canadian bestseller.

JUST ADDED!

• World-renowned mentalist Patrik “Don’t Mind Me I’m Just Sucking Your Blood” Kuffs (Oct. 27th)

• Interdimensionally acclaimed magician Michel “The Soft-Handed Strangler” Huot (Oct 28th)

• Sleight-of-hand superstar Richard “I Ate His Liver with Some Fava Beans and a Nice Chianti” Sanders (Oct 29th).

WHERE: The Comedy Nest (Pepsi Forum), 2312 Ste Catherine W, corner of Atwater
WHEN: October 27th, 28th and 29th (Thu 8:30, Fri 8:30, Sat 8:30 & 10:30)
RESERVATIONS: (514) 932-6378

WEBSITE: www.comedynest.com

* Line-up subject to change without notice.

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