Variety, the spice of variety and the demon of patter.

I am having a blast working at Harrah’s this week. I am having fun just mixing and matching up material. Nothing sacred–just wholehearted one hour shows to keep me excited, and apparently the audience happy!

It is very easy to fool your mind into believing you have ‘An Act’ and it is always the best way to perform and will always achieve the best reaction. Actually, once you have ‘the act’ down perfectly then that’s the time to have fun and keep it fresh. I don’t mean discard, everything you do well, just to mix it around a bit. Bare in mind I’m not recommending this for someone who hasn’t managed to form a solid act as a guideline.

I love to switch blocks of comedy around from place to place. I also add/change some of the magic, sometimes significantly i.e. switch my opening and closing routine etc. So far I haven’t done the same show exactly in sequence more than once. It is fun because it keeps your techy on the jump too!

What is amazing is that new jokes, and bits just seem to fly in from everywhere like flies at a picnic. Just keeping note of the changes is tough enough, however you eventually don’t bother much trying and you just learn to rely on the inner performer and that he will come to your rescue! This is the moment you start to become an entertainer and not an act; a comedian instead of a magician who does ‘Patter.’

Patter…….the deadliest word in magic! Look up the description in the dictionary and you will find; “The term was originally a colloquial shortening of “Pater Noster” and referred to the practice of mouthing or mumbling prayers quickly and mechanically, without any expression of meaning or sincerity.

From this, it became a slang word for the secret and equally incomprehensible mutterings of a cant language used by beggars, thieves,Roma people, etc., and then the fluent plausible talk that a cheap-jack employs to pass off his goods. “Hmmmmmm, not what I want to foist on an audience. Be polite actually talk to the audience and not at them.

Just a series of thoughts.

Incidentally my Magic Martini posters are selling gangbuster. If you are a collector of that kind of thing and want one of the signed limited first editions then contact me at and I will mail you one for 10 dollars plus postage.

~ by Nick Lewin on June 12, 2010.

3 Responses to “Variety, the spice of variety and the demon of patter.”

  1. Nick, After performing 30 years on the fairgrounds of America doing at times 6 performances a day. Other performers would chide me, accusing me of changing perfectly effective routines in what seemed to them in an almost hourly fashion. But I found by changing a punchline or how I handled a volunteer it not only allowed me to keep my sanity but a fresh edge that translated into repeat bookings. This mindset also will enable one to perfect the art of controlled spontaneity. Nick it is nice to know that a pro like you can articulate your performance stlye. Its harder than it sounds and you do a wonderful job of it. Thanks.

  2. Love reading your comments Nick. I wholeheartedly agree that you have to be loose and let the inner creativity come out. That’s what makes each and every show fun and fresh. I nver get tiredd of performing because I’m in the moment. I look forward to more musings. Phil

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