Five MORE Things That Will Improve Your Show….

This is the seventh and final part of this particular series of posts.

1       Always remember the magic mantra “If they can’t see it or hear it they won’t enjoy it.” Your first duty as a performer is to be seen and heard. Billy McComb had a wonderful philosophy in this regard, “Tell them what you are going to do, tell them what is happening as you do it, and then tell them exactly what happened after you have done it.” There is a wealth of real-world wisdom in Billy’s words.

2       When you are giving an assistant instructions about what to do during a trick make sure you do so in a very clear and concise manner. Let him know exactly what to do and how to do it. This shows respect for them and also makes it much more likely that things will go smoothly in the effect. Many onstage assistants are a little surprised or dazed when they find they are under the spotlight, so take the time to show them exactly what you expect them to do.

3      Always have backups available of every prop you use onstage that may break or get lost. You should also have suitable outs available for any occasion that might need them during your show. If you are doing any kind of card trick then an Invisible Deck in a sealed envelope on your table can extract you from a great many problems. Hope for the very best but be prepared for the very worst. Have that round the neck microphone holder ready in case your headset gives up the ghost or starts to pick up the local taxi company!

4      Sorry but the Politically Correct movement does exist and is ignored at your peril. Every single comedian will tell you the same thing; we hate the PC police and political correctness is death to comedy. However, it behooves a comedy magician to be very careful about who he potentially offends when performing his show. Magic is considered a family-friendly entertainment and that should include the “20 somethings” who tend to be the most sensitive to politically incorrect statements, jokes, and actions.  I am not going to put up much of a defense for the PC movement—hey I’m an older, white, alpha male, and we are the biggest area of complaints! I will point out that the age range most upset by politically incorrect actions are the most sought after demographic in the television audience. One of the biggest problems is that if we don’t consider this matter sufficiently we run the risk of looking out of touch and irrelevant—a really bad state of affairs. If it is just a matter of a few jokes or effects that are the problem it is usually easier just to cut, change or replace them. The deathwatch beetle in this matter is if you find you are saying, “I have always said that…” Times change and with them acceptable statements, you are not making some grand statement by insisting on continuing using a line that is now considered questionable; all you are doing is creating a potential barrier with an important demographic in your audience.

5    Make every part of the routine you are performing as entertaining as possible. There are many effects that spend a great deal of time building up to a very fast finale/reveal. Keep the entertainment value going for the four minutes that it might take to build up to that 15-second finale, or your viewers might not come along for the journey with you. Add booster laughs and effects scattered throughout the trip. The average attention span of an audience is a lot shorter today than it was a decade ago so it pays to be careful in avoiding dead time. The key phrase used to be “If in doubt-cut it out!” I think in this day and age we should also add “If in doubt-speed it up.” Look at your show and see if you can add a few strong magical surprises into it.

If you have stuck with me for the last seven blog posts in this series, THANK YOU! Here is a little Easter Egg for you. It is the Pre-show video that I put together for my one-man show Comedy Maxim at the Maxim Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. There are clips and photos from my very earliest years plus tips of the hats to my mentors and heroes.

~ by Nick Lewin on May 1, 2017.

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