Mental Effects for Drunks

Instead of mentally projecting your mentalism thoughts, type them here.

Postby Guest » 03/25/07 06:50 AM

I'm just wondering if anyone on this forum has done much in the way of mentalism or mental effects for drunks.
I realize that mentalism effects usually require a longer attention span than something visual and interactive a sponge ball routine; but I'm not very well versed in mentalism.
Just wondering what success and failure people have had with mentalism type effects for drunken audiences.

Postby Guest » 03/25/07 12:34 PM

Regular drunks -- or New York drunks?

Taking a cue from comics -- anything with sex in it MIGHT overcome to alcoholic stupor or stupids. Banachek has a 7 keys routine that might work -- or sexy drawing duplications.

Another tack might be a scary voo-doo effect with pins and dolls....a drunk's enemy as the victim -------unless you are the enemy of the moment.

Postby Guest » 03/25/07 12:41 PM


Postby Richard Kaufman » 03/25/07 01:43 PM

I would imagine that producing a cup of very strong coffee which the drunken spectator is required to drink might be a good trick.

As an amateur magician, my solution to performing for drunks has always been simple: I stop cold, put my deck away, and walk away.
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Postby Guest » 03/25/07 01:44 PM

Hey, think-a-drink is a good one!

There are various stages of drunk, so complex mentalism would work on the "buzzed" but not the "hammered."
How about an Invisible deck? Or psych-forces.

Postby Guest » 03/25/07 01:45 PM

Avoid card routines and anything involved with use of their memory. Show me, er, them a trick with one card and it will be quickly forgotten.

Postby Guest » 03/25/07 02:20 PM

[censored]'s e-book has vast sections on dealing with drunken audiences. :whack: all the answers you seek are therein.

John R

Postby Guest » 03/25/07 02:33 PM


Do you mean effects performed FOR drunks or BY drunks? :)


Postby Guest » 03/25/07 03:39 PM

Who is performing for drunk people?
If there are some drunks..leave them alone... don't waste your time...
Your client won't mind.
Do as Richard says... walk away!

Postby Guest » 03/25/07 04:53 PM

I spent two years working in bars. I was working for a cigarette company and most of the audience was drunk or drinking. They paid well so walking away wasn't really an option.I also spent several years performing magic in New Orleans. Hard to avoid drunks in that town.

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Elliot G

Postby Richard Kaufman » 03/25/07 06:47 PM

I bet Goshman's Ding Dong would get a great reaction from drunks: men or women.
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Postby Tom Stone » 03/25/07 08:29 PM

I'm just wondering if anyone on this forum has done much in the way of mentalism or mental effects for drunks.
I realize that mentalism effects usually require a longer attention span than something visual...
I tend to steer away from too drunk spectators, so I'm just brainstorming here - but perhaps it is possible to use the short attention span as a method. Like:
Introduce yourself and shake their hands, and they will give you their names in return. Remember two of them.
A bit later, ask those two to bring out their ID's or drivers license face down. Claim to be able to see with your finger tips. Remind them that you've never met before. Touch the ID cards and tell them their names.
Look at the ID's, as to verify what you've said, and remember something else, like date of birth. Let them put it away, and a bit later, when the details are blurry, feed them back their star signs or birth date.
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Postby Guest » 03/26/07 01:24 PM

This conversation reminds me of a confrontation with a drunk during a stand-up act. I was busy borrowing a ring from someone in the front row, when someone from the back of the crowd came forward stating: Youve got to take my ring! His voice and the way he walked, made it clear that he was drunk. Facial expressions of members in the audience, showed embarrassment. It was a weddingparty.

I accepted his ring and after making it disappear and reappear (using Visual Transit from R.A.R. Magic, if I recall well) the drunk stated loud and clear: That, aint my ring. Tension rose immediately and how I came to think of it, I still dont know, but I replied to him: Sir, you will recognise it as being yours tomorrow ... when you are sober. As this resulted in laughter and huge applause, the drunk went quietly back to his seat.

Afterwards my employer, told me that he was glad that someone outside the family put the drunk in his place.

Ever since I occasionally still use that line. If someone, denies that he had chosen a particular card, while I am certain that Ive revealed the right card. In this instance as everyone around has seen the chosen card and are therefore being aware that he is trying to take the mickey out of me, they instantly laugh because of the repartee.
Or if someone offers a solution for a miracle, Ive just shown, the line goes like this: Tomorrow, when you are sober, you will realize that that solution aint possible. So far I havent had people feeling insulted or offended. But I am careful to whom I am saying it and deliver the line tonque-in-cheek.

To avoid that you are getting the impression that I always have a right answer, I want you to know that there also have been a lot of times, driving home from a gig, thinking what I should have said at a particular moment.

Postby Guest » 03/26/07 05:30 PM

"tommorow...when you're sober..."
what a great line!

I also liked the idea of asking a drunk for their ID and then feeding them the information back later.

I work in a venue where there are usually alot more drunk people than there are sober ones so simply not performing for drunks is usually not an option.

I actually perform Ding-Dong regularly and I agree - its a great trick for drunks. It's not really a mental effect though. I suppose you could play it as one but it doesn't leave the audience with a creepy feeling that you can actually read minds or bend metal or whatever.

Postby Guest » 03/27/07 10:41 AM

Just my lil bit...Instead of,
"Sir,you will recognise it as being yours...tomorrow..when u are sober" I would think of saying something like"Sir,this ring is going to magically transform into one of yours in the morning.." .I am not sure whether it is necessary to putdown anybody or snub anybody.U never know ,the drunk might turn out to be the CEO of a company and u would like to perform for the big dealer meet that his company....
While watching Bob Cassidy's Mentalism DVD I noticed him snubbing a particular member in the audience.I am not sure whether the audience is paid for the making of the DVDs but that is diverging from the topic..
But I guess the bottom line remains..No use performing for drunks...

Postby NCMarsh » 03/27/07 12:59 PM

Mindshrink makes a really good point...

I was working a show last year with a very loud drunk. Now, usually I spend some time on the company's website before the show. Frequently there is an "about us" section with pictures of the companies executives and a short bio. In this case the bio section of the website was without pictures and I didn't take the time to memorize names (which I should have).

There was a really loud and response type...I handled it with kid gloves...just rolling with it, and not investing ego in it...doing a lot of "yes and"...he got what he want, attention...and I was able to (barely) hold together the show...

Turns out the guy was Executive Vice President..and I am very glad that I didn't insult him...he ended up giving me a standing ovation...

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Postby Guest » 03/27/07 01:43 PM

Call it synchronicity but I have used that "tomorrow... sober" line myself.. but slightly differently...

"Tomorrow, when *we are all sober,* (and I usually accompany this with a rolling of the eyes to the audience) you will realize that (-whatever.)"

the *when we are all sober*, softens it somewhat .. .the audience certainly knows that you are talking about the drunk , but he isn't so ready to take offense.

Just a thought.

Postby Guest » 03/27/07 07:47 PM

A few years ago I was working a Christmas party for a steel company. I did walk around so they got to know me and then, after dinner, I did the stand up act.

Well, they had been drinking and the audience was pretty well-oiled by the time I walked out. My second effect is the Rising Cards. I turned to the first person who had a card, an attractive young woman, and asked her for her card. She replied is a loud and slurred voice, "SIXTY NINE." Everyone laughed. I waited for the laugh to die down and asked again, and was met with the same shouted response. I waited again for the laugh to die down and said, "No sweetie, not your hobby, the name of the card!" The audience roared.

It was like that for the rest of the night with the audience trying to be cute and me pushing them around. Since I'm highly experienced, fairly bright, and, most importantly, sober and they were blasted, it wasn't that difficult to stay ahead of them. Even the president of the company had had his time at the flowing bowl.

The point is, I took no [censored] from them. They gave and they got.

At the end, I got a nice round of applause. As I was leaving the wife of the executive vice president came up to me to tell me that in the 17 years she had been coming to these Christmas parties, I was the only entertainer who'd held his own. Seems it was their entertainment each year to play Christians and Lions with whatever comic or magician unlucky enough to get the gig as their hapless victim. They weren't expecting someone who could bite back.

The letter of comment I received from the company president was glowing. I was surprised he remembered the show at all.

Postby Guest » 03/27/07 08:35 PM

Mental Yarn by Bill Goldman is my suggestion. It is simple, direct, and quick.

Postby Guest » 03/27/07 11:35 PM

I can only speak of performing mentalism for an inebriated audience, not magic, though I did close-up in bars a lot in my youth. I haven't performed in or hung out in bars for decades now (old fuddy duddy) so don't know what it's like any more. But I regularly perform mentalism and hyp for audiences ranging from cold sober to so drunk you could perform surgery.

I recall a breakfast show I did for a mining company in West Virginia about 20 years ago. They decided to hold a breakfast instead of a dinner because in previous years the miners left the function so impaired several parties drove off the mountain after the banquet. The plan didn't work, the miners brought their own liquor and there were several after-breakfast incidents, including a five man fist-fight in the hotel lobby. I work for classier audiences these days, at least they dress a little better.

I don't think you should change your regular material because your audience is in its cups. Just do your regular act with dignity and confidence. If you try to improvise on the spot there's a good chance you'll lose control of the situation, your temper or your audience members. You're hired to do the act you do. If you step out of character to engage in verbal combat with a drunk it can drag down the momentum of your show. Wrestling with drunks is like wrestling with pigs: it only gets you muddy and the pig enjoys it. I learned that in West Virginia.

Witty rejoinders to the audience are part of any performer's toolkit, and like all other aspects of the act must be rehearsed, and must be consistent with your premise, your character and the effect you wish to achieve with your audience. But it's also easy to get so carried away with witty repartee with the audience that you drift away from your script, and this is bad -- also easy to do with an unfocused audience. Again, there goes your momentum.

Some audiences are faster than others, especially when you do mentalism, and a performer learns to adjust his or her speed to accommodate the "data rate" of the audience. When alcohol is a factor, I would take care to go slowly, explain instructions clearly, and double check to make sure they follow instructions. And when they don't, which is inevitable, don't lose your cool, just plug on. Mentalism effects shouldn't be complicated anyway, a drunk should be able to follow the simple instructions as easily as a cold sober person. "Think of a word." Draw a picture." Not exactly differential calculus.

In the matter of working for drunks, I would rather work for a working class drinking audience than an upper class drinking audience. The working class folks handle alcohol better in my experience, just because they drink a lot. When I do an awards banquet at a country club, for example, it's one of the few times a year the stiffs let their hair down and they don't handle it well.

The usual situation is this: A cocktail hour, with people putting it away as fast as they can, followed by too much dinner, desert, more drinks, a mind-numbing speech & awards ceremony, more drinks, and then the poor entertainer turned loose on the alcohol-and-food besotted crowd. You have your work cut out for you to cut through that haze. It ain't what we dreamed of as kids watching the Magical Land of Alakazam. :D

John R

Postby Guest » 03/31/07 10:22 PM

I perform regular shows opening for bands and or at nightclubs. Of course Im on early enough that too many people are not yet in the sauce but there is always one or two.

I find that PK effects like spoon or fork bends work wonders with those who are tipsy!!

Lat Friday at Toronto's Friday night magic I was asked aftewards by a table (who were a bit happy) to perform. I simply performed Ring flight, a fork bend, and finished with a fast presentation of Out of this world. Of course getting those at the table to slur out "red" "black" etc... in a row. Worked like a charm and left them....sober????


Postby Guest » 03/31/07 10:24 PM

Yes, and obviously don't be drunk yourself!! You will always be a few ahead of the game!! WINK!

Postby Guest » 03/31/07 10:54 PM

Hey Chris! How goes the battle? You should talk about the other performers who regularly take the stage on the Friday nights! ;)

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