Comedy + mentalism

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

Postby Guest » 07/30/05 10:15 PM

I have just been browsing the net for mentalism effects and I saw so many comedy mental effects.

I have always thought mentalism should be serious if you want to make them think that what you are doing is in fact paranormal and I don't think comedy mentalism should have ever been invented.

What are your opinions?
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Postby Pete Biro » 07/30/05 10:44 PM

There's nothing wrong with being a funny guy with mentalistic skills. I did a pseudo psychometry routine that was a bunch of silly gags, but at the end many thought I had real psychic power. Scared me... :eek:
Stay tooned.
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Postby Brian Marks » 07/31/05 12:46 AM

you can be funny and do mentalism. Max Maven headlined comedy clubs for years. Ill take his word on it.
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Postby Guest » 07/31/05 06:49 PM

I did stand-up comedy before I was doing mentalism on stage. Even Derren Brown uses comedy on stage. Just because someone can read thoughts doesn't mean they can't be funny. We sell several mentalism effects that are quite funny in fact.

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http://www.mindguy.com/store
Check out Jack Dean's "Trilogy"
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Postby Guest » 08/02/05 07:29 AM

One of the things I'm known for is a very dark/droll sense of humor. I wouldn't say that I'm a comic by any stretch of the imagination, but I do offer lines and looks that encourage the audience to laugh.

In saying that I must also make note that too many people toss in far too much corn when it comes to presenting mentalism. By this, I mean some of the old "standard" gags we got into the habit of when doing traditional magic. In short, they have no place within Mentalism. They sell the art itself short and detract from YOU as a Psychic-styled character costing your credibility in the eyes of the public.

By all means, make them laugh and ENTERTAIN them. But do so in a manner that is tasteful, appropriate, and conducive to the material being presented.
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Postby David Alexander » 08/06/05 12:40 AM

I agree with Craig. Offering the occasional dry comment will take you further than the standard one-liners, beloved by the type of performer a friend likes to call "Jacky Joey."

At my last all mentalism show I did something particularly strong with nine people from the audience. As they were returning to their seats, as the applause was dying down, I dryly observed, "Next week I'm starting a cult." Lots of belly laughs.

It was, of course, situational, but perfect for the moment. That sort of humor is difficult to script. The lines often just occur, but when they do, and when they work, they stay in the act.
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Postby Q. Kumber » 08/06/05 02:00 AM

Don't confuse comedy with humour.
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Postby Brian Marks » 08/06/05 03:34 PM

I despise comedy mental effects sold by shops. COmedy should not be done by props but by you.
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Postby Guest » 08/06/05 11:12 PM

As usual Quentin hits it right on the spot -- humor and comedy are as different as satire and farce. Bladder bits vs. subtle twists.

Sometimes mentalists who are too serious become satiracly funny in their own stereotype. Think of the Great Carsoni's farces...and subtract a little and you have the public image of many "fortune tellers" and mentalists.

Setting up a situation that is intrinsically funny (such as Biss's Knickerbocker) is difficult ... and hard to control from crossing the line. BUT you never know until yiou try -- and even fail. Many people shy away from Banachek's Key-Erect because some lines are raunchy. But they can be shifted if you have a sense of timing and humor and can judge and audience.

I am surprised very few people use the humor available in chair seating predictions........let alone jokes.

We are one of the few mammals that laugh. Maybe mentalists have come from another branch of evolution -- from a non-laughing branch???
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Postby Guest » 08/07/05 08:14 AM

Originally posted by C.H.Mara:
We are one of the few mammals that laugh. Maybe mentalists have come from another branch of evolution -- from a non-laughing branch???
You left out Government workers, CIA & Secret Service Agents, etc.

In regards to the question... the one thing I've learned in the 35+ years I've been on stage, is the value of your audience leaving the room chuckling and amazed. I think that's the real key when it comes to sticking in their mind and having them say good things about you.
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Postby Guest » 08/07/05 12:41 PM

Craig- Well said. A happy audience is a paying audience who feels well rewarded with their entertainment investment.

And as with magic as performed by Ballantine and others -- I am sure thefre is a place for the well done, outrageously funny and skilled mentalist -- I just aint got that type of talent. Too much like work to get there.
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Postby Guest » 08/08/05 11:17 PM

Frances Willard, looking at photos of different mentalilsts, said, "Most pose as if they had a headache."

Reality is that most all successful mindreaders use, or will make use of the opportunity to use, comedy/comic relief, in their shows.
Liz Tucker was remembered for her comic responses as much as her telepathy.
Crystal gazers like Alexander, Raboid, and Mel-Roy, who did question/answer acts, thru mentalists like Dunninger and Fogel, and yes, John Edward and Sylvia Brown, all know and use the value of comic opportunities, for their presentations, to connect with their audiences.
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Postby Guest » 08/11/05 04:57 PM

Originally posted by Diego Domingo:
Frances Willard, looking at photos of different mentalilsts, said, "Most pose as if they had a headache."

Reality is that most all successful mindreaders use, or will make use of the opportunity to use, comedy/comic relief, in their shows.
Liz Tucker was remembered for her comic responses as much as her telepathy.
Crystal gazers like Alexander, Raboid, and Mel-Roy, who did question/answer acts, thru mentalists like Dunninger and Fogel, and yes, John Edward and Sylvia Brown, all know and use the value of comic opportunities, for their presentations, to connect with their audiences.
I think it boils down to rapport and communication; the more we can invoke various emotions from our audience, the greater our connection. The Muse Box tale that I give during the Christmas season has never failed to bring tears into many, many eyes in the room. Similarly, it's never failed to have folks come up after the show and offer their condolances for my grandfather's passing... :rolleyes:

I've used everything from comedy or an emotion filled tale, to music and aroma in order to create this kind of connection with people and (for lack of a better term) suck them into my deliberate delusion.

Then again, I've learned a lot studying how certain producers & directors emote folks via their films or even certain Tv shows. Ignoring the show "theme" there are many writers, editors, and directors that could learn a heck of a lot if they studied how "Queer As Folk" was put together... some of the best production work I think I've ever seen for such a low budget project.

I do my best to learn from as many sources as I can in how to connect and bring people into my world, I think that's where the "real magic" happens. ;)
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Postby Allen Tipton » 08/28/05 06:39 AM

To Telepathy & Brian Marks. You should both study Craig Browning's remarks, experience & advice. You CANNOT in any performing Art limit yourself. otherwise you stullify and decrease as an artiste,instead of becoming more creative and fulfilled. Your audience & the bookers will ultimately dictate whether you present your material in one style or another. Remember (and I use Theatre as an example) a serious lesson , theme or simply a point is often put over to your audience through humour. Maurice Fogel, who was one of Englan's two greatest mentalists, always had a humorous tag at the end of his opening speech. Over here Graham Jolley, with many gags,& good humour,has,for years, been totally believable,convincing and baffling with his mental ac All this, without losing any effect on his audiences. The problem to resolve is do you lighten the proceedings with a touch of humour or are you going for all out comedy which may OR may not affect the believabilty of the Act. Again ultimately it depends on You, your personality, your style, your audience control and then your actual performance/routine. So very many magicians see magic as being just a series of tricks which can sometimes simply become puzzles to an audience. The Magic is the peg/the hook on which to hang the entertainment.The ALL serious performance is very difficult(often impossible) to sustain for the average magician and very difficult for an audience to accept if it's too dramatic or (and this is where magicians top the list) TOO long and boring! So hopefully it's mystery with entertainment and entertainment with mystery.Over the 34 years of full time teaching Drama & Theatre I had a break from Conventions. When I, took early retirement,( in 1989)I returned and heavens,many magicians( particulary those in the Competition) were still making the same dreadful errors in stagecraft, presentation and performance, as I'd seen in 1954. Why..with all the books and lectures available? One youn professional appeared from a perspex cabinet, after 3 minutes of smoke, produced 3 girls from 3 Crystal Cabinets and wondered 1. Why the audience didn't appreciate him more! 2. Why didn't he win? Ugh. The next night Pat Page walked on stage with just a pack of cards and a tin for Miser's Dream
and literally brought the house down. An ovation.
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Postby Allen Tipton » 08/28/05 06:41 AM

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Postby Guest » 08/29/05 05:31 AM

Brian Marks writes: "I despise comedy mental effects sold by shops. COmedy should not be done by props but by you."

Absolutely. In fact, if it isn't done by you (and not the props), then it simply isn't funny (it may be burlesque, but it isn't funny!)

As for combining comedy with mentalism, why not?

You can combine anything with just about anything.

Ted Annemann used to do a cut and restored rope trick in the middle of his mind-reading show.

And Max Maven works comedy clubs.

Those are two not-too-shabby performers (one of which we still have with us!)
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Postby Bill Palmer » 08/30/05 07:26 PM

Actually, Telepathy is the only one on this list who really understands how mentalism must be performed.

Any comedy, any humor, anything but straight mindreading may cause you to accidentally entertain your audience.

This could be a disaster.

One of them might laugh and wake the rest of them up.
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Postby Guest » 08/31/05 01:18 AM

Very funny Bill! AND very true. Yes, it is OK to allow your audiences to enjoy themselves.
(Many magicians should take note as well.)
Listening/overhearing feedback from audiences, there comments on how they were surprised/pleased/relieved that watching a mental show and/or receiving a reading was a fun, positive, entertaining experience.

"The goal is to be convincing to those who believe, and entertaining to those who do not."
(Anton LaVey-1997)
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Postby Guest » 08/31/05 06:11 AM

Originally posted by Bill Palmer:
Actually, Telepathy is the only one on this list who really understands how mentalism must be performed.

Any comedy, any humor, anything but straight mindreading may cause you to accidentally entertain your audience.

This could be a disaster.

One of them might laugh and wake the rest of them up.
:D Bill, I dang near fell off my seat reading this...

As is usual, you've hit the proverbial nail on the head ;)
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Postby Guest » 08/31/05 07:51 AM

I think , a sense of humor is ESSENTIAL to mentalsm, but it should stay within certain partameters. I worked with Bob Cassidy for years. He was VERY funny. I'm told John Pullum is funny
I think it's ok to make fun of your self, but not what you're doing. I beiieve in situational humor, more than one liners. In a straight forward serious presentation, minor humor gets huge laughs. It also defuses the fact that you are reading their minds
from
Ford
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Postby Curtis Kam » 08/31/05 02:06 PM


I despise comedy mental effects sold by shops. COmedy should not be done by props but by you.
Brian, this just prompted the following disturbing image:

"This week on A&E, Carrot Top is the Mindfreak "

:help:
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Postby Bill Palmer » 09/01/05 04:33 PM

It would have been a knockoff of Rip Taylor's mental act.
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