Magic Magazine: 10 Funniest Magicians

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Postby Jenna Kissel » 04/15/08 10:16 PM

I didn't want to start a "cafe" type thread here but after reading the 10 funniest acts I really felt I needed to throw in my two cents.
First of all, two of the funniest acts I have ever seen didn't even make the top 31: The Flicking Fingers and Simon Lovell! I could maybe understand people not knowing Simon since he is primarily in NY but if you have a chance to see him I insist you go, he is a wonderful person and great to talk to.
Most of all, I think that leaving out the Flicking Fingers was a huge oversight.
Next, I don't think the Amazing Jonathan should have been in the top ten. Personally, I don't find him that funny, but he isn't a magician. Yes, they do say that in the article but I feel that if he would have been left off a more deserving act could have made the top ten, like Bill Malone.
Your thoughts?
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 04/16/08 12:25 AM

Everyone has their opinion about who and what is funny. In my opinion, trying to pick the ten funniest is a futile exercise, but an interesting one. I bet lots of people read this issue of MAGIC.
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Postby flynn » 04/18/08 03:25 PM

To me, Dan Fleshman's funnier than Jonathan or Johnny Thompson I think. Its just personal taste I guess. Sorry Johnny. And some are just funny looking.
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Postby castawaydave » 04/18/08 07:26 PM

By FAR the funniest magician I ever saw was Doctor H.P. Lovecraft, an almost completely forgotten street magician (yes, a REAL street magician) from San Francisco during the '70s and very early '80s. He used to perform at the Cannery.

I have heard he lives in Florida now, and I don't believe he performs anymore.

He was freaking HI-larious.
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Postby raj k » 04/18/08 07:56 PM

H.P. Lovecraft...? Lurking Fear Lovecraft...? I thought he was long gone...

However I vaguely recall reading someplace Lovecraft (the writer) wanting to ghostwrite for Houdini. Anyone else corroborate that?

-rk
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 04/18/08 08:47 PM

raj k wrote:... Lovecraft (the writer) wanting to ghostwrite for Houdini. Anyone else corroborate that?


Wanting to? Check out the story "Imprisoned with the Pharohs" :)

http://gaslight.mtroyal.ab.ca/imppharo.htm
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Postby castawaydave » 04/18/08 11:03 PM

Man, that Houdini could write! Har har. (Thank you for the edifying link, Jonathan.)

Raj! You remember Lovecraft?!
(In S.F.'s magic shop "Misdirections", there's a photo on the ceiling of Joe and Lovecraft, from not too long ago...)

Lovecraft's character was a bit of a tatty (as the Brits say) medicine show huckster. He was just one of those guys that had a funny way about him in general, with the gift of gab. He could say hello and you'd laugh. Looking back I can see that Mitch Hedberg reminded me of H.P.Lovecraft, if you can picture that.

He also ate fire and would get huge laughs with bits such as lighting some flash paper off one of his torches, lobbing the fireball out into the crowd and saying, "Take some home--it's a fire sale". The crowd would roar. Those were the days.
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Postby chipper » 04/25/08 03:15 AM

WOW! So NICE to hear about Lovecraft after all these years! I remember him fondly and had the chance for several seasons to watch several of his shows on a daily basis. By the way, he had enough material that he would actually change it up, knowing that there would be instant "fans" who wanted to come back and catch his act again in an hour.

As a kid, he was one of several performers who I "soaked in" to understand timing and phrasing. He was ONE OF THE BEST!

Thanks again for mentioning him!

Chipper : )
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Postby Bob Gerdes » 04/25/08 11:06 AM

castawaydave wrote:By FAR the funniest magician I ever saw was Doctor H.P. Lovecraft...

I have heard he lives in Florida now, and I don't believe he performs anymore.


Do you have any idea where in Florida?
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Postby Bob Gerdes » 04/25/08 11:17 AM

castawaydave wrote:(In S.F.'s magic shop "Misdirections", there's a photo on the ceiling of Joe and Lovecraft, from not too long ago...)


Is this the pic?

Image
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Postby castawaydave » 04/25/08 04:34 PM

Yeah Bob! Talk about the magic of the internet. How cool is that? Thank you.

Raj (from a few posts above) told me he was recently with James Hamilton in S.F., Lovecraft was mentioned, and Jim pulled out his cellphone and said, "Wanna call him?"...

So I don't know where in Florida, but it seems to be a mystery that we'll be able to solve.
--Talk about a guy who should be lauded: Love-craft! Love-craft!
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Postby Pete Biro » 05/11/08 09:01 PM

Get 10 different people to pick the 10 best of anything and you will get 10 different lists.
Stay tooned.
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Postby Dustin Stinett » 05/11/08 09:26 PM

Ask an individual ten times over (say) ten months, certainly ten years, and you'll probably get ten different lists.
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Postby mai-ling » 05/12/08 04:28 PM

i agree.

anyway they didn't even consider my dad.

geez.
you will remember my name
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Postby MosesSilbermintz » 05/14/08 02:00 PM

In my opinion, the most arguable omission from the list of Top Ten Comedy Magicians was Chipper Lowell. You probably could prove it if you had someone count the number and decibel levels of laughs at his live shows. But I understand that's not how these 'Top Ten' lists are determined.

Everyone on the list is worthy of the honor, so I couldn't say who I'd take off if it was my decision. But Mr. Lowell has been doing an act comparable to Michael Finney's and Amazing Jonathan's for a long time, and I don't feel he gets the same recognition from the magic community.

(I know Chipper Lowell is part of this forum. That didn't influence my comments.)

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Postby Glenn Godsey » 05/15/08 12:30 AM

The funniest magician to me, personally, is Aldo Colombini. I have seen Aldo many times in the past 15 years and he always has me in stitches. It is not an act...it is genuinely spontaneous verbal humor. His wife, Rachel, is laughing just as hard as I am...and Rachel says that Aldo is that way 24 hours a day.

Truthfully, I don't know of a another magician in my long lifetime who was such a wonderfully gifted humorist....and I have
seen them all. Aldo somehow imparts a glow of delight that stays with me for a very long time.

Best regards,
Glenn Godsey
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Postby Matthew Field » 05/15/08 04:56 AM

Anyone remember Flash Mildew?

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Postby mai-ling » 05/15/08 07:31 PM

I finally received the 1979 TV show
we did in Chile during the tour
from Fantastio.
ex: http://pics.livejournal.com/mai_ling/pic/0005gqhx/g41

Anyway, watching it all the way through.
I forgot how funny Ali Bongo's show was...

Minus the fact I was 4 years old at the time.
I do remember most of the acts.
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Postby Jon Allen » 05/16/08 04:46 PM

Anyone in England will tell you John Archer should be in there.
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Postby Bill Duncan » 05/16/08 11:53 PM

Pete Biro wrote:Get 10 different people to pick the 10 best of anything and you will get 10 different lists.

True Pete, but not not relevant to this thread. The MAGIC voting was done by the people who were nominated.

In other words, if you were in the running you got to vote for who YOU thought was funniest. So the voting represents, at least, informed opinion.

But still opinions...

For me #1 would have to be either Mac King or Johnny Thompson and Pam. Both are brilliant, unique and original acts where the magic is flawless, and the comedy is perfectly timed.
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Postby Cugel » 05/17/08 01:36 AM

Bill Duncan wrote:
Pete Biro wrote:Get 10 different people to pick the 10 best of anything and you will get 10 different lists.

True Pete, but not not relevant to this thread. The MAGIC voting was done by the people who were nominated.

In other words, if you were in the running you got to vote for who YOU thought was funniest. So the voting represents, at least, informed opinion.

But still opinions...

For me #1 would have to be either Mac King or Johnny Thompson and Pam. Both are brilliant, unique and original acts where the magic is flawless, and the comedy is perfectly timed.


Nonetheless, the fact that Juan Tamariz and Tom Mullica didn't make the top ten is a travesty of justice, a mystery to human science and an offense under the Geneva Convention.

In other words: WTF????

If he was alive, of course, it is without doubt that Del Ray would have been in the list as NUMERO UNO.
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Postby John Archer » 05/20/08 07:42 AM

Jon Allen wrote:Anyone in England will tell you John Archer should be in there.


Thanks Jon, are you sure you don't owe me money.

I just recently got this issue and found it a really interesting read. I don't think it matters exactly who the ten are, like lots of people have said opinions are bound to vary. For me the interesting thing was hearing the different opinions from the 10 in the interview section. Very insightful.
I also thought that what Max maven wrote about Mac King was inspiring, for me anyway.

There are lots and lots of possible names but that is really irrelevant. The issue was interesting and enlightening. I don't think anyone will take it as 'The definitive list' but I didn't have a problem with any names in there. Nice to see Noel Britten get recognised in the nominations too.

John
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Postby Jon Allen » 05/20/08 02:11 PM

John Archer wrote:
Jon Allen wrote:Anyone in England will tell you John Archer should be in there.


Thanks Jon, are you sure you don't owe me money.

John


I don't now.
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Postby chipper » 05/24/08 05:10 AM

Marvin, thanks for the kind words. Wow! : )

Truly, it was nice surprise just to be mentioned in the top 31, but REALLY, as Biro and others have stated "Get 10 different people to pick the 10 best of anything and you will get 10 different lists." All very, very true. As was Dustin's comment about asking them at various times, year to year, etc...and you'll get different answers.

Being part of the top 31, I was asked to vote for the top 10, and like most of us on the list, we pretty much all had favorites which weren't included. As subjective as the Oscars, Emmy's, you name it. All apples and oranges.

Next time around we should all have a foot race and maybe an obstacle course, and THEN tally up the points! : )

Chipper : )
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Postby Bill Duncan » 05/24/08 04:28 PM

IMNSHO the two non-magic acts should have been excluded from the list. I like both, but the list claims to be a list of the funniest magicians and if you're not doing magic how the hell are you a magician? Balantine and AJ are great acts, but they're not magic acts, any more than Michael Jackson's stage shows are magic acts.

Removing them leaves room for JuanT and another... Mullica isn't doing magic any more, so he's out of the running.
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Postby Doc Dixon » 05/24/08 05:36 PM

What about Chips Cooney? Kills me every time I see the act.
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Postby Ian Keable » 07/02/08 06:38 PM

Doesn't the choice come down to when and where you see a particular performer? From a British perspective the final top ten list looked out of sorts with the absence of Paul Daniels and Wayne Dobson; but I suspect many of the final contributors never saw Paul Daniels and Wayne Dobson at the peak of their career.

My own choice for number one would be David Williamson: he's the only magician I've ever seen who is capable of genuine improvised comedy hysteria. With most other comedy magicians you can see how it's scripted - David has 'funny bones'.
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