Originally posted by Steve Bryant:
No, it's sound advice and Vernon among others has preached it. If you aren't funny, if you don't think funny, then don't try to be funny. Magic can be wonderfully presented without the magician trying to be funny.
Hmm.. There is some truth in this, but perhaps on another level.
Vernon, I guess, based that opinion on his mantra "Be natural", i.e. try to evolve and refine the abilities that nature have given you. If you are naturally funny, take advantage of it in your work as a magician. If you have other talents, evolve them instead. And sure - that is good advice for people who has gotten the impression that comedy is required to become a good artist, for people who doesn't have a true desire to become funny, but believes that success is impossible without comedy. Many people have such beliefs.
But what nature has given you is only a suggestion, and not a rule. If you really and truely desire to become funnier, it is certainly possible. As long as it is your own desire, and not something that you think that others expect of you.
We all crawled in the beginning. If there were any truth in a thought like "be satisfied with what nature have given you", most of us would never have learned to walk.
As to standup comedy, I can't imaging anyone trying it who isn't naturally funny. I've seen some who have, and one just cringes watching them. I can't sing, for example, and no amount of lessons can cure that deficiency.
I don't believe that. How many singing lessons have you taken? If you took more than a few single lessons, there must have been some improvement.