Identity of this "Camp/Gay" magician please

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Richard Kaufman
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Re: Identity of this "Camp/Gay" magician please

Postby Richard Kaufman » November 8th, 2014, 5:58 pm

Hobson also used to (or still does) a racist Asian impersonation that made me want vomit at the first Magic Live.

Tom Stone's comments are right on the money.
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Re: Identity of this "Camp/Gay" magician please

Postby Dustin Stinett » November 8th, 2014, 6:15 pm

Diego has referenced that character, as has Uncle Matt.

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Re: Identity of this

Postby JHostler » November 8th, 2014, 6:49 pm

Richard Kaufman wrote:Hobson also used to (or still does) a racist Asian impersonation that made me want vomit at the first Magic Live.

Tom Stone's comments are right on the money.


Stone wasn't commenting on the Asian act, nor was I in the post he responded to.

Here's how it works: Hobson does his thing for money. When he's no longer able to pull it off entertainingly, without offending his audience, the act changes - or he doesn't make a living. It's pretty much that simple. Of course, in the meantime, you are free to characterize his apparently happy clients as patrons of bad taste. While Hobson is obviously not a pornographer, there are many parallels in this debate to "adult entertainment" - an industry often described as sexist and accused of objectifying women. The apparently lucrative audience for that stuff - not to mention the producers - doesn't/don't give a hoot whether any of us approve.
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Re: Identity of this

Postby Tom Stone » November 9th, 2014, 6:05 am

JHostler wrote:...there are many parallels in this debate to "adult entertainment"

Perhaps, but if so, it is missing a significant parallel: Consensuality.

I'm not a rapist. I'm not!... I was once... I'm not anymore... [ogles a woman/man] but I could be again. [laughs from the audience]

There will always be an audience for that kind of manure. That doesn't mean it should automatically be lauded and praised as something good and worthwhile. Catering to bad taste just to able to pay the bills is the lowest artistic ambition imaginable.

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Re: Identity of this "Camp/Gay" magician please

Postby Matthew Field » November 9th, 2014, 9:29 am

Tom is exactly right.

Beyond that, what Hobson does is to bring the level of magic down -- way down. As I said, let Hobson just take off his pants and, har har har, maybe he can make just as much money. But as people characterize magic by the racist, insulting act of Hobson's, magic will sink lower and lower. Look at what Tom does in his act and compare it to acts by Richard Ross, Lennart Green, R. Paul Wilson, Dani DaOrtiz and others. This is what magic can aspire to. That people like Hobson take the low road is terribly depressing to me.

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Re: Identity of this "Camp/Gay" magician please

Postby JHostler » November 9th, 2014, 10:08 am

Matthew Field wrote:Tom is exactly right.
Matt Field


Tom is only half right. Generally speaking, OF COURSE societal norms dictate that some things shouldn't "automatically be lauded and praised as something good and worthwhile." That's a given, not some sort of ethical revelation. That said, who specifically has "automatically lauded and praised" Hobson's act as "something good and worthwhile?" And what exactly is the standard for the latter? The audience? The court of public opinion? Our little clique?

SOOOOOOO many things continue to relegate the field of magic to craft and novelty versus art. The horrific penchant for cheesy dance I mentioned earlier is one - and much more prevalent that Hobson's particular brand of presentation. Cartoonish Illusionists-style ensemble shows with their quasi-superhero characters are another. It's ALL embarrassing, and - to paraphrase Matt - "sinks magic lower and lower."

The common denominator seems to be a persistent gap between audience sophistication, tastes, and expectations and those of magical performers. We generally lag rather than lead. This is one of many factors that distinguish cheap entertainment from art.
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Re: Identity of this "Camp/Gay" magician please

Postby erdnasephile » November 9th, 2014, 11:29 am

So, because I as an Asian person don't enjoy being mocked, I'm somehow less sophisticated, have worse taste, and have more lagging expectations than the general public?

I'm not speaking as a magician. Magic, in fact, has nothing to do with this for me. I just not terribly fond of any art form that disrespectfully characterizes my heritage.

It's not due to poor sense of humor, political correctness (you can't be politically correct in my line of work), jealousy, ego, or lack of "big money". (did I miss one?).

Nor is it a lack of appreciation for respectful racial humor either ("The American Sticks" by Alexander/Kohler, I find funny).

I'm merely speaking as a human being who thinks I (and others) deserve a little better.

Who decides what is respectful or better? I do. But only for me. (I tend to draw the line at folks who think "slanting" their eyes and simulating a stereotyped malocclusion are funny.)

Everyone's mileage may vary, of course, and I respect their right to enjoy and defend such things, however disconcerting and hurtful I might find it personally.

(Which is why Asians make such inviting targets, I suppose--Whoops! "Model minority" stereotype alert! ;) )

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Re: Identity of this "Camp/Gay" magician please

Postby JHostler » November 9th, 2014, 11:38 am

erdnasephile wrote:So, because I as an Asian person don't enjoy being mocked, I'm somehow less sophisticated, have worse taste, and have more lagging expectations than the general public?


You need to re-read my post. I more or less said the exact opposite. (In this case, Hobson's act lags certain public sensitivities. I'm not saying those sensitivities are universal, or universally intense... but they obviously exist.)
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Re: Identity of this "Camp/Gay" magician please

Postby Tom Stone » November 9th, 2014, 12:04 pm

JHostler wrote:SOOOOOOO many things continue to relegate the field of magic to craft and novelty versus art. The horrific penchant for cheesy dance I mentioned earlier is one - and much more prevalent that Hobson's particular brand of presentation. Cartoonish Illusionists-style ensemble shows with their quasi-superhero characters are another. It's ALL embarrassing, and - to paraphrase Matt - "sinks magic lower and lower."

Good observation and fairly true.
Still, there's a difference between making a fool of oneself and to step on others for laughs. A cartoonish Illusionists-style ensemble shows with quasi-superhero characters can make the cheesiness work in their favor, and use mannerisms and internal logic to create a "world" where all that becomes strengths instead of weaknesses. A la The Addams Family, where the ordinary (audience) meets the odd (ensemble).
As opposed to Hobson's case where other peoples' ordinary lives are portrayed as being odd and laughable. And with the timing and rythm of one-liner comedy, he manages to get people to laugh at it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=25fMCL7Rm14
The first joke is that it's somehow funny to dress flamboyantly and not be gay.
Second joke is that it is somehow laughable to be gay, and in that give credence to the rightwing religious nuts who claim it's possible to stop being gay.
Then it's "funny" to portrait the gay guy with a predatory sexuality, and it's "funny" when the subject of the lewd attention is thought of as homosexual, like homosexuality itself is a joke.
Then the whole struggle to get spousal rights (custodial rights to children, widowers pension etc.) is made into a bad joke... on and on, and not a single time does he take any personal risks, or makes fun of anything from his own life. Comedy without any safety nets is not very impressive when the performer doesn't bother to get even an inch above ground level.

That's not to say that there are nothing funny to be found in homophobia, sexism and stuff like that. A school example is Damian "MrGoat" Jenning's upcoming show at MacMillans which has a very lewd protagonist and it is riffing on the whole "The Game" culture, but the show itself isn't sexist.

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Re: Identity of this "Camp/Gay" magician please

Postby billmccloskey » November 9th, 2014, 12:36 pm

I made this reply before but no one picked up on it, so I'll try again.

How is this different from Modern Family where a straight male plays a flamboyant gay man for laughs. Are you offended by Modern Family? If not, how is Modern Family different; the show plays up to all the gay stereotypes. And no one seems to mind.

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Re: Identity of this "Camp/Gay" magician please

Postby Bill Marquardt » November 9th, 2014, 1:49 pm

I'm sure glad Andrew Dice Clay isn't a magician. Imagine the threads that would generate. :shock:

Perception by the individual is everything. My wife thought David Copperfield was being anti-Asian when he yelled at audience members to "throw the damn ball" when they would hold onto it not knowing what to do because they didn't understand English. On the other hand, even after living in America for forty years, she still refers to herself as an "Oriental."

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Re: Identity of this "Camp/Gay" magician please

Postby MManchester » November 9th, 2014, 2:37 pm

billmccloskey wrote: How is this different from Modern Family where a straight male plays a flamboyant gay man for laughs. Are you offended by Modern Family?


A very fair question and hopefully I'm able to address it.

The difference is that on Modern Family the actor is depicting a gay character. The individual you are are seeing presented is supposed to be real. The mannerisms are part of his identity. It is still possible for that to be offensive, but it's all context. The show is a progressive depiction of a loving gay couple. The producers have given him a personality and humanity.

Jeff Hobson, in contrast, is not gay. He is playing gay. It is not part of a narrative. The behaviors attributed to him in this thread demonstrate that he has selected the specific attributes just to elicit, sometimes uncomfortable, laughter at the very limited situation. Watching a television show, we see scenes that are real. Someone standing on stage is more or less just wearing a gay costume. That is what's offensive.

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Re: Identity of this "Camp/Gay" magician please

Postby erdnasephile » November 9th, 2014, 3:28 pm

I misread and misinterpreted JHostler's post above. I sincerely apologize.

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Re: Identity of this "Camp/Gay" magician please

Postby TheLovelyDebbie » November 9th, 2014, 4:13 pm

This link to Jeff Hobsons act was posted earlier, the guy up on stage with him is ex-England goalkeeper David Seaman, who although looks slightly awkward is laughing along. The audience consists of a lot of mainly British TV "celebrities" several of whom are gay, they are a fairly metropolitan bunch reasonably sophisticted ie.not homophobic rubes up from the sticks, watch their reaction to Hobsons act
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9MnjQnblVTE
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Re: Identity of this "Camp/Gay" magician please

Postby mrgoat » November 9th, 2014, 4:18 pm

TheLovelyDebbie wrote:This link to Jeff Hobsons act was posted earlier, the guy up on stage with him is ex-England goalkeeper David Seaman, who although looks slightly awkward is laughing along. The audience consists of a lot of mainly British TV "celebrities" several of whom are gay, they are a fairly metropolitan bunch reasonably sophisticted ie.not homophobic rubes up from the sticks, watch their reaction to Hobsons act
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9MnjQnblVTE


Imagine that. An audience of c list celebs smile when they notice a TV camera pointed at them. Whatever next!

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Re: Identity of this "Camp/Gay" magician please

Postby MManchester » November 9th, 2014, 4:49 pm

billmccloskey wrote:Don't we see that in the show Frasier? Where, almost from the beginning, was a show about two gay men, except they were supposed to be straight. But, for all intents and purposes, were gay. Is this not also wearing a gay costume?


No. What you're describing is the Bert and Ernie debate. Are these two Muppet characters gay because they're both male and they live together? Not necessarily. Homosexuality is much more than two people of the same gender cohabiting. I'm not really familiar enough with Frasier to comment. But I think you're reading into the situation something that isn't there. If they're supposed to be straight, they're straight.

A better television comparison to Jeff Hobson would be the show Three's Company. In retrospect, one of the most offensive ever broadcast not just for its treatment of gays but also women. Jack Tripper was not at all gay. Yet, when the landlord came around, he "acted" gay by exhibiting incredibly stereotypical mannerisms to suit the situation. That is what Hobson is doing for the benefit of his magic act.
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Re: Identity of this "Camp/Gay" magician please

Postby Brad Henderson » November 9th, 2014, 5:05 pm

power.

Mocking the powerful is one thing. mocking the marginalized, another.

When we mock ourselves (those at the same power strata) or those more powerful we create a community. WE are all equal. I'm as messed up as you. THEY are as messed up as us.

When we mock those less powerful, we create division. We isolate.

Power is malleable. Persons places and times all define the power structure in play.

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Re: Identity of this "Camp/Gay" magician please

Postby mrgoat » November 10th, 2014, 4:19 pm

There was an interesting discussion about this thread backstage at the International Convention today. Seems a good idea is that with Hobson there is no fourth wall. And that is an important difference. Obviously we can see an ACTOR playing a gay character as fine. But when someone is interacting with an audience and pretending to be gay, it is different as they think that is really him.

Many interesting things said, some will be shared here later from others.

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Re: Identity of this "Camp/Gay" magician please

Postby Waterman » November 11th, 2014, 12:12 pm

John Cleese has an opinion on the politically correct perception of comedy in the latest issue of Time.

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Re: Identity of this "Camp/Gay" magician please

Postby Jonathan Townsend » November 11th, 2014, 1:15 pm

Bill Marquardt wrote:I'm sure glad Andrew Dice Clay isn't a magician. Imagine the threads that would generate. :shock:

The usual fuss...
http://thestacks.deadspin.com/little-bi ... 1469139983

the contrast between Kinnison and Clay was interesting.

(the linked article used adult language)
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Re: Identity of this "Camp/Gay" magician please

Postby Pumbaaj » March 1st, 2015, 10:48 pm

I read an old issue of MUM describing Hobson's act. His opening joke was pretending to shoot a member of the audience. Can anyone confirm this???

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Re: Identity of this "Camp/Gay" magician please

Postby Q. Kumber » March 2nd, 2015, 4:40 am

Two old threads revisited (this and the talk magic/cafe thread) at the same time with no useful input.

Seems the trolling season is upon us.


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