Magic Acts on TV - set up to look like buffoons or as quality entertainment?

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magicbar
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Magic Acts on TV - set up to look like buffoons or as quality entertainment?

Postby magicbar » August 15th, 2008, 12:27 pm

I don't watch much magic on TV but when I see reality/talent shows like The Gong Show, America's Got Talent, etc..it seems to me that magic acts are set up to look bad. I am sure many inferior singers, dancers and such are eliminated prior to broadcast but the magician that is sure to bomb always seems to get on. There on AGT the two I saw were mediocre at best and the guy with the cowboy hat was just an embarrassment to himself and the craft.

I don't think these shows are right for magic being that there is no time for a performer to establish character and do any effect that trancends the 'stunt' or 'flash' level. Even on the original Chuck Barris Gong Show magicians were usually the clowny type set up to be the disappointment of the show. I wonder if that is intentional by the producers? Is there a way to have a successful quickie act on these types of shows? I know that magic works well in a (professional) variety show setting but these reality/talent shows seem to display the worst of the bunch. Is it that the good acts know better and just stay away from these types of shows?

DrDanny
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Re: Magic Acts on TV - set up to look like buffoons or as quality entertainment?

Postby DrDanny » August 15th, 2008, 12:33 pm

As anyone who watches any version of the Gong Show will tell you, they do NOT watch it in hopes of catching the Next Big Thing. Watching TGS for quality acts is like complaining that your VW doesn't come with cable TV. Of course the producers pick crappy magicians. They pick crappy singers, jugglers, vents, .... that's the whole point of the show, to make fun of crappy show-biz wannabes.

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Tim Ellis
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Re: Magic Acts on TV - set up to look like buffoons or as quality entertainment?

Postby Tim Ellis » August 15th, 2008, 7:46 pm

I think one of the problems is the time restrictions.

Imagine - you're given 60 to 90 seconds to perform a killer set.

You have to establish who you are, why you're there and what you're going to do.

Most will resort to cramming as much as they can into their spot and it often looks bad as a result.

Being able to present a great one minute magic act on TV is an art in itself and, I'm sure if someone was able to do that, the producers of these shows would be very happy to showcase them properly. They need great acts as much as they need bad acts as it's the two extremes the viewers respond to, but if your act is middle of the road it's more likely it won't make the cut at all, or worse, they'll just show the worst bits so you fit into the latter category.

Bill Palmer
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Re: Magic Acts on TV - set up to look like buffoons or as quality entertainment?

Postby Bill Palmer » August 16th, 2008, 1:52 am

I don't know if any of you remember a TV show called "Make Me Laugh." One of the comics on that show was Biff Maynard. I met him when I was working at Magic Island. He would drop by after working at the Laff Stop.

He figured out that each of the 60 second spots that the comics got to try to make the contestant laugh was a 60 second national television audition. And that's how he played it. He got a lot of work from that show.
Bill Palmer, MIMC

Rene Clement
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Re: Magic Acts on TV - set up to look like buffoons or as quality entertainment?

Postby Rene Clement » August 16th, 2008, 10:14 am

I remember seeing Vito Lupo win the first prize on the original Chuck Barris Gong Show some 25 years ago.


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