Fool Us - Season 3

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P.T.Widdle
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Fool Us - Season 3

Postby P.T.Widdle » July 15th, 2016, 3:12 pm

New season with new host Alyson Hannigan, and sadly she's subjected to two of stage magic's worst enduring attributes: sexism and suckerism.
First there was Shawn Farquhar's cheesy remark that if she was to hold the book close to her chest, "it just makes the book happy." Ugh. I heard the same line used by Josh Jay in the DVD for his book (as a woman was holding a card to her chest - "Happy Card!"). It's a sexist and embarrassing remark; Magicians, please stop using it.

Then, at the end of the show, Hannigan is left holding unmatched card halves, failing in her attempt to do the trick which she had been excitedly looking forward to all show. P&T got it right, but she didn't. That's the ending of a sucker trick, is it not? Worse, just before Hannigan's reveal, Penn pointed out a man in the audience who didn't get it right, telling him humorously, "it certainly doesn't mean you're too stupid to follow simple directions." Funny I guess, but still awkward for the man singled out. But it was Hannigan left standing there at the end between P&T, mock-pouting because she didn't get it right either. The poor lady with boobs didn't do the trick right. Awwww.

I guess it can only go uphill from here.

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Re: Fool Us - Season 3

Postby Brad Henderson » July 15th, 2016, 4:19 pm

agreed

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Re: Fool Us - Season 3

Postby Dustin Stinett » July 15th, 2016, 5:49 pm

Apparently you both missed the fact that she told the boys to "stop playing with [their] balls" (I may have noted that they only had one between them). I suspect that Ms. "One Time, at Band Camp" Hannigan can hold her own in the good ol' boy club.

Oh, and I thought the show was excellent.

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Re: Fool Us - Season 3

Postby performer » July 15th, 2016, 5:49 pm

P.T.Widdle wrote:New season with new host Alyson Hannigan, and sadly she's subjected to two of stage magic's worst enduring attributes: sexism and suckerism.
First there was Shawn Farquhar's cheesy remark that if she was to hold the book close to her chest, "it just makes the book happy." Ugh. I heard the same line used by Josh Jay in the DVD for his book (as a woman was holding a card to her chest - "Happy Card!"). It's a sexist and embarrassing remark; Magicians, please stop using it.


Good heavens! This is the end of civilsation as we know it. I actually agree with Widdle for once.

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Re: Fool Us - Season 3

Postby performer » July 15th, 2016, 5:53 pm

Dustin Stinett wrote:Apparently you both missed the fact that she told the boys to "stop playing with [their] balls" (I may have noted that they only had one between them). I suspect that Ms. "One Time, at Band Camp" Hannigan can hold her own in the good ol' boy club.

Oh, and I thought the show was excellent.


Just because some vulgar woman wishes to use disgraceful remarks does not justify supposed representatives of the ancient and honourable art of magic to make unseemly comments in sympathy. Two wrongs do not make a right you know.

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Re: Fool Us - Season 3

Postby Brad Henderson » July 15th, 2016, 6:02 pm

I am offended less by the tastelessness (which is mild) and more by its hackneyedness

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Re: Fool Us - Season 3

Postby performer » July 15th, 2016, 6:38 pm

I do not mind hackneyed material too much since it is new to someone that hasn't seen it. However bad taste is most improper and I cannot possibly approve. It degrades the art of magic and it makes the performer sound like he was brought up in the gutter.

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Re: Fool Us - Season 3

Postby erdnasephile » July 15th, 2016, 6:54 pm

Brad Henderson wrote:I am offended less by the tastelessness (which is mild) and more by its hackneyedness


Agreed.

(While I agree with Mr. Widdle to a certain extent, I doubt that Ms. Hannigan was terribly offended (per what Dustin pointed out). Until I hear otherwise, I doubt I'll feel offended for her. On a happier tangent, I note that Mr. Marsh passed up the opportunity to use that same dumb line in his routine.)

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Re: Fool Us - Season 3

Postby P.T.Widdle » July 15th, 2016, 7:03 pm

I knew someone would pull out the old, "she can hold her own in the "good ol' boy club" excuse. Way to keep the cringe-worthy and inappropriate cliches of magic going! Hey, she's played fictional characters in R-rated movies. She can hold her own against the ol' boys' sexist remarks! That makes the remarks OK!

Not surprised to be hearing this from someone who referred to a female magician's costume on stage as wearing, "a lovely slip."

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Re: Fool Us - Season 3

Postby JFox » July 15th, 2016, 7:16 pm

I watch and enjoy this series, but its REAL obvious that now the show is little more than a "showcase" for magicians - who no longer have the goal or need to fool P&T.

Fooling P&T with Passe Passe Bottles?...Nope.
Fooling P&T with "illusion steps"?...Nope.

Getting national TV Exposure....Yep!

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Re: Fool Us - Season 3

Postby P.T.Widdle » July 15th, 2016, 7:51 pm

JFox wrote:Fooling P&T with Passe Passe Bottles?...Nope.


Yeah, I kept waiting for a magician's fooler, like pouring liquid from all the bottles, or some such miracle.
And, by the way, that guy was fine, but I recently saw Carl Mercurio perform his version of the trick, which was funnier and smoother.

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Re: Fool Us - Season 3

Postby Jack Shalom » July 15th, 2016, 10:04 pm

P.T.Widdle wrote:
Then, at the end of the show, Hannigan is left holding unmatched card halves, failing in her attempt to do the trick which she had been excitedly looking forward to all show. P&T got it right, but she didn't. That's the ending of a sucker trick, is it not? Worse, just before Hannigan's reveal, Penn pointed out a man in the audience who didn't get it right, telling him humorously, "it certainly doesn't mean you're too stupid to follow simple directions." Funny I guess, but still awkward for the man singled out. But it was Hannigan left standing there at the end between P&T, mock-pouting because she didn't get it right either. The poor lady with boobs didn't do the trick right. Awwww.

I guess it can only go uphill from here.


I had a slightly different take on Hannigan. I thought she seemed very nervous from the beginning. And sucker trick? I don't think so. I think she screwed it up on national TV and P&T knew it and were spitting through their teeth over her screw up. I have a feeling it was not planned, and that she was really embarrassed. Maybe someone can enlighten us further.

I thought the show was boring overall, disappointing compared to the last two years.

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Re: Fool Us - Season 3

Postby Richard Kaufman » July 15th, 2016, 10:16 pm

The level of public discourse regarding women's breasts has been loosening for years. You NEVER heard the word "Boobs" used on TV or in discussion--now it's used constantly in conversation and on TV. I hear it all the time. And frequently it's women who use the word.

So, I would conclude from this that the sanctity of making a light joke about a women's bust has been loosened by societal changes,

These types of comments can go either way depending upon the audience, the situation in which the performance is taking place, the exact spectator, and the performer's manner of delivery.

Perhaps the "lines" that people used to use that were considered sexist or rude, and then told not to use because they were considered sexist or rude, are no longer sexist or rude. Society changes.

I sure wouldn't say those "lines" to the Queen of England, but Tom Mullica made a joke in his close-up performance at the 2015 Genii convention regarding the size of his spectator/helper's bust--breaking every rule that has been brought up in this thread--and it was hilarious. The spectator did not appear to be in any way offended--she laughed really loudly, and the audience roared. It might have been the funniest thing at the convention.

These days plenty of women are openly proud of their bosoms and often display them with little cover ... free the nipple and all that.

You might see it as a general coarsening of society. Lots of f-bombs being tossed around these days, so it's not surprising that "boob" jokes might be making a return in patter. I can't tell you how many women I've met who keep cash, credit cards, and even their cell phones in their bras, and just reach right in and pull the items out when needed. Do you really think that woman is going to be offended by a comment about a "Happy playing card"?

And you can make of that what you will.
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Re: Fool Us - Season 3

Postby Dustin Stinett » July 16th, 2016, 1:32 am

Jack Shalom wrote:I thought the show was boring overall, disappointing compared to the last two years.

Wow. I thought it was pretty good. I think Shawn Farquhar scored well and I'll wager he's sold a few more copies of "Sheer Luck"—an example of a real problem with magic), and Nathan Coe Marsh's hunk was strong too. I'm not a fan of Nathan Burton, but I have to admit that he likely bumped up his Q ratings with a solid performance. Michael Kent performed a classic quite well, though I think he was the weakest of the three (and still better than some things I have seen on another show on the same network). Over all, I think P&T: Fool Us is the best of the televised magic that we have right now.

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Re: Fool Us - Season 3

Postby Dustin Stinett » July 16th, 2016, 1:46 am

P.T.Widdle wrote:I knew someone would pull out the old, "she can hold her own in the "good ol' boy club" excuse. Way to keep the cringe-worthy and inappropriate cliches of magic going! Hey, she's played fictional characters in R-rated movies. She can hold her own against the ol' boys' sexist remarks! That makes the remarks OK!

A character that she continues to take to the bank. I'm not sure she and other women will be glad to know that you think they need your sanctimonious form of protection, but you certainly seem to think that they cannot hold their own with men. I will not apologize for believing otherwise.

P.T.Widdle wrote:Not surprised to be hearing this from someone who referred to a female magician's costume on stage as wearing, "a lovely slip."

Well, when I spoke with her (did you speak with her? I did ... I wrote her story and she understands sexism way better than you will ever know), she acknowledged that it is supposed to look like a slip. Not sure what your problem with that is. Oh, wait, yes I do. You are her self-appointed protector.

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Re: Fool Us - Season 3

Postby AJM » July 16th, 2016, 2:38 am

Yes, I remember the Tom Mullica line - it brought the house down with the lady involved laughing the loudest.

Knock, knock...

Cheers

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Re: Fool Us - Season 3

Postby Dustin Stinett » July 16th, 2016, 3:15 am

And the woman laughed so hard that Mullica had to wait for her to relax and catch her breath (he asked her a couple of times if she was okay). And then, as you might recall, he said that he did the joke because he knew she would react as she did. It was a great moment.

Do you also recall Alana's new act? You know, the one where she was wearing a slip magically trying on different clothing? You know, a "lovely slip" that someone seems to take issue with even though the artist meant for it to be seen as a slip in the context of her act? Too bad that ignorant someone who was not there continues to have a problem about something he knows absolutely nothing about.

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Re: Fool Us - Season 3

Postby CraigMitchell » July 16th, 2016, 4:37 am

Shawn's performance always gets a good response ... but is there not an inherent flaw in Sheer Luck ? The fact that your book is blank informs the audience immediately that such things as 'gimmicked' books exist ... one doesn't normally go to a book store and find a blank Sherlock Holmes book. It weakens the 'impossibility' of the effect off the bat and immediately discounts their prior belief ( which the performer purposely established ) rightly or wrongly that the spectator's book was 'normal' ...

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Re: Fool Us - Season 3

Postby performer » July 16th, 2016, 7:05 am

Yes, society has indeed changed in certain vulgar countries. However there are still certain jurisdictions and countries where profanity on stage is illegal and vulgarity in performances is frowned upon. Quite right too. Magic is supposed to be a wholesome art and bringing suggestive remarks, profanity, vulgarity, insult "humour", and other improprieties into a beautiful art is beyond the pale and the slightest suggestion of this in a performance mars overall effect and makes it into an exhibition of ugliness. The second a "performer" introduces this into his work is the second he is a bad magician and I don't care how famous or well regarded he is by lower class members of the public. As for the opinion of magicians I have always said they are of no consequence whatsoever. Except my opinion of course since I am an exceptional person and quite beyond the norm.

There have indeed been societal changes but they are not for the good and in any case magic should ignore them and resist the temptation to go down that disgusting route no matter the "reaction" from the lower classes. And I don't care if it "brings the house down". There are people who approve of blowing up buildings and the sale of heroin but that doesn't make it right.

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Re: Fool Us - Season 3

Postby Dustin Stinett » July 16th, 2016, 7:31 am

performer wrote:There are people who approve of blowing up buildings and the sale of heroin but that doesn't make it right.

Comparing a harmless knock knock joke and blown all out of proportion hackneyed bits (Brad is the only one who has properly labeled what took place on "Fool Us" thus far) to violence, illegal and harmful activity, and honest to goodness sexism is the height of stupidity.

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Re: Fool Us - Season 3

Postby Dustin Stinett » July 16th, 2016, 7:44 am

CraigMitchell wrote:... but is there not an inherent flaw in Sheer Luck ? The fact that your book is blank informs the audience immediately that such things as 'gimmicked' books exist ...

I disagree. I don't think the mind of a lay person goes there. They have, in fact, seen blank books, and yes, in book stores. They are more likely to think that magic boy glued the Holmes cover onto one of those than to make the leap to specially printed gimmicked books used by magicians.

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Re: Fool Us - Season 3

Postby Brad Henderson » July 16th, 2016, 8:18 am

while my objection is with the hack nature of the line, we are blind to think that many ARENT offended by this. (we can agree or disagree with the legitimacy of that offense). case in point, seek out the blog post of the woman who felt assaulted during Mike Finneys performance at the magic castle. Times are a changing, though not always to greater permissiveness.

here is a thought: why don't male magicians make body part jokes about male volunteers? heck, why don't many male magicians ever request male volunteers?

(for one answer see my article in Magic titled 'women and children first'

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Re: Fool Us - Season 3

Postby performer » July 16th, 2016, 8:21 am

Knock , knock jokes are NOT harmless. They degrade society and the arte of mágic and they make ME vomit. Some of us aspire to higher standards of propriety.

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Re: Fool Us - Season 3

Postby P.T.Widdle » July 16th, 2016, 9:09 am

Dustin, so I shouldn't predispose to know what Alana was thinking because I haven't talked to her, but you get to know the mind of the woman with the large (and laughed at) chest? And Hannigan as well?

HahaHoHo! - it's so very funny when male magicians make sex jokes about female volunteers breasts! People laugh, including the volunteer (never mind that maybe the woman was trying to maintain some dignity and stave off embarrassment, possibly stemming from years of jokes being made about her chest). And you call me ignorant.

Brad is right, you are blind to think many are not offended by lines like these, and the more you remain blind and dismissive of this behavior, the worse it is for magic.

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Re: Fool Us - Season 3

Postby Dustin Stinett » July 16th, 2016, 9:15 am

No. You didn't see the act, in which she was wearing a slip as part of the act, but when I described the act you predisposed that I was being sexist. And clearly you've been dwelling on the issue.

Mark: I think enough of magic that I suspect it will survive the occasional knock knock and boob joke. Sorry you think so little of it.

So I will look into making a "Safe Place Forum" for Widdle, Mark, and (apparently) Brad. In the meantime, be offended by this:



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Re: Fool Us - Season 3

Postby NCMarsh » July 16th, 2016, 9:28 am

JFox wrote:I watch and enjoy this series, but its REAL obvious that now the show is little more than a "showcase" for magicians - who no longer have the goal or need to fool P&T.

Fooling P&T with Passe Passe Bottles?...Nope.
Fooling P&T with "illusion steps"?...Nope.

Getting national TV Exposure....Yep!


The brilliance of the "Fool Us" hook is that it solves the most difficult problem of showing magic on TV: how do you ensure that the audience at home knows they aren't seeing "TV magic?" Does a voiceover that "everything you're seeing is exactly what you'd see here" prove anything?

By putting two experts in the room who are actively trying to bust the performer -- and are putting some of their reputation on the line -- the audience knows that there isn't monkeying around in the editing room, pre-arrangements (in the early phase of booking my segment, a producer wanted assurance that I wasn't using a stooge for the jar trick), multiple takes, etc....

It also allows them to develop the personalities and tell a story through the show on top of the magic show

BUT -- magicians seem to quickly forget that the goal is to do a great magic show...anyone who has been at a Denny's at 3am to sit through an impossible location or phase 23 of a new Oil and Water handling knows well that "magician foolers" don't necessarily make for great TV

So yes, it is a showcase -- but it isn't "little more" than a showcase...it is also a record for our community...the magic documented in the first two seasons was fantastic, and having that stuff preserved for future generations is huge

And, it is a magic show...a magic show putting "real" live magic on primetime and reminding the public of how great a real magic show can be.

Related to that, when you see someone on the show perform a classic, and you're tempted to think "why the heck would they try to fool P&T with that" -- bear in mind that perhaps a producer came to the performer because the show wanted a particular classic piece for its entertainment value, and this person does it really well...it is a show, not a sports event

That said, Shawn Farquhar! Fooling Penn & Teller with an entertaining piece on national television once is hard enough, but to be the first to do it twice! Shawn continues to find ways to separate himself from the pack; and here is in a one person category. He took a big risk going on a second time, and he killed it.

Michael Kent: folks, this is how you take classic material and make it both contemporary and your own..awesome

Nathan Burton: Fast moving, high energy, with a sense of whimsy...I loved the feel of having a person signed...again someone who unmistakably "owns" the material..

Penn & Teller: I had several laymen tell me how much they loved the moment when they turned over the card to discover it had worked...it is a beautiful moment of magic happening in your hands

One other thing the production did well that deserves mention: the variety of the material. It is so easy for a show like this (especially with the "Fool Us" hook) to become: card trick, coin trick, coin trick, card trick...I LOVED the visual variety of the material...books, toilets, cannons, wine bottles...that's a critical part of any magic show that we don't talk about, and the production nailed it (there's a shot in the season promo with an apple being cut by some kind of giant axe -- I can't wait to see what that's about..)

I'm obviously biased (not as biased as may be assumed, I filmed with a different group of performers than the ones on the episode so the comments above have nothing to do with backstage bonding -- I didn't see any of these guys during my time in Vegas)

N
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Re: Fool Us - Season 3

Postby Brad Henderson » July 16th, 2016, 9:42 am

to clarify.

I have no problem with outrageous material and even offensive material. I just have issue with blind spots.

there ARE people who are offended by the objectification of women and their body parts. (I am offended by the objectification of all volunteers - the treating of them as props or targets for jokes, but that's another issue). to suggest that only magicians notice this is blind. in fact I would say magicians may be one of the last groups to have started noticing this.

when we perform we make choices. we need to own those choices. to pretend those choices do not have consequences or that people aren't affected in certain ways by those choices is blindness.

and while nathan is correct that the show functions as a great showcase for magicians, it fails us by reinforcing the notion that magic is solely about fooling the audience and that the audience's role is to figure it out.

magic is not about fooling, it's about feeling.

until we begin to reeducate ourselves and our audiences to this matter we will be forever relegated to puzzlers and tricksters, not artists.

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Re: Fool Us - Season 3

Postby Dustin Stinett » July 16th, 2016, 9:49 am

I go to great lengths to defend an individual to do what he or she wants to do for the sake of the art they do, not the art that others say they should be doing. If it is not my cup of tea, I don't watch it. Pretty simple. Nathan Burton's routine in which he flushes a cop (now, apparently, it's the hotel security guy, but it was a cop; in fact, his site used to say "watch him blast a cop") offends the hell out of me. His turning a white guy into black guy in a "microwave" offends the hell out of me. I've stated that these things offend me (and have received the wrath of others who disagree and think the bits are funny). I don't watch his show as a result. Viv la difference.

What's next?

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Re: Fool Us - Season 3

Postby Ted M » July 16th, 2016, 12:03 pm

Let's suppose magicians constantly used fat jokes with their onstage volunteers, and chose their volunteers accordingly.

Any difference?

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Re: Fool Us - Season 3

Postby JHostler » July 16th, 2016, 12:10 pm

Ted M wrote:Let's suppose magicians frequently used fat jokes with their onstage volunteers, and chose their volunteers accordingly.

Any difference?


Easy answer: They'd be out of work.

Where's the puritanical uproar over the gratuitous insertion of scantily-clad dancers in stage performances? (My primary beef on that front is that they rarely do anything but bump the cheese factor.)
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Re: Fool Us - Season 3

Postby performer » July 16th, 2016, 12:14 pm

Dustin Stinett wrote:No. You didn't see the act, in which she was wearing a slip as part of the act, but when I described the act you predisposed that I was being sexist. And clearly you've been dwelling on the issue.

Mark: I think enough of magic that I suspect it will survive the occasional knock knock and boob joke. Sorry you think so little of it.

So I will look into making a "Safe Place Forum" for Widdle, Mark, and (apparently) Brad. In the meantime, be offended by this:




The chap in that vídeo badly needs a haircut so his opinion has no credibiliy whatsover. Besides he is a ghastly Australian and they are the most vulgar people on the face if the esrth do alas nothing more can be ecpected of them.

However I am no concerned with comedians. They can do whst they like. I am concerned with the dignity and ststus of magic. Sure, one incident won't kill the art off even in front of millions of people on televisión but bit by sleasy, cheesy bit over time it will do great harm particularly when when noted and respected people like Dustin who knows no better tell everyone that it is OK and propagates such obscenities and encouages others to follow suit.

Quite disgraceful. However all is not lost. I am hete to defend the art. Of course when I am not here Widdle will have to do.........

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Re: Fool Us - Season 3

Postby Richard Kaufman » July 16th, 2016, 1:37 pm

Widdle won't be sharing his views with us any more.

Mark, your eyesight must be failing: there are a lot of typographical errors in your last message.
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Re: Fool Us - Season 3

Postby Ted M » July 16th, 2016, 1:45 pm

That's really, really too bad because this is an important conversation about magical culture.

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Re: Fool Us - Season 3

Postby performer » July 16th, 2016, 2:08 pm

Richard Kaufman wrote:Widdle won't be sharing his views with us any more.

Mark, your eyesight must be failing: there are a lot of typographical errors in your last message.


It is not my eyesight . I sm not used to typing on phones. I consider it against the laws of nature.

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Re: Fool Us - Season 3

Postby Richard Kaufman » July 16th, 2016, 2:13 pm

Don't type! Use the dictation feature. There should be a small icon of a microphone. Tap and talk. You may have to make a few small corrections, but we aim for accuracy here. Your aim helps, too.
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Re: Fool Us - Season 3

Postby Dustin Stinett » July 16th, 2016, 2:46 pm

Ah, a subject close to my heart and body mass index ...
JHostler wrote:
Ted M wrote:Let's suppose magicians frequently used fat jokes with their onstage volunteers, and chose their volunteers accordingly.

Any difference?


Easy answer: They'd be out of work.

There it is.

And yet, maybe not, if the magician were as talented (and fat) as Louie Anderson or the late great John Pinette.

Or just plain great enough to get away with it. I once saw Groucho, on "You Bet Your Life," ask a fat guy, "What's your gross tonnage?" I still think it's a funny line ... coming from him.

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Re: Fool Us - Season 3

Postby Ted M » July 16th, 2016, 3:01 pm

Dustin Stinett wrote:Ah, a subject close to my heart and body mass index ...
JHostler wrote:
Ted M wrote:Let's suppose magicians frequently used fat jokes with their onstage volunteers, and chose their volunteers accordingly.

Any difference?


Easy answer: They'd be out of work.

There it is.

So why the double standard? Why do people in this forum believe body-based harassment is routinely okay with women as the objects of the joke?

I'd be very, very interested in Eugene Burger's thoughts on this.

[And if Widdle was somehow banned, I urge his reinstatement. He started an extremely important discussion.]

performer
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Re: Fool Us - Season 3

Postby performer » July 16th, 2016, 4:13 pm

Richard Kaufman wrote:Don't type! Use the dictation feature. There should be a small icon of a microphone. Tap and talk. You may have to make a few small corrections, but we aim for accuracy here. Your aim helps, too.


I have no idea what any of that means I was born in the age of the dinosaur. I shall edit it when I get home. I am a skilled writer you know.

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Richard Kaufman
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Re: Fool Us - Season 3

Postby Richard Kaufman » July 16th, 2016, 5:33 pm

Widdle is gone. He started the conversation but had no idea how to be civil in its execution. And it's not the first time.

Eugene would disagree, since his point of view is that even a joke like "Hold out your hand ... no, the clean one" is offensive. Not sure where he would fall on ribald humor. I think he might say it depends on the audience, and the situation. And you've got to be very experienced, or just super good, to know those things.

I actually use that line about "hold out your hand," which I learned from Derek Dingle. But I deliver it with the cadence Alan Rickman used as Severus Snape in the Harry Potter films. The delivery is funny, which takes the sin off the joke (if you feel there is one).
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Brad Henderson
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Re: Fool Us - Season 3

Postby Brad Henderson » July 16th, 2016, 5:54 pm

Dustin, fundamentally I agree with you. As long as the choice is a conscious one (which, let's admit it, not always it is) then I will stand by the artist's choice to make whatever statement they care to make - even if I don't care for it personally.

but that's a different issue then trying to ignore that some specific choices ARE offensive to some people.

i don't believe in safe spaces. I do believe we need to be aware of how our choices affect others and make them with intention.


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