Page 2 of 2

Re: Razor Blade illusions

Posted: May 7th, 2019, 2:09 pm
by Ian Kendall
I've been doing the razor blades since 1992, initially in street shows, and then in comedy clubs and up. I'm just back from the Baltic, and closed my second show with the blades.

FWIW, I use unblunted Wilkinson Sword blades (after a conversation with Amazing Jonathan in 93), and I've had a couple of scares. I cut myself in almost every show, but they are tiny nicks these days, rather than the more substantial cuts I got when I was learning.

Many other performers do the needles these days, and very few do the blades, which is a good reasons to do the blades rather than needles...

Re: Razor Blade illusions

Posted: May 7th, 2019, 4:55 pm
by Brad Henderson
Bill Duncan wrote:I've never quite understood what the magical effect is with this sort of thing.

I can thread needles with my bowels? I'm impervious to stupidity?
obviously ones presentation will determine the perception of effect. I have presented this piece for many years. Audiences continue to ask for and talk about it.

In my case I present it as a demonstration of skill, regurgitation.

It is not a ‘trick’ per se in that I am exercising no magical skills in its accomplishment. It is a physical stunt - and quite an impactful one at that.

Re: Razor Blade illusions

Posted: May 7th, 2019, 5:02 pm
by Brad Henderson
And to tom’s point - I have to say that I’ve never had an audience suggest that I switched packets in my stomach. Though I wouldn’t mind that too terribly if that were the conclusion drawn.

The truth is, this is an emotionally based experience, not an intellectual one. Just as people don’t think too hard about the possible inconsistencies in the horror movies they love (how many times can mike Meyers die?!?!?) they tend to stay inside the feelingful response conveyed during performance.

It can be a genuinely unnerving and disturbing piece of an audience. When we get them into that mind set, they tend to stop thinking too closely about the story let alone the method. They just go with it.

I do get asked if I ‘really swallow the needles’ and have an answer which both satisfies without provoking. And if you know how to tie a knot in a cherry stem, or remind them that this is possible, you’d be surprised how often people happily move on.

When you give people something extraordinary, they tend to want to preserve that experience.

Re: Razor Blade illusions

Posted: May 7th, 2019, 7:45 pm
by Richard Kaufman
I often wonder about how many times can Michael Myers die!

Re: Razor Blade illusions

Posted: May 7th, 2019, 8:09 pm
by erdnasephile
I'm not sure what's more disturbing: the fact that Michael Meyer can't die or that Richard thinks about it "often" ;)

Re: Razor Blade illusions

Posted: May 7th, 2019, 9:27 pm
by Richard Kaufman
It was a joke. :) I'm not even exactly sure if Michael Meyers is the dude from Halloween or Friday the 15th.

Re: Razor Blade illusions

Posted: May 8th, 2019, 10:36 pm
by Bill Duncan
Richard Kaufman wrote:It was a joke. :) I'm not even exactly sure if Michael Meyers is the dude from Halloween or Friday the 15th.


He's the guy who made Wayne's World.

Re: Razor Blade illusions

Posted: May 9th, 2019, 9:40 am
by erdnasephile
Ian Kendall wrote:I've been doing the razor blades since 1992, initially in street shows, and then in comedy clubs and up. I'm just back from the Baltic, and closed my second show with the blades.

FWIW, I use unblunted Wilkinson Sword blades (after a conversation with Amazing Jonathan in 93), and I've had a couple of scares. I cut myself in almost every show, but they are tiny nicks these days, rather than the more substantial cuts I got when I was learning.

Many other performers do the needles these days, and very few do the blades, which is a good reasons to do the blades rather than needles...


Hi, Ian:
You indicated why you use the unblunted blades in an earlier post, but since you have the spectators handle the blades, have you ever had one cut themselves either on accident or by testing them with their thumb to make sure they were sharp? (I used to wet shave for a while and some of those blades will slice you open on a whim--"safety razor" seems like an oxymoron for those).

Also, when working the street, did you have a backup effect ready to go in case there were young kids in the crowd?

Re: Razor Blade illusions

Posted: May 9th, 2019, 11:23 am
by Ian Kendall
I've never had a spectator cut themselves, hopefully because of the way I hand them the blades. At that particular point in the routine, it would be difficult for them to deviate from what's happening. (I have, however, been punched in the groin at that point, with two sharp blades in my mouth, which was an interesting moment...)

On the streets there were almost always small children in the edge. As before, the presentation emphasises that this should not be copied. Again, as far as I know, no one has ever tried (I was usually at each pitch for a period of weeks or months, so if something did happen, I would have been easy to find). In fact, the only time I've been told to stop doing something on the street was a couple of belligerent and bullying Strathclyde police officers who threatened to arrest me if I did blockhead again...

(As for using sharp blades; AJ told me that he dulled his blades, and I decided to use sharp ones because he didn't. Yes, I know...)

Re: Razor Blade illusions

Posted: May 14th, 2019, 3:43 am
by erdnasephile
Ian Kendall wrote:I've never had a spectator cut themselves, hopefully because of the way I hand them the blades. At that particular point in the routine, it would be difficult for them to deviate from what's happening. (I have, however, been punched in the groin at that point, with two sharp blades in my mouth, which was an interesting moment...)


I'm almost afraid to ask, but why in the world did they punch you in the groin?

Re: Razor Blade illusions

Posted: May 14th, 2019, 6:21 am
by Ian Kendall
Drunk rugby player. One of the risks of university gigs...

Re: Razor Blade illusions

Posted: May 14th, 2019, 5:32 pm
by erdnasephile
Groin punching drunks. Hostile cops. That all seems so crazy!

I really respect pros like Ian who deal with this mess for the sake of their profession and passion.