In the other thread, Richard Kaufman commented:
Richard Kaufman wrote:I suggest you take out a cigarette and watch the reactions of the spectators: they will shrink from you and react with disgust. Not the reaction you want.
To Richards point, I just had a conversation on this subject with good friend of minea nonsmokerwho works cruise ships. He put a routine he hadnt done in years back into his act. Now, this is a very funny guy and he diffuses most of the problem (which he expected) with some good jokes. But, as soon as he lit the cigarette and (his words) before the smoke from the cigarette even got to my nose, there were people in the audience coughing; even people in the back rows where it would have been impossible for them to smell the smoke.
He has also found some trouble with borrowing cigarettes. Even though you know there are people who smoke, they are not willing to admit to everyone in the room that they smoke, so they dont offer up a cigarette, he says.
He is now thinking about where he can take this (an unlit cigarette is not an option). Hes probably going to drop to routine again.
In many ways its too bad because there is a lot of great magic that can be performed with cigarettes.
The good news is that there are alternatives for some of it.
For example, years ago when I played golf, I used to do cigarette moves with golf pencils. (This was not my idea, but one I got from another pal, Greg Otto, who was toying with the idea of doing a golf-themed manipulation act.)
Obviously crayons can also be manipulated the same way. Someone must be producing crayons in their kids act out there.
Today, in social situations, cigarettes also offer the prospect for Michael Weber-esque opportunistic magic. That is, a magical moment that that appears to happen strictly out of circumstance. Imagine someone lights a cigarette at a party and you make it disappear: Chances are good that the many of the folks in the room will be quite pleased with you. Thats much better than borrowing a cigarette and making it disappear or turning a sport coat into a smoking jacket and later a blazer.
So, if my feeble little mind can think of these things, the thinkers out there must have some other ideas worth sharing. Id like to read them here.