I’m tired of people and so-called experts telling me how to be entertaining.
Entertaining another human being is a difficult knack to acquire, especially if you want to entertain him with magic.
So for a change, let me teach you how to be boring. It’s a lot easier to become a bore.
Here are some sure-fire techniques to transform yourself into a dull and tiresome magician. Study them closely and become an expert at wearing down your audience today.
1. Snooze them, not enthuse them. Sleep is refreshing. It improves health. Give your audience plenty of them. Hypnotize them with your lack of vibrant personality. Send them to dreamland with the absence of humor in your act.
2. Shut down the energy flow. Be lethargic on stage. Perform your show one-fourth hearted. Move slowly as if you were Atlas carrying the world on your shoulders. Don’t show any hint of energy, so people mistake you for a refugee from famine-stricken Ethiopia.
3. Be part of the background. If you really want to put your audience to sleep, don’t make large movements on stage. Better, don’t move at all. By playing statue, you will become part of the background. You will be like the table, the microphone stand, the backdrop. Uninteresting after the first glance.
4. Perform hodge-podge magic. Confuse your audience with an unstructured act. They will weep two minutes into your act—guaranteed!
You can achieve a confusing act by neatly arranging your props on the table. Place your vanishing cane, appearing cane, vanishing candle, appearing candle, 20th Century Silks, Color Changing Silks, etc., all in a row. Now perform them one by one in no particular order, purpose, sense, rhyme or reason.
Isn’t it exciting that what you do is boring?
If people complain they didn’t find meaning in your act, explain to them that your magic is so deeply mysterious it’s unfathomable.
5. Wash you hands of the responsibility to entertain. Put all the burden of entertaining on magic. Harbor the idea that magic alone can be entertaining despite your lack of skill to please your audience.
6. Give them the mumble jumbo. Talk to yourself instead of projecting your voice to the audience. Softly does it and without a microphone. Eat your words, mumble and forget to enunciate. Remember also to deliver your patter in monotone. That way you will hypnotize those few audience members who hear your voice.
7. Regale them with implausible patter. Tell people, “This is an ordinary candle,” when showing them a Fantasio Disappearing Candle.
A sure-fire technique to bore your audience to death is to describe everything you do, as if your audience were blind.
Say, “Ladies and gentlemen, I now place my lovely assistant inside this box (you place her inside the box), I close the doors of the box (you close the doors), and I now thrust these metal plates into her body (you do), and move the middle part of the box (you do as you say), and behold! the mid-section of my assistant’s body is now displaced in a zig-zag fashion!”
You say that and your audience will commit suicide en masse.
8. Perform half-rehearsed act. People are psychics. They know when you cannot do your act well, even if you don’t tell them. Even if you lie to them. Or even if you have an applause stance more elegant than Lance Burton’s.
They will deduce your incompetence from the way you handle your props—or the way you drop them. If, for example, in performing Dove from Burning Gloves you produce a crisply toasted dove, the audience knows that you killed the bird. Killing a bird is not nearly as entertaining as throwing tomatoes at the magician, something most audiences would rather do.
9. Don’t involve your audience. In building your program, don’t put provisions for audience interaction. During the show, ignore your audience completely. Don’t look them in the eyes, don’t talk to them, don’t make friends with them.
10. Perform run-on magic. Don’t pause or stop. Just keep performing your magic like a runaway train. Two hours, three hours, and until the wee hours of the morning—keep your magic going on like an Energizer battery. By then, you will have empty seats before you. Still don’t stop performing.