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Ask a magician to be funny and he’ll make faces, speak in a cartoon voice, jump up and down like a chimpanzee, or dress up like a drag queen.
Rarely will he deliver a set-up/punchline joke to double up people with laughter.
This state of the comedic mind of many magicians in the Philippines (and that includes me) explains why comedy magic pales in comparison with stand-up comedy. It’s simply that many comedy magicians have a different perspective on and understanding of what comedy is.
For them comedy is outrageous costumes, funny eyeglasses, cartoon demeanor, and jumping into women’s clothes.
Yes, a magician can make people laugh using these ploys, but they make me uncomfortable. Every time I see magicians dress like a drag queen, I feel like watching a clown act without the clown costume and make-up. Not only is the comedy crude they are also pathetic.
At least that’s how I view drag-queen acts and performers doing magic in outrageous costumes. These have been done so many times for ages I have become jaded by these types of comedy performance.
If you are still stuck in the drag-queen comedy mentality, I have good news for you. There are other ways to create comedy without over-the-top and overuse silliness. It’s called set-up/punchline jokes, situation comedy and character comedy.
These subjects are too long to discuss today, so I’ll write about them in the future. Also, let me make it clear that not only magicians employ drag-queen comedy. Even the Philippine movies and television seem to be enamored by them, judging from the stereotypical gay character they always cast to provide comic relief in the story. The funny gay character has been beaten to death in Philippine cinema, but he keeps resurrecting in more times than had Jesus.
Now, let me get back to today’s topic.
Not only magicians go the easy route of comedy (wearing women’s dresses), their acceptable minimum number of laughs-per-minute seems to be only two every five minutes. This number is way below the standard number of laughs in stand-up comedy or vent acts. I have seen magicians who, after getting two laughs from their breakaway wands, now nurture the delusion of being comedy magicians.
Lowering the number of laughs-per-minute is still not the easiest way to qualify as comedy magician. Believe it or not, there are people so humorless they can’t raise laughs with their breakaway wands, not in five minutes, not in ten, not even in their entire program.
I suspect these are the same people who run to online forums and claim that breakaway wands traumatize children. They then stridently warn you to shun its use.
Don’t listen to them. Their comedy is a hopeless case.
Listen to me instead, because my comedy sucks more.
That’s a punchline, and I didn’t get a reaction from you. See?
- The “Comedy Magician” Hype (innermagicclub.wordpress.com)
- Thank God Clueless Performers Are Not Always Magicians (innermagicclub.wordpress.com)
- Laughs Per Minute (innermagicclub.wordpress.com)