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Do you know what is the most overused line of Hollywood movie dialogue?
Brace yourself and drum roll, please.
“You look like shit!”
That’s it. That’s the favorite line. Script writers, directors and actors must love this line so much they use it in movie after movie.
The video montage I post at the end of this article will show you how many times that line is used by, or told to, actors like Bruce Willis, Michelle Pfieffer, Will Smith, George Clooney, Susan Sarandon, Julia Roberts and hordes of other gorgeous movie stars who could never look like shit in real life.
Well, if meticulously scripted Hollywood movies churn out overused dialogues that remind viewers of the daily rigors of toilet visit, how well magicians’ patter fare?
Many magicians I know don’t script their patter. It may be safe to presume they unwittingly pepper their language with overused lines as often as Hollywood actors do.
The lines magicians mouth may not be in the level of Hollywood’s favorite lavatory phraseology, but they are equally pesky, persistent and numerous. The rule seems to be that magicians’ lines, when repetitive, are as funny, irritating and nauseating as Hollywood’s “You look like shit”.
I script my patter and practice delivering them. Still, in the heat of a live performance, I often improvise. That’s when overused favorite lines creep in.
The unfortunate part is that I’m unaware that I’m being profligate in the use of one or two favorite lines. I discover this lately only when I viewed a tape of my recent performance. I sank on my chair, dejected that after my efforts to create a sparkling patter, I keep saying “all right” and “okay” in parts of the performance where it’s not all right and okay to say “all right” and “okay”.
Of course, to remedy the situation, all I need to do is to weed out those pesky repetitious phrases from my patter. That will take some work but not impossible to do.
How about you? How many overused lines or favorite words you have unconsciously injected into your patter?
You probably will not know until you take stock of them. The only way to be certain is to video or audio record your next performance then listen with a critical ear to what you are saying.
Meantime, here’s the movie montage showing how Hollywood use, abuse and overuse a shitty line.
- The Virtue of Being Concise (innermagicclub.wordpress.com)
- Stocking Up on Emergency Stock Lines (innermagicclub.wordpress.com)
- The Way to Sparkling Patter (innermagicclub.wordpress.com)