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Humor experts say that the best type of humor is the one where the joke is on us. Meaning it is at our expense. It makes us laugh at ourselves instead of at our neighbors.
I don’t know if the humor experts are right, but I agree with their observation. It sounds right, and I can feel it in my gut.
So today, let us laugh at ourselves—at our being magicians.
But first, watch this video and then listen as I tell you why magicians are funny.
A number of magicians who have watched this video can’t tell whether this is real or staged. Like CSI detectives, they picked the video for evidence and scavenged for tell-tale signs of fakery. Only after applying some Sherlock-Holmsenian deduction techniques (and maybe some cold reading?) did a few of them receive an epiphany.
“It’s fake!” one said, and then another. Not long after, the rest of them knowingly nodded their heads in agreement, like Yoda and the Jedis huddled in a council.
Of course, it is fake. It is magic. Haven’t I told you for the nth time already (I’m sick of repeating myself) that magic is an illusion? Being an illusion, it follows that it is not real. It is just a pretend. What you see is just a verisimilitude of life displaying anomalies of physics and nature.
Now what’s so funny about it is that, instead of enjoying the magic, some magicians exhibit utter inability to appreciate it. They love to perform magic, but many can’t appreciate magic done by other performers. Instead of allowing themselves to be amazed by the video, and admit they have been fooled, they picked on the performance like forensic experts on a crime scene to prove the performer is guilty of an unknown crime.
Some even called the performance a sick joke.
Why sick? Because it fools not only the lay audience but also magicians?
Those who categorize the performance as a sick joke may even be the same performers who love to hand a breakaway wand to a kid, or set-up a spring snake for an old lady, or ask a gullible audience member to sit on an electric chair.
If you ask the kid, lady and gullible audience member their opinion, what the magicians routinely do to them could qualify as sick jokes too. But very few magicians will see it that way—because the joke is not on them, and the tricks don’t fool them.
You might have heard of the much-bandied-about saying, “It’s nice to be fooled”, which some magicians tell their audiences with a glitter in their eye. Well, it seems to me some magicians find it nice to fool people if they are the ones fooling, but not when they are the ones being fooled.
For years, magicians have been cutting ladies in half, chopping off heads of audience members with large menacing guillotines, cremating assistants on stage, buzz sawing, impaling, and subjecting them to all sorts of torture.
No magicians complained these were sick jokes…until now.
In the video I showed above, there’s an uproar from some magic performers who bristle about the performance being in poor taste. However, when Criss Angel cut a woman in half in a park, no magician raised a howl of protest. Not even a squeak—at least none that I’m aware of.
Both performances can be categorized as sick jokes, but why does the first video upset some magicians while the second video draws silence from them?
Here’s my theory: the second video is performed to fool the lay audience. The second video is performed to fool everybody, the lay audience and magicians alike.
As I said in the beginning of this article, magicians are funny. Many of them (not all, but in alarming number) have lost their ability to appreciate magic performed by other magicians. Instead of appreciating a good magic trick, they dissect it to learn its inner working.
If you ask a watch repairman the time, and he proceeds to break open his watch, looks at the gears, fiddles with the dial, puzzles over its mechanism and, in the end, never gets to tell you the time, he will look funny, right?
Well, that’s how funny some magicians are when watching a magic trick. Instead of enjoying the performance, they sink into a deep contemplative state, as they speculate the method and figure out the behind-the-scene moves. They are looking at the watch’s gears, not at the time. As a result, many fail to appreciate the wonder that the trick creates for them.
Don’t be like them. When watching magic as member of the audience, give your analytical mind a rest. Suspend your disbelief like everyone else does and enjoy the magic.
- The Angel Angle (ramonalouisewheeler.wordpress.com)
- The Role of Imagination in Magic (imaginationnow.wordpress.com)
- Nothing’s Impossible (psikita.wordpress.com)