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That’s right. Expose a trick. Deliberately or not, it doesn’t matter. You’ll get laughs either way.
A singer who cracks his voice reaching for a high note will get whispered sympathy from the audience. A magician who flashes the IT will get snickers.
A dancer who misses his steps will get no amused reactions from the audience. A magician who misses the dove’s loop will get giggles from the gallery.
So you see, it’s easy to make people laugh. Just mess up a trick and expose the secret. You are guaranteed a respectable laugh. Why? Because most people find magic secrets a ludicrous way of bringing about the baffling effects that fooled them.
Comedy magicians and clowns know this truth by instinct. Many of them expose “giveaway” tricks to get laughs. In case you have not noticed it yet, the “Vanishing Water” and “Chinese Egg Bag” have been routinely exposed for laughs in many comedy and clown magic shows.
Carl “The Great” Ballantine exposed the thread of a floating basket lid in his farcical “How Else?” act. He always got a good laugh from it.
This is not to say that you should expose your tricks to make your audience laugh. Rather this is just an observation of a hard fact of magic life. That bumbling, fumbling magicians can make people laugh by exposing the secrets of their tricks.
Rummage your memories for those days when you fumbled in a performance. Think back of the occasions when you flashed a gimmick, dropped the dye tube, or prematurely revealed a production load. How did people react?
Why, they laughed, of course. Sometimes they laugh louder at your mistakes than at your most well-researched and practiced jokes.
The laughter, though, is not one of entertainment. Rather it is of derision. The worst kind of laughter, if you asked me. If you get just one of these scornful laughs in a show, I’m sure you will entertain thoughts of suicide.
So this post is not a lesson on how to make people laugh. Rather it is a lesson on how NOT to make them laugh at you.
To avoid unplanned comedy, practice, practice, practice your act.
As to deliberate exposures, if you entertain thoughts of going in that direction, don’t forget to wear a mask. Exposing tricks that other magicians use to earn a living is not only shameful. It can also be dangerous.
The mask is there for a reason.
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