Comedy at Calgary, Canada Convention

Wow, I was so fortunate to visit Calgary, Alberta in May for a convention where I delivered 4 workshops on entertaining and comedy writing. I also had the pleasure of being their banquet keynote entertainer.

Elmer and his wife were perfect hosts. After the convention they took my daughter and I to see the Rocky mountains.  We stayed at beautiful accommodations and even walked on the glacier.  We toured many beautiful woods and remote areas. When I go to teach or perform, I want to get out of the convention hotel and see the beauty of the area.

The attendees of the convention were so kind as they commented on the classes I presented.  Many said that it took them to the next level.  Rather than buying a magic trick or prop, reading the directions and then presenting it like everyone else they saw the value of tailoring the material to fit their style and personality.  It’s an obvious thing, but overlooked.

Most performers buy the material and present it thinking that it is ready to go out of the box.  I highly suggest that people take any moments to look at the item in different ways and to personalize it.

You can personalize material for your act by simply coloring it to fit your theme colors, You can personalize it on a deeper lever by adding original comedy to the prop.  In my class, Adding Comedy to Your Act, I show quite a few methods of doing this through improvisational comedy and comedy writing techniques.  I will release a DVD next year that covers many of these methods.

One simple method is: thinking, “What If?” An example is my Normondo the Great Act that won 1st place at the America’s Funniest Magician contest in Las Vegas in 2007.

This act first came together for the International Brotherhood of Magician’s banquet many years ago. It was such a hit that Normondo the Great was invited back to perform for the other magicians 12 times.  I had to keep coming up with new comedy bits and ideas. It was relatively easy to come up with new magic ideas for the act because the act had a strong character and premise. When you know where the act is going it is easier to develop comedy material.

In developing the act 15 years ago I thought, what if? What if a Las Vegas style magician was having a rough night and every trick failed in an unusual way.  I had a character, place, and problem or conflict.  He courageously continues his act even though it falls apart around him. The pride of this performer was so big that when he fell it was funnier. The bigger they are the funnier they fall.

Normando in Action - in Las Vegas

Think: What if? What if I was doing this trick for the first time and we just took it out of the box? What if I was a worm farmer and everything shoots out spring snakes? What if I’m the world’s oldest magician (ala Tim Conway in his classic sketches on the Carol Burnett show.)   Think of the prop or trick in front of you in this way and you will soon be coming up with novel and unique approaches to your act.

What if can be based on the character of the performer, on the effect or prop.

The Magic Key to Success: Think What if???  If you can dream it, it can become a reality. That is the secret of magic.

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