David Kaye’s Three Step process to Creating a Comedy Magic Routine

Silly Billy Entertaining at the Whitehouse

David Kaye is familiar to most magicians through his long running column in MAGIC magazine, the premeir Journal for Magicians. He is a wildly funny children’s entertainer from N.Y.C. who’s client list includes Bruce Springsteen, David Letterman and many other celebrities.  He was recently one of the magicians on the Celebrbra Magic series on VH-1  He is a good friend of mine and here are some exherts from an article I wrote about him for a magazine that is published in the US but is subscribed to by many around the world.

David uses a three-step process to build and perfect a comedy magic routine for kids.

The first step is to be open; to think, dream and imagine. At this point there must be a pen and paper to write ideas down right away, or it will be lost.

The second step is to actually sit down and write out the ideas and script. David makes time for this and really works at developing the idea into a full routine filled with jokes and bits of business.

The third step is to perform it a lot in front of the kids before it is added to the act.  David says, “I might expect a certain reaction and the new trick or routine doesn’t go to my expectations, I learn something as I perform it for the kids. I am aware of the feedback and I change and adapt it. The more it’s worked out in front of the kids the better.”

This third step involves asking the kids questions about the routine. “At the end of my show at a birthday party I’ll say, hey, would you like to see an extra show?” He will do the new routine, then around the cake and ice cream, he’ll ask the kids, questions, like a focus group. “I’ll find out what they expected, what they understood, what they liked about it. For example if I’m doing something with tools I need to understand what tools does a 4 year old recognize, do they know what it’s called. I do research to discover how old they need to be to understand the trick.”

During the rehearsal stage, David adapts the routine and makes it stronger. “We need to be ready to change things around, and improve it.

Much of David’s book, Seriously Silly, contains wonderful ways to add comedy to the act. In the book there is checklist that has 33 different techniques that he uses to create a routine.  “When I create a new routine I still go through the list. I see what techniques would work with that specific trick, it’s very helpful to discover more comedy to add fun to a routine.”

For example, a trick from the magic dealer is the Crystal Silk Tube, where three silks are blown out of a clear tube and they are tied together. There are items on list including “performer in trouble.” You could add a phase to the routine where you blow them out and they are not tied together, then wand breaks, or silk drops and you don’t see it. Another classic comedy technique is physical injury, like a cartoon, the comedian pretends he’s hurt. You bend down to pick up a dropped silk, then you hit your head with the tube.  You set yourself apart from the crowd when you build a new routine from dealer item.

It’s a fun creative exercise to take magic tricks and add original presentation.  We need make an effort to make it better or different than the way it comes packaged.  David says, “I don’t like to do anything that I didn’t write myself. I get much more pleasure from doing things that I created.”

Watch for Silly Billy on the new magic TV show on VH-1 called, Celebracadabra. The show premiers on the first day of the W.C.A. convention in April.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: