I’m sure you’ve heard that old line at some point in magic. It’s one of those perennial chestnuts that may sound wildly corny – but still gets a laugh. Though you may have heard it many times, I’d be willing to bet you’re not familiar with its origins.
The line was written by one of my favorite comedy magicians of the past – the late, great Sid Lorraine. Sid was a very funny magician and he created vast amounts of original magic and material. I call attention to this particular line because I remember hearing Sid explain that he wrote it back when Bingo was being introduced to churches as a means of fund raising. At the time, the idea of “gambling” being used by the church was considered controversial and was newsworthy. Sid explained that while the joke gets a chuckle today, it would get howls of laughter back then.
The difference? Timeliness.
The fact that the line played into a well known bit of news made the joke more relatable and the shared experience generated an amplified response. Watch any late night talk show monologue and you’ll quickly see that a joke or comedic reference to current affairs tends to get stronger reaction.
The same tactic can be used in magic. Stay on the lookout for news items that can connect to the magic you use. Premises and presentational hooks are everywhere if you’re willing to keep an eye out for them. Similar strong reactions can be had by adding or creating material that is event specific. Adding such material shows the audience that you’ve gone the extra mile to find something special “just for them” and helps to separate YOUR show from your competitors.
It doesn’t have to be stressful work. In fact; some connections are just sitting on the shelf waiting for you. A classic Insurance Policy for a medical association show, Jay Sankey’s Fine Print for a law firm’s holiday party, or Josh Jay’s Vegas Visit for a travel agency event - there are countless effects that can create a timely and welcomed connection with your audience.
It only takes a bit of research to find effects and material perfect for virtually any occasion. Try it once and the results will speak for themselves. I assure you it’s an effort worth making.