Monday, October 29, 2007

The Magic of Comedy

When I was a kid, I loved magic. I couldn't get enough of it. The only magic I saw, however, was on TV variety shows and the occasional and rare birthday party or school assembly. I decided that if I wanted to see more magic, I would have to learn it myself. So, I started to absorb books on and by Robert-Houdin (the father of modern magic), Joseph Dunniger (a magician who amassed a huge encyclopedia's worth of magic history) and Houdini (a lithograph of his European tour as "The Wold's Handcuff King & Prison Breaker" is in my office). Imagine my disappointment when I quickly discovered that actual magic had nothing to do with, well, magic. Most of it seemed to be showmanship and misdirection. At which I am both horrible. I soon faded in my interest in being a magician and went back to being a fan. I love to be amazed. Being a magician, or studying magic, ruins magic for you. Your focus shifts to amazing others.

I love comedy and am fascinated with the mechanisms of what make someone laugh. At what makes me laugh. Unlike magic, I can still crack myself up and relish when I make someone else laugh. It still seems to have a lot to do with showmanship and misdirection. Showmanship in making sure a joke or laugh line is delivered in just the right way - is it a throwaway line or should I break out the bicycle horn for punctuation? Misdirection in that it's important to lead the audience down one path and then quickly turn a corner to a place they weren't expecting.


I love Danse Macabre! We had a wonderful time at The Acorn Theater. Dave and Kim are exceptional hosts and if you have any opportunity to stop by there, please do. The cast did a fine job with the audience suggestion of "The Garden Grave." A very bizarre tale of a woman badgering her husband (with her "stubby finger of judgment") into making sure she won the blue ribbon for her vegetables. She wants to grow "corn as high as...corn!" The husband ensures her victory by eliminating the competition. In doing so, he releases a rival Celtic spirit who can only be killed by pure innocence. It was worth everything putting this show together to get to see Don Hall and James Honey as two virginal twin sisters both named Helen.


On Friday, I asked...

"A mother in Naples, Florida is currently on trial for child abuse because she forced her 13-year-old daughter to do what?"

50% picked "Finish her homework before dinner"
- A criminal offense, indeed! Especially when that Science Fair project on hydroponics took her a month to complete. She was forced to eat her own soiless green tomatoes.

20% chose "Wear unfashionable clothes"
-She was forced to wear grandpa's hand-me-down tan Sansa-belt slacks all through sixth grade!

No one went for "Clean her room before going to bed"
- Apparently, that sounded more horrible to me than anyone else.

30% got it right with "Shave her head and pierce her genitals"

According to the Associated Press, the mother called on a tattoo artist friend to shave the girl's head and do the piercing after realizing that the girl had been having sex, including with the mother's boyfriend. The idea was to make the girl unattractive to men and, with the piercing, make it uncomfortable to have sex. Just swinging in the dark, here, but if a turd like her boyfriend is willing to jump on the bones of a thirteen year-old, the shaved head and pierced labia probably aren't going to act as deterrents for him. I think he's the one that should have received the Yul Brenner and the Prince Albert.