Magicians: Stop Doing This!

Laughing at Our Audiences

Unless there is a clearly understood reason, driven by either plot or character, to make fun of a spectator then we shouldn’t be doing it. It is cruel and unnecessary.

Insulting Our Audience’s Intelligence

Why do magician’s think that pretending there are sky hooks in the air is even remotely a compelling presentation? How come we get upset with our audiences when they don’t instantly accept that these sky hooks exist? Even children get annoyed by such presentations which treat them so condescendingly.

Creating Unnecessarily Awkward Situations

Would you enjoy it if a grown man (who you’ve never met) dragged you up on stage unexpectedly, stuck you in a silly outfit, stood behind you, and put his arms beneath yours so that your friends, peers and coworkers could have come cheap, yet undoubtedly uncomfortable, laughs? This lies somewhere between a lame high school comedy skit and full blown sexual harassment. The “audience magician” trick which I refer to here is perhaps the most despicable magic trick we magicians have forced upon our audiences and I am continually awestruck by the performers I’ve seen feature it.

Asking Patronizing Questions

Why do we grab “nothing” out of the air and then ask our audiences if they can see the “nothing?” Why do we introduce a foreign object such as sponge ball and then ask them if they know what it is? Why do we introduce a common object such as a silver dollar and ask them if they can identify it? Why do we ask them “did you see it go,” when we already know that there was nothing to see? These questions are filler and add nothing to our performances. Let’s purge them.

Doing “Experiments”

Your card trick isn’t an “experiment,” and saying that it is just makes you sound pompous and scientifically ignorant. Equally, we magicians shouldn’t ever offer to “try something” in professional situations- particularly onstage. Nobody is convinced of this weak presentation premise- so find a better one.

Lacking Intellectual Honesty

If you feature ESP as a premise in your show, and if you personally do not believe in ESP (or haven’t taken the time to research ESP), and after your performance the audience leaves with the impression that you do believe in ESP then you have failed as a performer. Don’t feature premises you know nothing about, and don’t ignore your own convictions about a subject for the sake of “presentation.” Have more intellectual honesty than that.

Know somebody who needs to hear this? Please pass it along to them!

Have your own insights? Please comment below!

Did you really read this far down? Thank you so much, you are awesome!

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