I was lucky enough to be able to stop at the West Side Inn in Hamburg, New York last Saturday. The food was terrific, but I went for another reason. On Saturday evenings they have magicians.
My friends and I had two magicians visit our table. Mike came first. He did sponge balls, the Professorís nightmare and two very different vanishes with a TT. It was a very entertaining set. My friends and their children loved it.
Bob came over later. He did some incredible coin sleights with a matrix routine followed by some impressive card manipulation. He finished with a chop cup bit climaxed with a lime and an orange production. He was great.
Mike was doing the simple tricks most magicians learn their first year. Bob did skillful manipulations that take years of practice in many cases. Mikeís bits moved along quickly from effect to effect. Bob built up move upon move, producing the same King of Clubs time and again with a myriad of different methods. As a magician, I enjoyed Bobís skill. My friends though preferred the simple tricks and goofy patter of Mike.
Lesson learned Ė it isnít technique and finally honed slights that audiences want as much as they want interesting patter and tricks they can follow. A magician appreciates seeing Bob do an excellent pass and double and triple lifts. Non-magicians are amazed that one sponge ball becomes two right in their hands.
When I first started doing magic, I saw the Linking Paper Clips Trick in every other magic book the library had. It looked simple and I never bothered with it. Then one day, I saw it performed on a childrenís magic video. Wow! I couldnít believe how amazing it looked when performed. Today, when I am called on to do an impromptu trick, I ask for 2 paperclips, get out a dollar bill and never fail to entertain with the amazing Linking Paper Clips.
I must admit, Iíve known for a long time that rope tricks, sponge balls, and my silk cylinder are always entertaining. Subtleties that fool magicians are wasted on an audience that just wants to enjoy some magic, a few jokes and maybe catch a glimpse of how a trick works.
My advice to you: Keep it simple, keep it fun and keep it moving.