When the topic of magician comes up. Most people think of the someone on a stage cutting a lady in half or pulling a rabbit out of a hat. Some may be reminded of David Copperfield or Penn and Teller and their Las Vegas shows. Although many magicians perform on stage, you are more likely to see a magician at a restaurant, banquet, festival or birthday party. The fact is that stage shows are expensive to produce and except for a few traveling productions, you are unlikely to see one in your home town. That brings us to today’s topic. If stage magic shows are rare, what other types of magic shows are out there?
In addition to stage magic, there are stand-up shows and close-up magic. This week I will explore at the topic of stand-up performances and next time I will delve into the world of close-up magic.
What is stand-up magic?
Stand-up magic was once referred to as parlor magic. As home parlors vanished and comedy clubs appeared, the name changed to reflect the times.
We will consider stand-up magic as any magic performance in which the magician performs for a group of more than ten people. Most of the time the audience is seated because stand-up shows may last from twenty minutes to over an hour. Audience size can vary from in the teens to several hundred. What makes it stand-up magic is that the performer does not perform on a formal theatrical stage. However, to be more visible to a larger number of people, he or she may be on an elevated platform, usually without a curtain. This format is similar to comedy clubs where stand-up comics perform, hence the name. Many magicians have had their careers start in these clubs, including Harry Anderson and Michael Finney.
Where might I see stand-up magic?
Although you still might see a stand-up magician in a comedy club, it is much more likely that you will find one at a mall, fair, festival, banquet, picnic, corporate event, birthday party or some other venue where live entertainment is provided. Many of the shows are outdoors and they offer an entertaining break between vendors and exhibits. Others are the main attraction provided by the host to make the event extra special. Magicians who perform stand-up magic usually present humorous, fun-filled shows that include audience participation. The shows are designed to attract and keep the interest of the crowd. One group of magicians, called street performers or buskers, earn their living by doing just that. They rely on passing the hat. But, in most other situations, the performer is paid by the venue to entertain their patrons.
The places for stand-up magic are only limited by your imagination. This kind of magic performance can be a cost-effective solution to a variety of entertainment needs. Next time you see a magician, he or she will most likely be performing stand-up magic.