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Old 20th March 2009, 03:02 PM   #1
DrugFreeAlcoholic
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Witty Responses to Common Statements

After doing magic for a long time, I'm running into these statements from people quite often, and I'd like to have witty responses to them. I also posted a few statements which I do have witty responses to (and I always use them too)

Also, if you have common statements or situations that you encounter and have or want a witty response to it, please post it here and hopefully other magicans (or non-magicans) will help. Thanks!



How did you do that?
Very well, I thought.

How did you do that?
Can you keep a secret?
Yeah.
So can I.

(When you drop a card) That's all part of the act! (Got it from Bill Malone)

(When you fail a trick) That's proof magic or ESP doesn't exist. [Not sure if this is a good one]

Have you seen The Prestiege/The Illusionist?
[I need a witty response for this one]. So far I've been saying "Yeah... now stop asking me!" in a jocular tone.

I wouldn't wanna play cards with you.
[I need a witty response for this one].

Do another trick!
[I'd like to, but by complying with this request, it seems that it's not you who's in charge. Esp. if they tell you to do a trick for a friend who just arrived. I need a way to reframe it so I still hold the leadership position.]

(When walking into a place where people know you as "the magic guy") Hey, it's the magic guy!
[Need an entertaining, witty response to this one too.]

(After springing cards, doing Daryl's hot shot, card vanish, etc) How long did it take you to do that?
[Also don't have a witty response for this one.]

Do that again!
I charge for the 2nd time. OR Hey I'm not free, you know.

My brother/friend/dad is a magican too.
[I encounter this every now and then. Need a cool response for it.

Last edited by DrugFreeAlcoholic; 20th March 2009 at 03:04 PM.
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Old 20th March 2009, 06:34 PM   #2
NoZed Avenger
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Originally Posted by DrugFreeAlcoholic View Post
Hey, it's the magic guy!
Hey, now. You can't believe *everything* my ex-girlfriends say.

. . .that one's true, though.
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Old 21st March 2009, 08:12 AM   #3
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Some of my general opinions on witty responses (not necessarily all directed at you, but your post raises the issue):

Not all common statements require a witty response, particularly if you're not really a witty person. A lot of common questions are serious questions that deserve an real answer (which can sometimes be witty at the same time- or you can give a witty answer and immediately follow up with a serious one). A lot of magicians focus so much on having a snappy comeback that they come across as egotistical butts when the person asking the question is really trying to make conversation or is asking a real question that they're curious about.

When someone asks a question like "how did you do that", they might like a real answer but they obviously don't expect one. But for other questions like "Have you seen The Prestiege/The Illusionist?", or "how long have you been doing magic" why not just answer "yes, what did you think of them?" (unless the same person keeps asking the same question).

Originally Posted by DrugFreeAlcoholic View Post
(When you drop a card)
"Good, gravity is still working."

Originally Posted by DrugFreeAlcoholic View Post
(When you fail a trick)
"That really sucks, doesn't it."

"Guess that one still needs some more practice."

"Hey, if they all worked I'd be David Copperfield (or David Blaine, Criss Angel, etc)"

"Don't worry, if I was getting paid to perform I'd have done that right."

Originally Posted by DrugFreeAlcoholic View Post
Have you seen The Prestiege/The Illusionist?
"Yes, have you? What did you think of them."

Originally Posted by DrugFreeAlcoholic View Post
I wouldn't wanna play cards with you.
"I don't even like to play cards with me."

"I can't play cards in Las Vegas either- they don't like poor people."

Originally Posted by DrugFreeAlcoholic View Post
Do another trick!
[I'd like to, but by complying with this request, it seems that it's not you who's in charge. Esp. if they tell you to do a trick for a friend who just arrived. I need a way to reframe it so I still hold the leadership position.]
You might be confusing "being in control" with "being in charge" or "holding the leadership position". You don't want to leave the impression that you're a trained monkey that does tricks on demand, but a lot of the time people ask this because they like your magic, or the last trick you did gave them what Eugene Burger would call an "experience in magic" and they want to experience it again. In some instances a witty comment could damage the moment of astonishment. But if you feel a witty comment is appropriate you could try:

"Trick? TRICK! What do you mean trick? I do miracles, I create astonishment.... Okay, let me show you a trick."

Originally Posted by DrugFreeAlcoholic View Post
(When walking into a place where people know you as "the magic guy") Hey, it's the magic guy!
For the right person, "hey, it's the drunk guy!".

Originally Posted by DrugFreeAlcoholic View Post
(After springing cards, doing Daryl's hot shot, card vanish, etc) How long did it take you to do that?
"About 2 seconds- sometimes I do it faster." I would follow this with a real answer (which doesn't necessarily mean the truth)- they're probably impressed and really wonder how long it took you to learn it.

Originally Posted by DrugFreeAlcoholic View Post
My brother/friend/dad is a magican too.
"Really? I'll bet he's (or she's) better than me." This is a win-win answer. If they're not better than you then you look humble. If they are better than you then you don't look like your ego is out of control.
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Old 21st March 2009, 03:58 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Bob Klase View Post
You might be confusing "being in control" with "being in charge" or "holding the leadership position". You don't want to leave the impression that you're a trained monkey that does tricks on demand
The way I worded it was wrong, but not being the monkey that does tricks on demand is exactly what I was trying to avoid every time. I didn't want to seem like I was eagar to please them or that I really wanted and needed to please them.

Maybe I'll also try "only if you buy me a drink first" if I feel they'll be compliant.
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Old 21st March 2009, 06:54 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by DrugFreeAlcoholic View Post
Maybe I'll also try "only if you buy me a drink first" if I feel they'll be compliant.
That could work, but it could sound a little like the town drunk ("will do tricks for booze"). I think I'd might go with something like "maybe later, I need to get a drink first... are you buying". That sounds (at least to me) less like you're willing to work for a drink and more like promising to do a trick later while offering them the opportunity to buy you a drink. Of course if they say 'no' when you ask if they're buying then you've committed to do magic later anyway, but I wouldn't think that's a big problem and you've maintained control.
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Old 23rd March 2009, 03:31 PM   #6
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Here's a classic witty response to hecklers that I heard from Kathy Griffin. This past New Year's Eve I was sitting next to my dad in a hospital room taking in the New Year watching the ball drop in NYC. I was watching CNN and Anderson Cooper and Griffin were hosting train wreck TV on CNN. The one joke show was how inappropriate Kathy Griffin could get before blowing Cooper's proffesional persona. Cooper never did lose his cool but once when the live show came back from commercial we saw Cooper sitting in his chair and Griffin's butt because she was yelling over the back of the small set in Time's Square yelling at some of the the revelers... "Hey, do I go to where you work and knock the d**k out of your mouth?"

She is classy when dealing with hecklers and and you can't copyright witty statements. Just use with care at children's shows
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Old 23rd March 2009, 09:43 PM   #7
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Old 11th April 2009, 08:37 AM   #8
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(When you fail a trick) May we have a moment of silence for the trick that just died


Do another trick!
I'm sorry, I don't do requests.


(After springing cards, doing Daryl's hot shot, card vanish, etc) How long did it take you to do that?
A couple of hours of practice......Every day for about 8 years.
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Old 14th April 2009, 01:23 PM   #9
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That Kathy Griffen heckler takedown has been used in comedy clubs for decades. It's sort of hackish. There's also, for a woman: "I don't go where you work, stand at the end of the bed, and tell you how it's done." For younger men you can set up the same joke, but with McDonald's and a mop.

I prefer: "If I wanted an **** from you I'd squeeze your head."

Anyway, I had been compiling a quite-long file filled with one-liners. I wish I would consult it more often to keep myself sharp. (David Spade allegedly flips through flash cards before going out on stage in order to sound witty when something unscripted happens).

Unfortunately, I could not find the most organized up-to-date version. But here's some of the things I've managed to glean for the situations mentioned.

This deals almost entirely with playing cards. The lines vary considerably in terms of quality:

Originally Posted by DrugFreeAlcoholic View Post
How did you do that?
Very well, I thought.
Pete McCabe has cautioned against using that line. Screw him.

I prefer to say "Extremely well." Or: "slightly wrong, but no one noticed," which sounds humble, but could be taken as a little more dickish.

Then there's: "Judging by your response, quite well."

Also: "I'm just a vessel."

"Magnets."

Quote:
(When you drop a card)
"Everyone makes mistakes. My mother did." (Mark Lewis, I believe)

"I mask my skill with sloppiness."

"This is called 'misdirection.'"

"A deserter!" is one Simon Lovell uses. I don't care for it.

Quote:
(When you fail a trick)
"See, I will often imitate people who TRY to do what I do..."

"Um, have I shown you the trick where [describe the previous trick you just performed]."

Not one I use, but from Darwin Ortiz, specifically if you find the wrong card: "Well, at least the backs match."

Quote:
Have you seen The Prestiege/The Illusionist?
I don't get asked this much. People do ramble on about David Blaine and Criss Angel though. My responses here are anti-social. I take no interest in what they're saying -- "bah" them, really -- and try to move on. I just have a low tolerance for this kind of thing.

Bob's advice is best. I did actually stumble across a Dale Carnegie quote that, much as I hate it, seems to make sense. He's the author of the book business majors and Jehovah's Witnesses read: How to Win Friends and Influence People. He says the way to make friends is not to attract them to you with some ostentatious talent (such as, I dunno, sleight of hand), but to take an interest in them first, ask questions.

And if you listen to people's encounters with celebrities, the most positive responses come from exactly this type of behavior: "She said she loved my dress, and asked me where I bought it." This is called being down to earth (or so I've been told).

Quote:
I wouldn't wanna play cards with you.
"I've actually been banned from two casinos. One of them for gambling." (I think this is a Richard Osterlind line, and can only remember personally using it once, for one person. I dead panned it, and he asked, "So what casinos were you banned from?" Ugh.)

Quote:
Do another trick!
I will usually say either "OK" or "not right now."

"'Trick?' I don't do 'tricks'! Tricks are what whores do for money and cocaine." (Arrested Development)

Quote:
(When walking into a place where people know you as "the magic guy") Hey, it's the magic guy!
Oh, great.

(I do like that ex-girlfriends line from above.)

Quote:
(After springing cards, doing Daryl's hot shot, card vanish, etc) How long did it take you to do that?
Pre-empt it. A line I've heard from Darwin Ortiz: "Did you know all the practice I've put I could have been a doctor?" After the laugh, stage whisper: "he said modestly."

Also Darwin Ortiz: "This can be done by any 10 year-old... with thirty years of practice."

Quote:
Do that again!
I ignore this sort of request and move on. I recommend only addressing it if people insist.

Greg Wilson says (with enthusiasm) "You wanna see that again?"
Crowd: "Yeah!"
Wilson: "Bummer."

"Well, like most men, I have to wait twenty minutes before I attempt it again."

"I'll consider that a compliment. Thank you."

"Magic is a little like sex. It's always more special the first time."

"I don't do re-runs."

"It's against the rules of my cult."

Quote:
My brother/friend/dad is a magican too.
"Wow, that is sooooo interesting."

Well, that's what I want to say. What I really do is take an interest in what they're saying.

Quote:
Can you make my wife disappear?
Sorry sir, but even magic has weight limits.
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Old 14th April 2009, 04:24 PM   #10
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(When you fail a trick) That's proof magic or ESP doesn't exist.
I see sir/madam has their own powers of magic supression. Is sir/madam completely in league wih the devil?

Later we'll both look back on this and laugh. When I control your mind.

Have you seen The Prestiege/The Illusionist?
Have you seen Highlander? Sean Connery playing an Egyptian dressed as an Elizabethan with a Spanish name speaking with a Scottish accent asking a Frenchman playing a Scot "What is a Haggis?"
Now that's suspension of disbelief.

Yes I have. Have you seen Morons who shout during performances? I think you'd love it.

I wouldn't wanna play cards with you.
The offer wasn't on the table.

Maybe you would do well, I haven't played Snap in years.

That's such a shame. I shall cancel our trip to Monte Carlo.


Do another trick!
What are you, my pimp?

Sir when people order a second Big Mac from you, surely they at least usually add the word 'Please'?

(When walking into a place where people know you as "the magic guy") Hey, it's the magic guy!
(Hard to beat the gorlfriends line)

(After springing cards, doing Daryl's hot shot, card vanish, etc) How long did it take you to do that?
You mean you can't?

Do that again!
Sir is right to request repetition. I understand that was the exact same cry that went up from the crowd after Malcolm X made his "I have a dream" speech

My brother/friend/dad is a magican too.
How ironic! My brother/friend/dad is an unemployed, unattractive heckler too.
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Old 14th April 2009, 04:43 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Ashles View Post

Do that again!
Sir is right to request repetition. I understand that was the exact same cry that went up from the crowd after Malcolm X made his "I have a dream" speech
I'm not sure if you meant to say Martin Luther King or maybe I'm missing the humor in attributing the 'I have a dream' speech to Malcolm X.
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Old 15th April 2009, 05:54 PM   #12
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Do it again!

The first time is magic, the second time a puzzle...
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Old 15th April 2009, 09:01 PM   #13
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Hi

"I wouldn't wanna play cards with you.
[I need a witty response for this one]."

"Neither would I! Houdini said that a stage magician shouldn't play cards: 'If you win, you cheated. If you lose, you're a terrible magician.'"

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Old 16th April 2009, 04:10 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by DrugFreeAlcoholic View Post
Have you seen The Prestiege/The Illusionist?
[I need a witty response for this one]. So far I've been saying "Yeah... now stop asking me!" in a jocular tone.
"I thought I did, but it was an illusion!"
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Old 16th April 2009, 08:15 AM   #15
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Quote:
Have you seen The Prestiege/The Illusionist?

Are you kidding? I have a 5 year old and a nine year old. The only movies I get to see have either puppets or dancing animals.

I keep telling them "If an animal is dancing, it means: RABIES. But do they listen?"
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Old 17th April 2009, 06:33 AM   #16
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Speaking of Prestige and Illusionist... did anyone else think those movies absolutely sucked the big one?
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Old 17th April 2009, 12:33 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Cain View Post
That Kathy Griffen heckler takedown has been used in comedy clubs for decades.
I'll admit I knew that but I was surprised to hear it on CNN.

I appreciated the posts from you and others. Many of them are more aggressive then I am usually comfortable using in real life -- but I will remember some of these and use them if someone deserves an aggressive reply.
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Old 17th April 2009, 12:43 PM   #18
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"My father/uncle/brother is a magician, too."

Really? Can you get him to show me how to do [trick you failed at earlier]? I can never get the elephant to appear on cue...
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Old 17th April 2009, 01:03 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by thaiboxerken View Post
Speaking of Prestige and Illusionist... did anyone else think those movies absolutely sucked the big one?
Really? I liked The Illusionist.
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Old 17th April 2009, 08:07 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Lonewulf View Post
Really? I liked The Illusionist.

Strange, I liked The Prestige better. I'd read the book a couple years earlier so I didn't have so much trouble following the plot, but I could see where many others didn't really know what was going on.
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Old 17th April 2009, 08:32 PM   #21
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I didn't see The Prestige at all, so I dunno?
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Old 27th April 2009, 06:08 PM   #22
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When I'm juggling:

"How long have you been juggling?"

(look at my watch)

"Oh, about 4 and a half minutes."
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Old 28th April 2009, 05:46 AM   #23
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(In response to a persistent heckler)

"I see the [name of local newspaper] theatre critic is here."
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Old 28th April 2009, 06:12 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by DrugFreeAlcoholic View Post
(When you drop a card) That's all part of the act! (Got it from Bill Malone)

(When you fail a trick) That's proof magic or ESP doesn't exist. [Not sure if this is a good one]
That's okay. If it'd work every time nobody would realize how difficult it is.

Quote:
I wouldn't wanna play cards with you.
[I need a witty response for this one].
Nobody does. I'd be at the tables in Vegas instead of doing this show.
(Works better if you have a show in Vegas, I guess...)

Quote:
Do another trick!
[I'd like to, but by complying with this request, it seems that it's not you who's in charge. Esp. if they tell you to do a trick for a friend who just arrived. I need a way to reframe it so I still hold the leadership position.]
Tell them you're not a circus animal and that you can't be ordered around. Tell them you will do the same trick again (or one as before) and show a variation of that trick with a different end/effect?

Quote:
(When walking into a place where people know you as "the magic guy") Hey, it's the magic guy!
[Need an entertaining, witty response to this one too.]
That's branding, eh? By the way, the name's Mike.

Quote:
(After springing cards, doing Daryl's hot shot, card vanish, etc) How long did it take you to do that?
[Also don't have a witty response for this one.]
Do they ask you how long it took you to do that, or how long it took you to learn that?

If the second,
A lot longer than I want you to think it did.

(I've seen Richard Wiseman in London letting a coin dissapear from his hand. He explained along the lines "So, you spend 6 week practising how to move your left hand like this, and then another 6 weeks practising how to withdraw your right hand like that. - And unless you live a really, really pathetic existence, those won't be the 2 most exciting months of your life.")

Do that again!
I charge for the 2nd time. OR Hey I'm not free, you know.

My brother/friend/dad is a magican too.
[I encounter this every now and then. Need a cool response for it.[/quote]
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Old 28th April 2009, 06:17 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by thaiboxerken View Post
Speaking of Prestige and Illusionist... did anyone else think those movies absolutely sucked the big one?
I've just seen Prestige on the telly and yes, it did.

Why, why, why did they have to introduce real magic in the end and spoil it all?
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Old 28th April 2009, 06:23 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by DrugFreeAlcoholic View Post
My brother/friend/dad is a magican too.
[I encounter this every now and then. Need a cool response for it.
I'm sorry, but those are all the tricks I've got. If you think it's boring try not to ruin it for everybody else. (That's my job!)
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Old 29th April 2009, 04:15 AM   #27
RobertlewisIR
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I've used witty remarks several times, but always felt somewhat concerned that in doing so, I risk alienating my audience. An idea I've been playing with lately is to work their cliched comment into a magical effect. It's an idea based on a trick by Eric Lecleric, and I've modified it to fit my own style, but basically it ends with the spectator reading a prediction such as "The guy who says he wouldn't want to play cards with me will select the seven of hearts."

It answers the comment without alienating anyone and adds an extra little "bang" to the effect.
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Old 30th April 2009, 09:15 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by DrugFreeAlcoholic View Post
(When you fail a trick) That's proof magic or ESP doesn't exist. [Not sure if this is a good one]
That one's hilarious. I'm stealing it.

When someone asks me how I did a trick, I usually ask how they thought I did it. Whatever they say, I tell them they're exactly right. Unless it's a kid, then I say "magic." They usually buy that.

If someone asks me a question I don't have a snappy answer to, my go-to response is, "I made you say that. Using magic." Then make some corny exaggerated Jeff McBride-style hand gesture.
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I always wondered if those WWJD bracelets worked, so I bought one. Well later, I was on a plane and this little kid was kicking my seat repeatedly, while his sister sang along with her walkman and their mother just sat there. I almost turned around and went off, and then I caught sight of my bracelet. What would Jesus do? So I lit them on fire and sent them all to Hell.
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Last edited by MikeSun5; 30th April 2009 at 09:20 PM. Reason: quote
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Old 6th May 2009, 08:42 PM   #29
Robert Oz
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Originally Posted by DrugFreeAlcoholic View Post
How did you do that?

It's all done with mirrors.


Originally Posted by DrugFreeAlcoholic View Post
Do another trick! [or] Do that again!

I would, but my powers are drained.
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Old 7th May 2009, 01:02 AM   #30
themagicwand
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None of you guys are professional magicians, right?
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Old 7th May 2009, 05:37 AM   #31
Bob Klase
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Originally Posted by themagicwand View Post
None of you guys are professional magicians, right?
Depends on what you consider "professional".
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Old 20th May 2009, 11:16 PM   #32
MikeSun5
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Originally Posted by themagicwand View Post
None of you guys are professional magicians, right?
every. single. one of us.

I do this bit where I expose a whole bunch of tricks. $500 per hour.
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I always wondered if those WWJD bracelets worked, so I bought one. Well later, I was on a plane and this little kid was kicking my seat repeatedly, while his sister sang along with her walkman and their mother just sat there. I almost turned around and went off, and then I caught sight of my bracelet. What would Jesus do? So I lit them on fire and sent them all to Hell.
--Daniel Tosh
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Old 22nd May 2009, 04:48 PM   #33
vIQleS
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Originally Posted by DrugFreeAlcoholic View Post

How did you do that?
"I have no idea - it's probably quantum..."

or just (for skeptics, or woos who know you're a skeptic):

"It's quantum"

Originally Posted by DrugFreeAlcoholic View Post
Have you seen The Prestiege/The Illusionist?
"Yeah - have you seen Forrest Gump?" (I just thought of this. I don't know if anyone would get it...)

Originally Posted by DrugFreeAlcoholic View Post
I wouldn't wanna play cards with you.
I once made a comment like this to my friends and they said to me - "yeah, but if you knew any cool tricks re cheating with cards you'd have shown us already..."

Originally Posted by DrugFreeAlcoholic View Post
(When walking into a place where people know you as "the magic guy") Hey, it's the magic guy!
"Hey - it's the retard..." (too harsh?)

Originally Posted by DrugFreeAlcoholic View Post
(After springing cards, doing Daryl's hot shot, card vanish, etc) How long did it take you to do that?
"You don't want to know... "

"you know how normal people have girlfriends..."

Originally Posted by DrugFreeAlcoholic View Post
Do that again!
"I don't feel strong tonight..."
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Old 22nd May 2009, 05:00 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by Bob Klase View Post
"Trick? TRICK! What do you mean trick? I do miracles, I create astonishment.... Okay, let me show you a trick."
http://threadpit.com/store/product.p...0&cat=0&page=1
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Old 6th August 2009, 07:18 PM   #35
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Quote:
Can you make my wife disappear?
Sorry sir, but even magic has weight limits.

This is by far the most common one I hear, but it's not always the wife. Sometimes its sister, cousin, husband, child, etc. I like your response because it's all-purpose, and I don't really even have to see the person they're talking about!
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Old 13th August 2009, 09:48 AM   #36
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Originally Posted by DrugFreeAlcoholic View Post
Have you seen The Prestiege/The Illusionist?
[I need a witty response for this one]. So far I've been saying "Yeah... now stop asking me!" in a jocular tone.
Hey, I'm glad you think I get paid enough for doing this to be able to take a night off at the movies.


Originally Posted by DrugFreeAlcoholic View Post
I wouldn't wanna play cards with you.
[I need a witty response for this one].
(Pull out a replica handgun and say) How about Russian Roulette?
Would work for someone like Amazing Johnathan

Originally Posted by DrugFreeAlcoholic View Post
Do another trick!
[I'd like to, but by complying with this request, it seems that it's not you who's in charge. Esp. if they tell you to do a trick for a friend who just arrived. I need a way to reframe it so I still hold the leadership position.]
How's about instead of that I involve you in a scientific experiment to determine the value of a randomly generated, printed object?... you know... pick a card!

Also the "Make my wife disappear" (which really isn't a nice thing to even joke about) can still be rescued with the response:
Yeah sure, I'll ask her to go out with me... they usually disappear quite quickly after that.
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Old 14th August 2009, 12:46 PM   #37
Merko
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Originally Posted by Rasmus View Post
Why, why, why did they have to introduce real magic in the end and spoil it all?
It's not magic, it's technology. Science fiction, you know. And they didn't introduce it in the end, it's pretty central to the story.

Now, I personally prefer the very 'hard' science fiction (where everything is completely believable) and I also was not too attracted by this element, but again, it is central to the story, and if you can muster at least a little suspension of disbelief, it definitely adds a lot.

As for the Illusionist, I enjoyed it as well, but I actually found it harder to 'believe' in. In the Prestige, it's just basically one piece of technology that you have to accept, but in the Illusionist there's that same feeling I get from some 'paranoia' movies. It's just not believable that anyone would be able to foresee everything so many steps in advance.
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