Monday, April 19, 2010

Project 365 (109/365): Slo-Mo Duck

.:109/365: Slo-Mo Duck:.

David Copperfield is also quite capable of comedy himself, and this homage to the great Tommy Cooper is definitely living proof of that.

The Slo-Mo duck is a combination of two classic illusions then redone and packaged into one awesome little number. Copperfield was the first guy to piece the two together and come up with something as entertaining and as clever as this bit, and it was one of the acts I paid tribute to during last year’s “Bound and Gagged” show. Of course, I danced to “Nobody” that night instead of the song that Copperfield used, but “Chariots of Fire” for the second half is a given.

The reason this routine is very popular is because most laymen believe that a magician moves so fast that the eye can’t detect how things are being done. In repeating the act in slow motion and thereby “exposing” the secret, we do get a lot of laughs from the audience when the disembodied heckler convinces the magician to repeat the act (A no-no: as a general rule, magicians are not supposed to repeat their tricks to the same audience.), then insists that it be done in slow motion. That Copperfield obliges, makes the audience laugh, but still pulls out a head-scratching swerve at the end of the routine just simply makes it even better.

Personally, I feel that the best comedy routines are those that still have a "figure *that* out" kicker at the end of it. Copperfield’s version of “Over the Head” was exactly like that: everyone knew how the eggs were vanishing, of course (except for the assistant), but he absolutely slew everyone by producing a chicken from his bare hands at the end of the whole bit.

This is what makes Copperfield one of the best stage performers of all time: he has the gravitas to fluctuate from serious to humorous, and that’s also why Lance Burton is at a very similarly esteemed level as David happens to be. You would do well to take after these guys if you ever wanted to go old school with magic.

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