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Scripted Insanity Volume 1 Review

Official Review

September 24th, 2006 8:37pm
Reviewed by Bryce Kuhlman
Note: I found it easier to write a review of the DVD set, not each particular volume. The review below is the same for other volume.

The funny thing about comedy is that it's a very personal thing. Some people like Monty Python. Others can't stand British humor, but will bust a gut listening to Jeff Foxworthy. As Eugene Burger might say, "there are many rooms in the house of comedy."

When I started working restaurants at the age of 15, I was mixing magic with what I considered to be comedy. It was the type of humor I learned from the magic club guys. It was all of the standard lines, the corny gags, and just a bit of blue humor thrown in for shock value. There were a lot of "groaners".

In my early twenties, my magic took a very serious note. It was probably all of those years of Mystery School. Now that I'm into my next decade, I've been working more humor into my routines. I requested Scripted Insanity for review because I thought it might help me in my own quest.

Sometimes life throws us a curve ball. We're searching for something and end up getting something completely unexpected. That's what happened with these videos.

I found Larry's style of comedy to be very similar to what I was doing as a teenager. There were a lot of groaners, bad jokes, overused lines, and inappropriate material. Much of it was condescending to the audience or to the performer.

So I didn't learn anything about comedy, other than what I don't want to be doing. If that's your style, and it is for many magicians, then I can't fault you. I can only say that it's not a performing style that I want to adapt.

But the videos were certainly not without their lessons. Larry certainly thinks about his magic. He tried to justify everything that might seem a bit "hokey". He's writing scripts. If I mentally cut the jokes, I find them to be very interesting scripts.

The other thing I really enjoyed was Larry's sense of choreography. He understands that a close-up performer is not just a pair of hands. He uses his body. His movements are typically motivated and graceful. I actually thought to mute the sound at one point; I enjoyed the performances even more.

There is some good magic here. The routines are visually interesting and well-constructed. As I mentioned above, Larry obviously thinks about what he's doing and how it will be perceived by the audience.

The product description gives an accurate account of the material on these DVDs. It's very straightforward, deceptive, commercial magic. I was fooled more than once by the performances on these DVDs.

Larry also includes some "discussion" segments. The first is a very nice personal introduction. It really gives you a sense of what he's up to. It made me really want to want the rest of the DVD.

The other three segments are on "scripting", "rehearsal" and "motivation". If you're a fan of authors such as Eugene Burger, Tommy Wonder and Juan Tamariz, then you won't find anything new here. That's not to say it's without value. I'm guessing there will be lots of magicians who'll buy these DVDs and be introduced to these subjects for the first time. I think that's wonderful! There may not be any ground-breaking ideas, but it's solid information that every magician should be considering.

Available at your favorite Murphy’s Magic dealer

Product info for Scripted Insanity Volume 1

Author: Larry Davidson
Average Rating:  (1)
Retail Price: $34.95
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Manufacturer's Description:

Mind Boggling Comedy Magic With A Plan!

Larry Davidson has been refining his performances for over 30 years. "Scripted Insanity" documents his approach to professional performance. Larry is a true type "A" personality. He has spent thousands of hours developing his material to a very high level of perfection in every aspect of live performance.

This knowledge is being passed on to you. Larry covers in detail the three major tools every performer needs to refine their material to a true professional performance level. Scripting -- Motivation -- Rehearsal.

Both Volume 1 & 2 are shot before a live audience that roars their approval. The routines are not pipe dreams but polished performance pieces that use practical methods combined with outstanding presentations. No doubt that you'll soon be adding Larry's routines into your repertoire!

While the performances are truly outstanding, Larry's explanations go into incredible detail covering all of the aspects of his work. Usually you just get a glossed over bare bones description of how to do "IT". Larry not only tells you how to do it, but clearly explains WHY he decided to do it the way he does. It's obvious that he's spent zillions of hours ironing out the tiniest detail in his working repertoire. You'll also be astonished to see why Larry has chosen to say not only what he says but why he says it. Combine this with his touches, body motions and in general all the little things that are normally left out and you'll soon see why this DVD set is really a master class.

Half & Hole - This eye-popping transposition of a half dollar and a Chinese coin with a hole through it is a real worker's dream. Non-stop action with visuals that will leave them with open jaws!

Big Mystery - This is Larry's handling of John Kennedy's superb marketed effect "The Mystery Box". Many professionals have asked permission to perform this routine, but until now Larry has selfishly kept it to himself. It's the bomb -- quick, explosive and memorable!

Money In their Hand - This is Larry's handling of Derek Dingles "Silver Quick". It's a real workhorse for table-hoppers. It happens in the spectator's hands and is always ready to go. Dynamite in a very small package!

808 - Why is it called "808"? Because it's Larry's favorite card routine and the classic Bike decks have "808" on the Joker. The routine has three phases that just keep getting stronger. Cards are not chosen but just named and the revelations are simply staggering!

Square Dance - This has been in Larry's repertoire for more than 30 years. It's an anytime, anywhere production of four coins that puts you in perfect position to perform Translocation, Chink-a-Chink or Matrix. Hey, if it hasn't been improved in 30 years it's perfect!

Translocation - A longtime John Kennedy classic, Translocation should be in every close up magician's arsenal. Longtime friends, Larry and John swapped material during the Brook Farm Inn of Magic years. Unfortunately, Larry's memory failed him when John taught him Translocation. This offshoot is the result. Some very nice touches!

Blown Away - This is actually the third part of the coin trilogy. It's very fast paced and is the perfect complement to finish off what's left of the spectator's minds after witnessing "Square Dance" and "Translocation". It's very easy to do, but perfect to "seal the deal'.

Sponge Larry Roundpants - We all have a sponge routine, either the bunnies or the balls. We all know they play great. Larry's routine is just a bit risque but it leaves them with cramped stomach muscles from laughing so hard. Even if you're working for a corporate or family audience you'll learn many tips that will certainly up the level of your current routine. But if you do it word for word you'll be hooked. It's a riot.

Bonus Essays - on Scripting, Motivation and Rehearsal. Larry's insights are based on performing for thousands of people in his career. He shares his thoughts in extreme detail. This is extremely valuable information that's usually glossed over!

Running Time Approximately 2hr 25min

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