I've recently been working through "Revolutionary Card Technique" by Ed Marlo, and I can't find anything funny about it. There's not even one fart joke in the whole thing.
After reading a positive review by Jamy Ian Swiss about the book "Much Ado About Something" by Karrell Fox, I purchased a copy of "Comedy Ala Card" by the same author.
I decided that $6.95 was a small price to pay for some card tricks that could maybe give me a good laugh.
According to Swiss, Fox is a master of comedy magic. But comedy is subjective, and Jamy Ian Swiss and I seem to have a glaring difference in opinion about what we find funny. "Comedy Ala Card" left me stone-faced as silent movie comedian Buster Keaton.
Puns and prop comedy in the right hands, like Tommy Cooper's, can slay an audience. But Karrell Fox's reliance on stale bits using oversized playing cards and wind-up chattering teeth purchased in the toy aisle of the $1.00 store is on life support, struggling to stay alive.
To be fair to Mr. Fox, he wrote this slim 32-page treatise in 1960 when Milton Berle was considered the zenith of comedy. But times have changed, and this book's gags haven't aged well.
But that doesn't mean that "Comedy Ala Card" completely wasted an hour of my life. It was refreshing that someone devoted time and energy to developing a card trick's comedy potential, not just writing another magic book filled with boring sleights that most magicians will only discuss at conventions but never use.
Fox has a discerning eye for visual humor, using simple and practical methods. And his writing is as easy to understand as directions for microwaving a frozen pizza. Some of his best ideas are written in brief, easy-to-digest snippets, no longer than a few sentences.
It's a truism that if you get one useable trick from a book, you get your money's worth. And I got at least three ideas from "Comedy Ala Card" that I can adapt and put into practice.
One gag, in particular, caught my eye. It was a card reveal using a large beach towel with a giant playing card printed on it wrapped around your head like a turban. After forcing a card, you unwrap the towel from your head at the finale of the trick, revealing the card's identity. My version involved gluing a playing card to the crotch of my underwear and dropping my pants to show the spectator's selection.
Now, that's funny!