Harry Houdini, Improv

I was reading an essay written by Harry Houdini called “Helpful Hints for Young Magicians Under Eighty” and as someone who only thinks about comedy, I’d say most of the hints apply to improv. See below:

  • “In winning your audience, remember that ‘manners make fortunes,’ so don’t be impertinent.”
  • “An old trick well done is far better than a new trick with no effect”
  • “Never tell the audience how good you are; they will soon find that out for themselves”
  • “You may think your trick is old, but it is always new to members of your audience”
  • “An old trick in a new dress is always a pleasant change”
  • “Don’t drag your tricks, but work as quickly as you can, bearing in mind the Latin Proverb, ‘Make haste slowly.'”
  • “When your audience is far distant from you, pantomime work will be well appreciated”
  • “Well-chosen remarks on topics of the day are always in order.”
  • “Walk right out on stage, and tell your tale to your audience, and perhaps many will believe it”
  • “It is far more difficult to give a trial show to a house full of seats and one manager than to a packed house and no manager”



p.s. Just read about how Houdini died …