Neil Haywood - Comedy in Magic - Lecture
The Nottingham Guild of Magicians
January 2006
Reviewed by Freddie Wilkinson

Now I’m not one for writing reviews on lectures, I think in the past I have only mustered up a handful.

So this is a rare event! But here goes.....

Neil Haywood (Professional magician and agent) is a long-standing member of the Nottingham Guild, and over the past few years had mentioned that he was working on a lecture.

Now as with all magic clubs the reply was “That’s Nice” and the subject dropped.

Eventually a date came available at the last minute and with baited breath we decided to book him. We need not have worried as he surprised everyone attending with the quality of material and hard work that had gone into this 90minute lecture.

The night promised exactly what it said in the title – Comedy In Magic or more to the point how to add a touch of comedy to any branch of magic. After all we are booked to entertain people first and then hopefully amaze them along the way.

I can only think of two other people that lecture on comedy magic, and they all tackle it in completely different ways. The main difference between Neil and the others is that Neil shows you how to take an existing trick and make it funny rather than starting from scratch and trying (Normally in vain) to come up with a funny routine. Hope that makes sense?

Anyway on to the lecture -

The first half covered the importance of comedy, and how it is easier to win over an audience with a little laughter than just tricks alone. Think of any act and at some point there will be a touch of humour, even ultra cool, ultra serious Derren Brown adds a little light relief just to lift his live show in places.

Next came half a dozen or so tried and tested cabaret items from Neil’s repertoire including – openers and hand flashers, cigarette vanish & smoking jacket, a very clean newspaper tear plus numerous throw away items such as fire eating and canes.

To close the first half we were treated to an updated and very funny version of the Toast trick, old I know but with Neil’s new twist it has finally made this a workable, logical piece of magic.

The second half was aimed mainly at close-up and walk around with items including –
Ring on chain, money from jokers, key card effects and two very simple self-working card routines from a shuffled deck.

Neil explained all effects used and why they worked for him in the real world environment, he also touched on how important it was to find a style that suited you.

As with all lecturers he did have a few items for sale including lecture notes, with everything costing around £5. But the item everyone wanted was a remote control toaster with pyros! But that was a little more than a fiver.

If you are looking for an interesting, informative and above all entertaining evening Neil is well worth a try. Plus he won’t blow the clubs lecture budget for the year.

To contact Neil Haywood – 01636 680361

© Freddie Wilkinson, President – Nottingham Guild of Magicians, February 2006