A few Saturday’s ago, I did a gig that I shouldn’t have.
Right from the off, I could tell it wasn’t for me.
Someone wanted to book me for three hours to entertain a bunch of 18-year-old girls.
On its own, this would usually be enough for me to open up Evernote and search for my “not a chance” template, but it got worse.
“There’s only 6 of them coming”, the email continued.
“And I’d like you to be a surprise!”
Oh God, oh God.
Now, I don’t know how old you are, or what gender you are, but I want you to try and imagine what it would be like to be an 18-year-old girl, having a small, intimate gathering, in a very well to do area of Cheshire…
Also imagine that, halfway into your nice, quiet party, your Dad enters the kitchen to announce that he has a surprise for you…
Do you think there’s any part of you that is desperately hoping the surprise is a tired-looking 44-year-old man in a suit?
I thought not.
I get the “I want you to be a surprise!” thing a lot.
I get it. It’s a reaction only YOU get to witness.
It’s a free bonus – a little hit of emotion that you wouldn’t get if you’d put “we’re having a magician” on the invites.
So I do get it.
Surprises work well when the whole audience gets to witness the surprise at the same time.
This is why it works for strippers, singing waiters and marriage proposals.
A stripper enters the room with loud music – everyone can see and hear what’s happening.
The waiters suddenly spring up with microphones and start singing. Everyone, at the same moment, realises they’ve been had.
Your procrastinating partner finally gets down on one knee, and you, the audience, see it.
With a close-up magician at a party, there is no big reveal – we just start working our way around your guests, one group at a time.
The first people we perform to are the ones that get the surprise.
After that, it’s just a Mexican wave of:
“Who the hell is that guy?”
“What kind of saddo brings a deck of cards to a party?”
By all means, let your guests know that there will be an entertainer on the night, or that you’ve got something planned, but don’t announce to the entire party that “THE CLOSE UP MAGICIAN IS NOW HERE – EVERYONE IN THE KITCHEN!”.
You can find even more hints and tips on how to throw a surprise party here, or, if you’d like me to come and entertain your guests, you can click here to get in touch!