Monday, December 12, 2011

WMF The Janitor

Andrew over at Ye Olde Magick Blogge has such a nice run with the archetypes of magic. That inspired me (great term of ripping off an idea) to post my most disliked types of characters that magicians portray worthy of failure. Let's start with the Janitor:

It might be a typical German thing, but very often a performer needs to think up a character that he performs at. And every once in a while "the Janitor" comes up. So that magician decides to pretend he is a Janitor, often openly preparing the act of the magician that is coming any second. Then he starts toying around with the stuff that is already on stage. Usually he wears a grey work coat, a hat and thick glasses. Sometimes he even interrupts the show by needing to clean the stage loudly complaining about the state of things. It's not the act that I don't like it's the character the magician chose to be. The following video is German and I think that the performer is decent, yet I feel that the act is something I can hardly bear to endure because of the choice of character.

What makes me groan is the transparency of the "lie". It is clear from the very first second that this is an act. So if that is clear from the second it started, why keep up the lie? And this is not just for magicians. Even jugglers fall into the "janitor hole" seemingly in lack of better ideas. There is this act a a comedy waiter. Basically the audience is unaware that one of the waiters in the restaurant is not a real waiter. He behaves like a real waiter and slowly transforms into the performer he is. That process is done slowly over a long time period. There is a punchline to this. Realizing that the waiter is not real.

The Janitor is like a joke with no punchline that needs to go away.


Tomsk192 said...

Maybe it's to do with your own rationale? A guise can be sustained happily within a magic setting, just think of Tommy Cooper. If you don't rate the act, that's one thing. But what if other people do?
An 'in person' performance shouldn't necessitate some arbitrary moment when a disguise is torn away to reveal 'the conjuror'. In some ways, if an act starts a certain way, it pays dividends to end it with a continuous theme ongoing. There doesn't need to be a punchline of the type you are suggesting, if the performer is really good. I do relate to getting jaded by third-rate acts playing on a well worn theme, but I can't agree with your overall point on this.
I'm not commenting on this video, but on your commentary.
You know I love you to bits.

Roland said...

True in a way... I may needed to point out more that the biggest reason I don't like this performing character is, that it born out of laziness. And we got janitors in abundance.

Tomsk192 said...

That's fair enough.