Everything is Funnier with Monkeys

by Doc Dixon

I have a bad habit when I perform. Every now and then I will do what I call a "Dennis Miller" joke. This is a joke (most often ad-libbed) which involves such an obscure reference that nobody is going to get it. It is unprofessional and self-indulgent, but when I

do these jokes, I do them just for me. I did such a joke in one of the close-up rooms at the I.B.M. convention in Orlando, when I referred to a minor character in Charles Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities. As I expected, there was no response whatsoever, except for a huge guffaw of laughter from the very back of the room. The person who got the joke was Chris Buylla, a.k.a. Doc Dixon, a.k.a. Zoltan, Master of the Inappropriate Gesture.

Doc Dixon is big bear of man (actually, I guess he's now a svelte bear of man, having lost 40 pounds) and he has a commanding presence when he performs. He is also very funny. Everything is Funnier with Monkeys is his first book and it is outstanding. Here again, as in the Acer book, we have a professional entertainer offering routines from his professional repertoire. There are 26 routines, mostly using playing cards, and they are all top-notch. In addition there are 9 thoughtful essays, and as an added bonus, the book is gaffed, which allows you to do a silly trick with it.

All of the routines are worthy of your serious consideration, but I'll mention some favorites. "Clippin'" is a very clever method for causing a selected card to appear folded under your money clip. "Psychic Buddies" turns an ancient origami fold into a Love Predictor. "Close Up Matt" is a very funny reworking of a Matt Schulien routine. "Potholio" takes my "Pothole Trick" in a completely different direction. "Reshuffled" allows you to do Paul Gertner's "Unshuffled" without the need for any reset. Finally, one of the highlights of the book "Carpe Cajones" (what a great title), which introduces a diabolically clever method for a doing a multiple prediction. This is really good, and I predict that it will spawn a bunch of variations.

If the book only had the 26 routines it would be worth the money, but Doc also offers us 9 very thoughtful essays. These range from the dangers of being wacky to the craft of comedy. Doc touches on many subjects which have not been discussed before, and if you think about the essays and apply your thoughts to your work you'll be a better magician.

All these routines come from Doc's performing repertoire, and consequently they have been molded to fit his performing persona. Since you are not Doc Dixon (and be grateful for small blessings), you will have to structure the routines to fit your personality. Doc has provided enough of the "why" behind each routine to allow you to do this.

One small criticism: A few of the routines would have benefited from a few more illustrations.

Concerning the title of this book: I have no idea what it means. Doc says that a careful reading of the text will reveal the meaning of the title and it's author. I've been through the book two and a half times, and I haven't found it yet. If you figure it out let me know.

Everything is Funnier with Monkeys is a really excellent book which I thoroughly enjoyed. The material is great, the essays are great, and you'll laugh out loud when you read it. Good job, Doc, and thanks for laughing at my joke. Highly recommended.

(By the way. Please don't write in saying that in order to get a good review from Close you have to laugh at his jokes. I've never met David Acer, and I thought his book was excellent. So there.)

Character Building Thought Power

Character Building Thought Power

Character-Building Thought Power by Ralph Waldo Trine. Ralph draws a distinct line between bad and good habits. In this book, every effort is made by the writer to explain what comprises good habits and why every one needs it early in life. It draws the conclusion that habits nurtured in early life concretize into impulses in future for the good or bad of the subject.

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