Yep, 3 stooges reference in the title, to intro a discussion on stooges: Well, Mr. Ection brought up in another thread an interesting debate we had over Tiny Chat, so here comes the thread... He performs and effect for a man and women where one of them selects a card, and he then (keeping the method secret) indicates to the boyfriend what the card is secretly; thereby making him an impromptu stooge. I will let Mr. Ection state why he felt this was a strong effect, however, I stated many issues that he dismissed. I want you to all think about both sides of the coin, so I do hope Mr. Ection defends his reasons as they may be equally valid, and then please answer these 2 questions: Do you think that using a volunteer as an impromptu stooge is a good thing? Do you think using stooges at all is a good thing? I don’t – here is why: 1) Someone in the audience will always think you are “not that good”. The person, if they keep the secret, will realize that the miracle others experienced was only due to the secret exchange of information that was communicated by them. It would be like meeting someone’s parents and asking all about them. Then you pretend, in front of the parents, when you meet this person, that the things you knew about them was because you were a mentalist. The kid might think you are god, but the parents realize that you are full of it. When I do magic, I want 100% of my audiences to experience magic. (Side bar – this is what John Edwards essentially did on “Crossing Over” - which now has his name next to “fraud” and “fake” – look how fast his career and show vanished when people found out the method) 2) My experience, and my concern, is that when you leave the room/table that the person that was your stooge will tell people you were in on it. Actually, this should be obvious. People talk when you leave the table. It may not happen all the time, but I would say that it happens FAR more often than not. Why? Some people think that by putting the person in the “I picked the card” spot, that it makes them the “hero”. However, I do an effect with NO stooge that reads just like the one Mr. Ection’s does, and people ask me “How did you do that”, when I am not even involved. So, you get the kudos regardless of your involvement, but your stooge may want the credit, so they speak up. “He told me what the card was” – and now the entire room know the method. They may just want to be the big shot by revealing the secret...after all, someone made a series of shows and some $ off that concept. Actually, I find a stooge telling the secret similar to exposing magic really. Would it bother you if one person saw a sleight then shared what they saw with all the audience that moments ago was amazed? Your stooge may reveal the method...that you used them, so how is that different from exposure? Just like above, I want to FOOL 100% of my audiences, and if there is even a 1% change that it might be exposed, it may not be a good idea...and I would argue that the percentage is far higher that a stooge can’t keep the secret. 3) It isn’t fool proof – sometimes the person you use won’t say or do what you are coaxing them too, for the same reasons they lie about their card, or try to mess you up. Other times they just don’t get the subtle, yet obvious, hints that you give. How many times have you done paper balls over the head, to have one guy scream out...even when you prefaced what was about to happen with direct clues...”Hey, you threw it over their head”?! When you are relying on the audience for the work, it is out of your hands and has a chance of failing that is out of your control. 4) It often looks obvious when there is a stooge, for two related reasons. First, body language. There often seems to be this moment where the participant is confused on what you are trying to get them to understand, and then a moment of clarity where they “get the hint” – this can often be seen on their face. Related point two – people are bad actors. When they realize they are “working on the inside” it is hard for them to act natural, and it is a strong tell to the rest of the audience. I am sure there are other reasons not to use stooges in close up work, especially impromptu audience ones. I have seen planned stooges work well in stage shows, but never seen it done well in person. This isn’t to say it is impossible; I just concern myself with the things I mention above. What do you guys think?