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Comedy Magician Amazing Jeffo

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Amazing Jeffo

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Depending on what's happening in the magic show at the moment, I might pick up my harmonica and play something familiar that adds humor to the situation. At an intergenerational family party I began playing the theme from "The Godfather," because someone had said, "I've got a deal you can't refuse."

After playing the recognizable first 12 notes, I paused and asked if anyone knows where that came from?

A little guy who I think was being totally sincere, piped up, "From your harmonica!"

Everyone laughed and all I could respond with was, "You're right!"

After one of my shows, a child about 5 came belly up to my magic stand, proudly holding an Amazing Jeffo business card. In a mischievous voice he announced, "I've got one of your cards!" I said, "That's great!" He continued, "Now I'll be able to remember who you are." He paused and said, "So, what's your name again?"

Once at an out-of-town venue, my wife who accompanied me was busy providing little magic tricks to children after the show. A boy about seven years old approached her table and picked up one of the available tricks called "Multiplying Rabbits," where in a mommy and daddy rabbit placed in someone's hand suddenly multiplies into a family of mom and dad rabbit, and four baby rabbits.

As she was helping other children she overheard the boy carefully reading to himself the package label, "1 + 1 = 4," or so it read.

My wife heard him reread the label "1 + 1 equals four?"

In a tone that was clearly questioning the very foundations of what he thought he had understood, he turned to my wife with a look of desperation and said, "One plus one doesn't equal 4? Does it? Does it?!!!"

My wife reassured him that one plus one does not equal four and that it was just a joke. He was overwhelmed with a look of relief.

Following a show for the Cub Scouts, a 7 year old boy, who had achieved the scouting rank of Wolf, approached my magic stand and asked me "Can you tell me the secrets of your tricks?" I thought I'd have a little fun with him and answered, "The magic rules say you are not suppose to tell anyone your secrets except for your wife and your dog." The young cub scout wasn't going to be outwitted by a mere magician and responded, "Well..Tell me the secrets and then I can tell my dog!"

After every show I encourage questions from the children. I think pre schoolers have the most amusing, and out of left field type of comments, such as, one of them from a recent show asking, "Are you married to a dinosaur?"

When preschoolers eagerly raise their hand with a question for me, they typically, enjoy telling me all kinds of things about their life experiences, rather than actually asking a question. After hearing them ramble for a while, I gently explain to them, "A question is when you say, things like how, or why, or when, or who, or where." Feeling confident they understood, I asked if anyone had a question for me. A hand shot up. "Yes," the teacher acknowledged, "What's your question?" The pre schooler said proudly and simply, "Where." Laughing, the teacher asked, "Are there any other questions?" Taking the lead from the previous child, a different child asked also in a sincere tone, "Why."

I teach magic classes for community education departments, park and recreation departments and other such groups. As I was demonstrating a trick by slowly and magically unfolding a previously torn up napkin, and now revealing it to be fully restored, I overheard one of the children saying to another, "O.K. I know this one. Watch. It's going to change colors." He was so caught up in the whole magic experience, he couldn't see the tree for the forest.

After performing at a family party, the grandma who had hired me, related the following story regarding, Casey, her 3 year old grand daughter.

While snuggling with her mother, Casey said, "Wait a minute! I'm going get Princes to snuggle with us." Princes is the name of her large, wooden spring hobby horse. Her mother responded, "Princes is too big to snuggle with us." The precocious 3 year old answered, "Then we need Jeffo!" Her mother who was not able to attend the magic show asked, "Who's Jeffo?" "He's real Mom! He's not on TV! I saw him in Grandma's living room! He can use his magic to make Princes small so we can snuggle with her."

At a Q&A session following a magic show performed for mostly kindergarteners, a little boy asked me, "How old are you?"

When I told him, "50 years old," he was startled and respondedd, "50! You should be dead by now!"

Years ago, when I was still single, I was taken by a charming and lovely teacher who had been my hostess at a school magic show. As I waited for my ride following the performance, I was pondering how I might find out whether she was single without having to ask her. My reverie was broken by a second grade boy who was just then entering the office and saw me sitting there. He said, "Great show Jeffo!" I asked him to come over so I could quietly ask him, "Is your teacher a single lady?"

The busy din of the office was silenced when he loudly responded, "Are you in love with Miss Jones!! Do you want to marry her!!"

His comment was a catalyst to a whole new concept in my life, separating my personal interests from my business interests.

I was taking a variety of questions from an intergenerational audience following a church show in St. Joseph MN. I always enjoy this opportunity to speak off the cuff as myself and share things about my life people find interesting. Naturally, as a stand-up comedian in disguise, whenever the chance arises I throw humor into the mix. On this day, after getting a good laugh from what I thought was a pretty good comeback on my part, the chuckling died out. The silence was broken by a boy about 8 years old. In an obviously disappointed voice he said, "And I thought you called yourself a man of comedy."

One young Cub Scout volunteer who I used during my show approached me afterward and said to me that he thought he knew the secret of one of my tricks. I complemented him by saying, "That doesn't surprise me. When you were helping me with a trick during the show I thought to myself, This boy is smarter than the average bear." He quickly responded, "That's cuz I'm not a Bear. I'm a Weblo."

As I was descending the stairs for a birthday party show, I overheard the birthday boy tell his buddies, "I seen him; He's really good! He can do tricks without even lookin' at them - that's cuz he's blind."

While putting together the final touches before a magic show at a preschool child care, one of the little ones in the front row asked a nearby classmate, "Did his parents name him that?"

Recently I received a letter from a parent who attended a Valentine Day magic show for first grade children. Her letter had many kind words about how much the children enjoyed the show. The part of the letter that really made my day said, "There were several kids that were not convinced that you were really blind, they had the wildest theories about how you may have painted your pupils to fool us. They just could not believe that you could do all these things without being able to see."

Magic transcends sight itself as I regularly demonstrate. In our visually oriented society this can be an overwhelming concept to grasp, especially from the point of view of a child. Following a show a second grade boy approached me and said, "You're not really blind." I answered, "I certainly am! Do these look like the eyes of a truck driver?" The still unsatisfied boy responded, "If you're really blind, then tell me how many fingers am I holding up." For the heck of it I just guessed a number. He shot back in a triumphant voice "Wrong!" Oh, the logic of kids; You've got to love it.

My motivation has always been foremost to educate people about using their abilities to the fullest and recognizing the ability in others. My ability to entertain people and create laughter serves as an effective vehicle for teaching. I hope my magic, music and comedy gently helps people think beyond conventional stereo-typing. During my magic show I have a routine in which I deliberately remove my sunglasses. Aside from the comedy that is generated from the routine, I am teaching that all persons who are blind do not necessarily wear sunglasses. I was reminded regarding this fact following a recent school performance. Aside from the oo's, aah's and laughter I hear throughout the show, my favorite part of the whole performing experience is when audience members, young and old come up in front of my magic stand to talk with me after the show. After talking and teasing with children following a couple of shows at an elementary school in Austin, Minnesota, one boy wanted to thank me one more time. As he walked through the auditorium doors he yelled back, "Thanks again for the show Jeffo! Don't forget your glasses."

7 year old birthday boy, in concern about my blindness asked, "Maybe you should eat more carrots?"

Preschool girl, "You're the best magic guy I ever saw," "How many magic guys have you seen," I asked. She excitedly said, "You're the first one!"

After passing out complimentary magic tricks at a private family party I suddenly realized the presence of a young boy, somewhere around 4 years of age standing in front of me. He proceeded to drop 2 pennies and a nickel on my magic stand explaining they were for the trick he had been given. I thanked and reassured him the trick was free. He insisted I take the money. After trying to convince him he could use the money more than me, he said, "Don't worry. There's plenty more where that came from."

When my, then Fiancee, (now wife) told her elementary aged class she was marrying Amazing Jeffo, who they knew well, between his performances and magic classes, a group of them asked her what will be her new name, a little girl said in exasperation, "Don't you know sillies. She'll be Mrs. Amazing!"

A kindergarten student who I awarded with a little magic trick, but who had yet to read the instructions, came up and asked with some frustration, "I can't make the trick work right. What are the magic words again?"

Following another performance a little girl scout came up to me and whispered, "I know you can really see but, don't worry, I'm not going to tell."

During a Sunday school performance a little guy with a rather healthy self-image wandered up to me behind my stand, right in the midst of my performing a trick. He kept repeating, "Amazing Jeffo, Amazing Jeffo." I initially tried ignoring him until realizing he obviously was more determined than me. I stopped the trick and turned to him asking, "What do you want?" He answered, "My big brother is here now. I'm sorry but I'm going to be leaving." I told him that's o.k., that I'd try to finish the show without him.

Once at a child care center, after flicking a magic wand, causing a loud bang, a pre-school boy yelled out, "What was that!! If you try that again I'm leaving!" As it turned out later in the show I needed to use a magic wand which shot out confetti. Immediately I heard the same boy slap his lap, hop off the chair and say, "O.K., That's it I'm out of here." Some teachers chased after him as he ran out the door.

At one school-aged care assembly I had a teacher take back to her chair a sound-effect box, whereby, upon hearing a joke that's "not too funny", she was instructed to press the "bomb" sound-effect. Following one of her "bomb" critiques a child unaware of the ruse stood up and came to my defense by saying, "Come on! That joke was funny." Once a cub scout, not realizing the "not too funny" criticism is done intentionally, told me after the show, "I like the magic tricks but maybe you should buy a joke book to help with your bad jokes."

Another time I was teaching magic to several families at a church retreat. No matter what new trick I was introducing at the time, I was interrupted by an eight year old boy who would yell out, "Oh!, I know that trick!" Likely, of course, he didn't but was craving attention and recognition. Being professional I moved right along while trying not to show any annoyance with his disruptions. Late in the program I was explaining the secret behind a trick and once again was interrupted by the boy. This time, however, he said, "Now that one I can't figure out." I was so relieved upon hearing it that I yelled out, "Thank You Jesus!!! I'm now ready to come home!" This broke the tension among the parents and got the biggest laugh of the day.

I was explaining to a group of school-aged child care kids about how blind people go about doing everyday activities. I'd just finished telling them about how some blind people use seeing-eye dogs who help them around. In all seriousness, a little girl asked me "Does a seeing-eye dog drive you to your shows?"

Call The Amazing Jeffo - Jeff Smith

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