Pull Back And Reveal

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There’s a classic comedy technique known as the ‘pull back and reveal’ (a.k.a. ‘pull back reveal’ or, in TV, the ‘reveal shot’). TV Tropes has a good summary of it here.

Basically, as the name suggests, you start close in on a scene, then pull back and reveal more information, often with humorous results.

And since every Zoom show is a TV show, of sorts, why not incorporate a TV comedy technique?

Here’s one way to do it:

Mis-Made Jacket

Prepare to transform a bill into a mis-made bill, by folding it and unfolding it, using the classic method. This would also work with Sankey’s Monopoly money version.

You’ll also need to be wearing an unbuttoned suit jacket, ideally with a distinctive lining, and to ask your partner/housemate/trained poodle to be your off-screen helper.

Performance

Make a comment early in your set about your jacket, so they notice it. Any quick comment that suits your persona is fine, like:

“I may be in my spare room, with washing drying in the corner, but I’m wearing a jacket, so it’s still showbiz, right?!”

Now go into the mis-made bill routine, and move in close to the camera. This is supposedly so they can see clearly what’s happening to the bill, but it’s also so your jacket goes out of shot.

Now, as you do the standard moves with the bill, and your hands take turns holding it, drop your free hand out of shot, so your helper can remove your jacket, one side at a time.

They then turn your suit jacket inside out, and put it back on you, one arm at a time.

Now you can reveal that the bill has magically turned inside out, then step back to reveal that the same thing has happened to your jacket.

It may take a bit of practice to nail the choreography, but once you do, it should be as much fun to perform as to watch.

Not just jackets

You can adapt this concept to all manner of tricks – just apply whatever you’re doing to the object, to yourself. Maybe holes appear in the card, then in your shirt. Or the deck turns blank, and the pattern on your shirt vanishes too. Or after you reveal an orange under your cup, you reveal another orange stuck in your mouth.

As ever, if you give it a go, or come up with any other variations, I’d love to hear about it – so after you pull back, come forward.

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