Saturday, May 28, 2011

Finally Open and REVIEW: Timmy Toilet Paper

Whew, this week has been BEYOND exhausting. Thursday and Friday saw me drive 16 hours and when I finally got home, my wife and I worked late in the night Friday night to get her hair salon (and my hypnosis clinic) open in time for Saturday night.

Oh, that's right - in the last week, my wife put in notice (30 day notice) to leave her former salon and finish up our new one...but the other salon owner put up a hissy fit and decided to throw her out in a week, leaving us scrambling to get everything ready so my wife's clients didn't decide to go to another salon.

The good news is the majority of the hard work is over and we can start to enjoy life again.

Before I forget, I know new people check out this column each week so here's my pitch to sign up for my free ezine, "Cause And Effects." In each monthly issue, I write an article about real world performing, marketing or magic philosophy. I also share weird road stories and more! Shoot me an email to:

I'm still beyond tired but I wanted to get a review up this week. This week I'm reviewing Timmy Toilet Paper by Tom Burgoon. It's available for $199.95 from Hocus Pocus. Here's the link:

EFFECT: A very funny do as I do routine with toilet paper turns into a startling 50-foot mouthcoil production.

WHAT YOU RECEIVE: An extremely well produced notebook with several pictures and routine ideas. You also receive a DVD with five live performances of the routine. You also receive a free package of white mouthcoils (which, if ordered through Hocus Pocus, you'll have to mail in a certificate. I received mine in about 10 days.) You also receive a signed copy of Tom posing with Timmy and a certificate of performance rights.

I also had to mail in to receive my certificate...and, nothing against Tom, but I felt silly getting a signed picture of Tom. I simply don;t collect autographs. Just not my thing.

MY HISTORY: I've been doing my own mouthcoil routine for years. Simply put, in my view, the mouthcoil is one of the greatest production items in history. My routine is set to music and is always a crowd pleaser.

My reasons for buying the Timmy routine is the fact that often, I will perform for the same audiences multiple times, especially when I perform my night time family fundraiser show (shoot me an email to if interested in booking high dollar school fundraiser shows) so I wanted to have a different mouthcoil routine that was comedy based.

QUALITY IN INSTRUCTION: Tom does a good job teaching the routine and the effectiveness of his handling is evident in the fact that I watched Tom's performances several times and a key move blew past me every time. Tom's handling of this key move is a study in performing a move on the off beat and the more I watch it the more impressed I am.

Simply put, this routine is not only funny but a fooler as well.

Tom also gives plenty of other suggestions for enhancing the routine and stretching it out with bits of business, including a bit that lends itself nicely to the classic Paper Balls Over The Head.

Most importantly, the routine is not difficult to perform, allowing you to (c'mon, say it with me) concentrate on your presentation. As a stage performer, I've gradually removed most of the technically demanding stuff and just bond with my audiences, so to me, this is a good thing.

ANGLES: Because of Tom's handling, you don't want anyone directly behind you and probably not to the extreme sides, but in most situations you'll be fine. Additionally, once you understand Tom's handling, you may easily change it to something more angle friendly if you're a street performer.

THE CONTROVERSIES: Several years ago, Tom published the routine in Genii as an illustration in the construction of a routine. Apparently, Tom's intent was to show the construction of a routine for reasons other than allowing others to actually perform it.

While I found this to be odd, having never read the article, I cannot comment on whether Tom's intent was clear or not. All I can comment on is the fact that Tom has the right to put out a product and charge what he wants and we as consumers can choose whether or not to buy it.

With that out of the way, the second controversy involves the performance rights the purchaser has. Tom has restricted the performance rights to NOT include the Magic Castle and NOT to include TV rights (of any kind) and NOT to allow purchasers to put clips of the routine on one's own demo video.

I'll address the three exclusions separately from my own perspective.

Because Tom is so well known in the magic community, I personally would never perform this at the Castle because many magicians who see me do it would know it was not my creation, so that exclusion makes sense.

The second exclusion is mildly irritating - not performing it on TV - but as a school performer, I do not really aspire to be on TV so to me, no big deal.

The final exclusion, not putting it on my demo DVD, I found very offensive. So if a school wanted to see clips of my show, I could not include any Timmy clips. While I have a large enough collection of working material, this still irritated me.

I suppose it wouldn't bother me so much if it was stated in the ad copy but it's not. Others on different forums have claimed that from a legal standpoint, the terms are not enforceable because the purchaser was not aware of the conditions and did not sign anything upon purchase.

I can't comment on the legalities and again I do plan on performing this (in 2 days I'll be breaking it in for the first time) so I will use this, but I wanted readers to be aware of the limitations.

MY RECOMMENDATION: I love the routine and find some of the subtle nuances of Tom's handling to be the most deceptive handling of the mouthcoil I've ever seen. The routine is funny without being offensive and is interactive as well. A mouthcoil routine is always pleasing to lay people.

I found the demo DVD exclusion irritating in terms of permission to perform the routine.

I highly recommend this routine in terms of real world performing, but I will take two points off my score because of the fact that the exclusions were not mentioned in the ad copy, which I find extremely unfair. 8 out of 10.

NEXT WEEK: Personality Readings Plus Book Test by Paul Romhany

Questions? Review requests? Email me at


Cris Johnson

1 comment:

  1. Cris,
    First, thanks for posting this review! I'm also mainly entertaining for children and had thought this routine was basically for adults. Good to know my kids will like it also! The ad in the Magic Warehouse reads:
    "COMES COMPLETE WITH: United States performance rights! etc, etc," ..............
    This would lead me to believe that I could do just about anything with this routine in the US...(?)(am I reading it wrong?) The ad copy says nothing about where in the US or any other details. I feel the same as you do, I'm fine with the extra rules, just reveal them when purchasing!!! Show me the rules up front and we can play the game .. Tell me the rules while I'm on second base and we've got problems.... Thank you again for posting and here's hoping your Timmy routine "Rocked The House" .... Rod :)