|“3 Ropes and a Thousand Laughs” is Cody Fisher’s comedy presentation for his three rope routine. This release is being marketed as a presentation, more than a method, making it an interesting product to review. Given that, I thought the best approach would be to answer the questions I would have, were I considering purchasing this routine.
The first question is, of course, is the routine actually funny? The short answer is “yes.” The DVD includes a live performance clip, during which the audience genuinely laughs throughout. However, it’s important to keep in mind that any given script or presentation will play differently for different performers, as well as in various venues and for varying audiences. Therefore it’s also important to know what kind and type of humor is being used, and whether it’s based on jokes, puns, situation comedy, character, etc., so you can determine if it will work for you.
It wouldn’t be fair to give the routine away, so let’s just say the crux of the presentation is suggestive. However, no foul language is used, nor are any body parts named. What’s important to know is that the lengths of the ropes are fundamental to the humor in the routine. You’ll notice in my description that I’m not explicitly saying what the humor is about. You should know that Mr. Fisher’s routine operates in the same way. The setup of the jokes allows the audience to draw their own conclusion, meaning the routine itself is relatively PG-13.
Nevertheless, the routine is suggestive, which may cause some performers pause. However, Mr. Fisher says that he performs the routine as described in 99.9% of his corporate shows and that he has never had anyone have a problem with the routine. And that’s just the corporate market. For colleges or comedy clubs, this routine is downright tame. The DVD also includes tips on softening the premise, as well as ways to discuss it with the person who hired you, should you have any concern.
The effect Mr. Fisher performs in the routine is a version of Professor’s Nightmare, beginning with a single piece of rope cut into three different sized pieces. He performs a stretching sequence, after which the rope is restored into a single piece. Mr. Fisher uses a standard handling for the Professor’s Nightmare, though he has a nice touch when he counts the ropes that is quite lovely. His method for the final restoration is clever, and he also offers some useful tips on the overall handling and performance. Instruction is clear and the camerawork is excellent.
This routine is exactly what it says it is: a comedy rope routine. Performed well, it will generate laughs. I would call it a workhorse presentation, in that the premise, once established, is somewhat predictable, though reliably funny. I did find the evolution of the script interesting in that it’s based entirely on what Mr. Fisher’s audience has said over the years. Every smart performer steals lines from his or her audience, but in this case those lines compose an entire routine. Which means the routine isn’t about the performer’s point of view, what he or she thinks, has to say, finds interesting or deems worth communicating. It’s one long joke. Not that there’s anything wrong with jokes, but it’s worth considering your act, what you want to say, what kind of experience you wish the audience to have and how you want them to remember you. If this routine seems like a fit for you and your approach, you’ll have great success with it.