The Baby Bag by Algonquin McDuff
Reviewed by Jamy Ian Swiss (originally published in Genii November, 1996)
Here's a charming and funny little book about a charming and funny little prop. The
author—whatever—describes in detail how to make a perfect miniature brown paper
bag, approximately one inch by an inch-and-a-quarter by two-and-a-half inches high.
This is an adorable little prop, and the author—whatever—makes it a pretty easy matter
to construct, including not only accurate templates that can be photocopied onto brown
paper, but also three templates already printed on brown paper that you can
immediately tear out and set to work on.
Following the credit history, templates, and construction details, there is a chapter of
gags and a chapter of tricks from the likes of Martin Gardner, Al Cohen, Karl Norman,
Warren Stephens, Steve Beam, Dan Garrett and still others. There's also a section of
additional templates for making Baby Bags as specific sight gags, such as a handbag
with a hand printed on it, and a nose bag with a nose printed on it—whatever.
You might find an idea or two in the chapters of gags and tricks that appeal to you, but
that doesn't really matter. If the prop appeals to you, then I suggest you set it out in
front of you and start going through all your props and routines until you find
something that especially fits your own work, and it doesn't seem like it would be that
difficult. If you want women to go "Awwww" and you don't want to travel with a puppy,
try this out. And what's more, the book plugs your favorite book reviewer and made him
laugh, and I'm a sucker for authors—whatever—that do both.