Lefty performs Paper Balls Over the Head

Post 26 of 64

This is a fun routine that involves my character LEFTY and an unsuspecting volunteer from the audience. The main technique that I use in this routine is “misdirection” and how it can fool an audience member. Ironically, the volunteer is fooled throughout the routine, while the rest of the audience is in on the secret, as they can clearly see what is happening. And what “is” happening, is that I am throwing the paper balls over the volunteer’s head, again and again, without her noticing it.

The misdirection happens on many levels. Over years of performing this routine, I have mastered the distance between the volunteer and myself, as well as where the angle of the volunteer’s vision has been greatly restricted.

By repeating the counting motion 1, 2, 3, I have got the volunteer fixated on my left palm where I have her believe the paper ball is supposed to be.

 Each of my body movements is coordinated very well with what I want to accomplish.

As the routine goes on, and I successfully fool the volunteer again and again, this causes the volunteer to doubt herself, which makes fooling her easier.

To restrict the volunteer’s movement, I have her hold the roll of toilet paper with her hands in front of her body. This means she can’t grab at my hands to see where the paper ball is early, as then the roll of toilet paper would fall.

I also perform some sleight of hand during the routine, making the paper ball magically disappear and then reappear, which further confuses the volunteer. Also, because I make the paper ball reappear, the volunteer never would suspect that I am really making them disappear by throwing them over their head.

After the show I tell the volunteer they did an amazing job, and that the routine was clearly “over their head.”


Douglas has worked on many shows up and down the Las Vegas strip. He has worn many different hats, from being a creative director, lighting designer, set designer, and production / technical director having worked with Wayne Newton, Frank Marino, Human Nature, and Recycled Percussion to name a few.