Do anyone of you find tricks to be insulting to the craft. When my small group gets together I throw creamer into the bonfire to make fire bursts and use alcohol soaked cotton balls as fireballs for dramatic effects. We also do magic tricks that we've learned then we sit and hold a bardic and then get to the real magic. I don't see it as a bad thing. I think it is a fun little thing to add to the element of real magick.
i think it depends, if you know the difference between illusionist magic and actual magic, and you know when to joke and when to be serious, you're fine. my coven meetings are very laid back and improvised. we still go into laughing fits for no reason, but we've cut back on the gossip. back in 2007-2009, we half of us were out of high school, and didn't get to see all our friends as often, so we sat around talking about stuff for some time until we realized we were gossiping to the god and goddess. we'd all laugh and start the ceremony. typically, there's 3 parts to the circle [five if you want to get fancy, and it doesn't matter how many if you want to get technical] greet - you're welcoming everyone, summing up why you're all together, and talking about how life was the past month. ceremony - where you leave your offering, say whatever speech you need for the given sabbat, cast spells, whatever, and closing - you thank the deities [or whatever depending on your belief] and then open the circle and stand around talking over punch [or whatever]
a typical one mind, the ceremony is broken up - meditation, prayer/speech to your deities, dance or song, offering of food and drink, and any spells needed. but it doesn't matter much as long as you know when you have to be serious and when you can have fun.