Imam was one of the few practitioners of Fakir magic in the United States. This is just one example of his ability to fuse drama with comedy, and make you uncomfortable in the process.
While we were doing a little digging into Matt Marcy following his fantastic performance on Fool Us earlier this week, we came a short web comedy series he wrote and stared in back in the heady days of 2015. It’s actually really good.
Disillusioned is a no-holds-barred look at the life of a professional magician “struggling to find love, success and respect in an art form that really doesn’t get any.” It was obviously made on a bit of a shoe string budget and the first episode is pretty rough, but for the most part Matt writes and plays the part of a enthusiastic, if slightly obnoxious, jobber magician with a suspicious level of accuracy. It won Best comedy Web Series at something called the Hollyweb New Media Festival a while back, but sadly seems to have languished in YouTube’s bowels ever since, with the last episode getting just over a thousand views.
Which is such a shame because while Marcy has since gone onto bigger and better things, there’s a sharp satirical edge in Disillusioned that really works.
You can see the whole series, here.
I’d hadn’t heard of the Museum of Comedy’s Old Comedian of the Year competition until ten minutes ago, but I’ve been searching for an opportunity to show you folks more of the amazing Ada Campe since I came across her back in march, so it’s now a prestigious award worthy of a news article.
The alter ego of Dr. Naomi Paxton, Campe is a hilariously unhinged magician whose shtick is pitched somewhere between a classic theatre dame and that crazy aunt who always turns up to Thanksgiving with three cats, two bottles of brandy and a loaded revolver. Her twitchy intensity and throaty vocal delivery are enough to get me laughing, even before she breaks out her psychic duck.
So what counts as “old,” in this business? 35, apparently. Hands up if you suddenly feel ancient. The competition was open to anyone over the age of 35 who has been performing non-professionally for at least five years. Dr. Paxton makes her living as a public speaker, academic, and author.
If you were hoping to see Campe live, you’re in luck. She’ll be performing at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August.
Magic is the art of deception, and Reverent Bill Wishart of St Martin’s Church, Edinburgh, is a master of pulling the wool over people’s eyes. Quite literally: His tricks almost all involve knitting needles.
The 52-year-old magician, who performs under the stage name “Bill’s Ministry of Magic,” won this year’s Harry Kidd Cup for parlor, stage or stand-up comedy magic after he impressed judges of the West Lothian Magic Circle with his comedy magic routine, The Blades of Death. In the routine, he performed tricks with titles like “The Crochet Needles of Doom,” “Knitty Knitty, Bang, Bang,” and the “Disecto Arm Chopper.”
Wishart is the very image of a minister-turned-magician, performing all his tricks in a sparkling waistcoat accompanied by a podium with his stage name spelled out in Comic Sans. Just looking at him is giving me flashbacks to my days in the Boy Scouts.
“It’s wonderful that the judges, distinguished fellow club members with many years’ experience of magic, enjoyed my act enough to award me the trophy,” Wishart told the local media. “To say I’m chuffed is an understatement.”
Wishart is also a keen guitar-player, and often plays gigs with his church band, “Yo Stooshie.”
Illusionist, comedian, three-time comedy magician of the year winner, and back flip enthusiast Reggie Rice is looking for female assistants in the Hollywood, MD area to perform in shows on March 24th and May 24th,
Specifically, he’s looking for women that are over 18-years-old, bubbly, outgoing, between 5’0 and 5’9, between 100 and 150 pounds and are comfortable playing a character in his eclectic stage shows which include traditional magic, stage gags, stand-up, offbeat cosplay and – and I cannot emphasize this enough – back flips.
Previous dance experience is a plus (and pay will scale based on experience as well as stage presence), but Rice stresses he’s looking for outgoing, entertaining performers that can connect with his audiences. Performers are expected to attend several unpaid practice sessions and will be paid after the show.
If you’re interested, you can call Rice at 240-298-6077 or 202-505-4FUN, or you can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you happen to live in New York, you’re in luck: a trifecta of incredible close-up magicians are coming your way with a limited engagement called Magic Beyond Imagination.
Each show will feature the unique comedy magic stylings of Garrett Thomas and Kozmo. Thomas is renowned for his consulting work with David Blaine, and is also famous for his trick inventions and his offbeat style, while Kozmo’s work on Reel Magic Magazine has informed and delighted magicians all over the world. Joe Maxwell will host, providing, as his website describes, “close-up magic with a humorous touch.”
So far, two different venues are hosting Magic Beyond Imagination. First, the trio will perform at the Cortland Repertory Theatre in Cortland, New York on Friday, March 9 and Saturday, March 10 at 7:30pm. A week later, they’ll head over to Palmer Opera House in Cuba, New York for a show on Friday, March 16 at 7:30pm. Advance tickets for both shows are available for $25 for general admission, or $35 for VIP seating, which includes a pre-show meet-and-greet. Tickets for the Cortland can be found here, while tickets for the Cuba show can be found here.
If you want to see what’s likely in store for you at the show, check out this video of Garrett Thomas performing his Stand-Up Monte routine:
Though it’s a joyous event, getting married ranks as one of the top ten life stressors you can go through, trailing only slightly behind going to prison. (Keep your jokes about not being able to tell the difference between the two to yourself, thank you.) Wedding planning can be a nonstop battle, which is why the comedy magicians of Slightly Unusual have put together a list of ten reasons why booking a magician is a solid move. Some of their choices are a bit arguable (they say magic doesn’t offend anyone, but that rather depends on the magician in question), but most of their points are very sound. Here are our three favorites:
There’s one at every wedding: a table full of people who don’t know each other and end up awkwardly poking at their salads instead of chatting. A closeup magician can help break the ice, giving them a way to interact that doesn’t put the burden of being interesting on them.
Weddings are nonstop activity for the wedding party, and a whole lot of waiting around for everyone else. You can only talk about how lovely the bride was for so long before everyone starts poring over their phones or drinking too much, and since kids probably don’t have either of those options open to them, they just start running. A magician keeps guests entertained in that dead zone between the ceremony and the reception, when endless sets of photographs are being taken and the food is still an hour or two away.
Weddings are wonderful because they bring together so many disparate kinds of people to celebrate the happy couple – great aunt Jeanine, Tony from accounting, Becky’s twin nieces – but it can be tricky to keep everyone feeling engaged and involved. Your 90-year-old gran probably won’t be showing off her dance moves, but she still wants to feel like she’s at the party, and a magician making her the center of attention can do just that. Plus, it doesn’t matter where your reception is, a magician can squeeze into it. A deck of cards, some coins, and the act is ready to go, no stage required. That can be a real boon if the heavens open up unexpectedly.
You can read the rest of the pro-magician argument here, or just accept that pretty much any gathering is better with magic. Magic is, after all, the bacon of entertainment.
Despite what you may think, magicians are really nothing like Arrested Development’s Gob Bluth. They don’t insist you use the word “illusion” instead of “trick.” They don’t really like “The Final Countdown” that much. They take their art very seriously…except for when they don’t. Hakan Berg‘s “King of Birds” act, shown here from an appearance on Le Plus Grand Cabaret du Monde, is great magic, but it’s also just damn funny, blending sleight of hand with just the right amount of humor. We had the pleasure of seeing Berg perform this routine live at Genii Convention, where it absolutely slayed.
Pi pi pi pi pi…
What’s the difference between a good magician and a bad magician? For Chris Ramsay, it’s when someone is trying way too hard to appear legit. A good magician knows how to talk to people, deflect hecklers, take criticism, and talk about their craft with honesty and humility. A bad magician does cardistry tricks while a member of the audience talks about how their wife’s cancer has gone into remission. This humorous video gives some examples on what to do as a magician and, perhaps more importantly, what not to do.
For the most part, cardistry videos are great fun to watch, and the best performers can do seemingly impossible feats with a stack of playing cards. But as with all things, given enough time tropes start to emerge, and Jaspas and crew are here to make fun of them all. The bouncy electronic music, the giant sunglasses, the overly-confident stares into the camera after sub-par tricks—it’s all here, and it’s hilarious.