Quite a question, huh? Ok, I really don’t think people hate magicians…at least not everybody. However, I sincerely believe that there’s a stigma about magicians that has really hurt the industry. Thankfully, it’s started to fade away, thanks to shows like Fool Us, The Carbonaro Effect, and the 2014 season of America’s Got Talent, where Mat Franco became the first magician to ever win in the history of the show.
So, what is the stigma? Pretty simple really…
That’s it. Now, is there anything wrong with this picture. ABSOLUTELY NOT…if he’s performing for children. As far as a magicians for kids is concerned, there couldn’t be anything better than what’s in that picture. Balloons, a rabbit, a colorful suit, top hat and a magic wand. I would’ve loved that as a kid. But here’s the reality…I grew up, as do most people, I’ve learned. The problem is, people still think of magicians as what you see in that picture. You know what the bigger problem is? A lot of the time, they’re right. However, let me show you the biggest problem of all.
The truth is, there’s nothing wrong with the way that guy is dressed. He may sincerely be an incredible entertainer for adults. It all comes down to one very important element…material. That word right there is the reason that people either love or hate magicians. Does the material respect the audience? Understand that I’m not just talking about the “being polite” respect. I’m talking about the “don’t insult the audience’s intelligence” respect. Let me tell you something you already know…the tooth fairy is not real. Shocked? Probably not. Well, guess what? Unless I’m talking to a child, I really don’t reference the tooth fairy in a serious context in my day to day life. When I do a magic trick for someone, I like to show them something amazing, very much in the same way that I’d show someone a cool app on my phone. Adults like to see something cool, just as much as kids do, but one thing magicians need to remember is that it needs to be kept at an adult level. I don’t mean it needs to be off-color. I’m saying that using terms and phrases like “disappear”, “magically transforms” and “your card melts through all the other cards” is not the best approach. I knew by age 7 that things don’t disappear. Now, at the slightly older age of 31, my views haven’t changed. Well, any sane adult knows that I can’t make a coin disappear or cause their card to melt through all the other cards and come to the top, so why would tell them that like they don’t know any better? Penn & Teller talk about keeping a level of honesty with the audience and celebrating the fact that it’s just a trick and I don’t think a magician could do a nicer thing for their audience. Talk to people with respect and honesty and they will love you for it.
“I think everyone would love magic if they didn’t have to deal with magicians.” – Bryan Saint