Magicians that Inspire Me

Early on in his career, Jerry Seinfeld did something amazing. He was given he opportunity to create his own sitcom and had to hire a group of leading actors. He could have easily taken the ego driven road, and hired people that were average and made him look like an actor who was effortless, but he didn’t. Instead he hired some of the countries top comic actors all for one reason..to force him to work harder. He knew that you didn't get better by working with performers who failed to challenge you. You get better by working with people that are better than you.

I learned this early on in my training days at Second City Chicago. Every time I had a great improv scene, it was all due to the fact that I was on stage with supportive improvisors. There is nothing that kills a scene (or creativity) more than a group who doesn’t work with one another.

Three basic rules of improv that translate to any performance driven career:

“Yes, And.”

“Avoid Negatives”

“Trust and support your partner”

And working in magic is no different, you have to work and befriend people who support you and make you work harder. It is easy to coast and never challenge yourself. But there is no better motivation than working with people who inspire you.

I have hundreds of performers that inspire me, and I will continue to post more magicians and performers that I think are brilliant, but for now here are three of my favorite magicians who you may or may not know.

Mark Toland

Mark Toland

www.marktoland.com

Mark has a brilliant way of performing Mind Reading that will convince you he has real magic powers. He is a solid performer who captures the audience’s imagination with a combination of comedy, on the spot crowd work and clever magic techniques. Mark is one of the most clever magicians I know, and continues to push the boundaries of mind reading and magic in a way no one else is.

Kardenni

Kardenni

www.kardenni.com

I have had the pleasure of working with Dennis Friebe or “Kardenni” for the past three years at Disney World’s Boardwalk. His stage presence and performance style combines minimalism and magic in a way that relies on skill rather than over used gimmicks. He approaches magic from an actor’s perspective and because of this he can capture an audience before he has even shown them a trick. Kardenni has a great skill of tapping into an audience’s imagination effortlessly.

Jon Armstrong

Jon Armstrong

www.cardjon.com

Jon Armstrong is in my opinion one of the greatest close up/card magicians…ever. That’s not to say his stage show isn't as equally as brilliant. He recently gave a stellar performance on Penn and Teller’s Fool Us and is a regular at Hollywood’s famed Magic Castle.  Jon has literally done everything one can do with magic including perform world wide, consult on movies and tv, lecture for other magicians, co-create his own magic themed comic book “Smoke and Mirrors”…but I don’t think he has the intention of stopping any time soon.