Let’s talk about the glorified life of an entertainer. I get to travel for a living performing comedy Magic and Hypnosis shows for the college and corporate markets! People often comment on how “cool” it must be to stay in hotels and rack up those frequent flyer miles and eat at great local restaurants. It’s true that I get paid to travel and to make people laugh by performing comedy magic and hypnosis show and I absolutely love what I do but at times the travel gets to me. For those of you who don’t travel often or rarely travel for work it’s not as glamorous as it seems.
During my busiest times I can be gone for 10 straight days. These days are filled with airports, car rentals, hotels (if I’m lucky) and lots of coffee. I have to bring huge and heavy bags with all my magic and hypnosis props and equipment. Many days I am a couple hours away from the airport and have to drive through the night to catch an early flight to my next destination. Many of those nights I either grab a quick hotel just to shower and then get to the airport and sleep an hour or two on the airport floor (it certainly beats having to rush to the airport at 4am!). My son has actually told people on many occasions that I live and work (perform magic and hypnosis) at the airport. Many days I am exhausted and need a caffeine fix in order to keep my energy level up but I wouldn’t change it for anything.
As each school year comes to an end this is when I look back and reflect on my shows throughout the year. I make a point to write down some notes from my show after each performance. This allows me to look at which jokes and tricks are killing it on stage and which ones are not getting the LPM’s (laugh per minutes) that make a funny, entertaining and successful comedy magic or hypnosis show. As I go through my notes I start thinking about what I can do to improve my product (Josh McVicar Comedy Magician and Hypnotist). Many times I will be researching new effects that fit with my performance style and then decide to add that new magic trick or hypnosis skit to my show as I phase another one out.
The hot summer months in St. Louis, MO are the best time to add this new material. This is also the time of year that my traveling has slowed down allowing me to practice and rehearse until perfection. My wife often jokes that our house has been taken over by a production company during these times as our living space has props, sound equipment and video cameras all over. I should mention the more creative I become the more my creativity spills about the house. That being said it’s during those hit summer months that I have the time to really improve my magic and hypnosis shows for the upcoming school year. One thing I have learned after 15 years in the entertainment industry is that you have to continually improve and adapt to your clients needs…along with the ever changing market.
Rehearsal is common in the McVicar household! I tend to revamp and rehearse my college, corporate, hypnosis, and kid magic shows during the summer. Summers in St. Louis, MO are super hot with terrible humidity so it’s the perfect time to lock myself into my studio and take out material that is no longer working and add any new jokes and amazing magic tricks I have been wanting to try out.
Sometimes rehearsing in our house can be difficult as we have two young children who find my props fascinating. So this year when I was working on some new material for my kid magic show I decided to see if my 2.5 year old son could help and he became my rehearsing buddy. He recently started showing an interest in what I was working on and would even sit through a short routine or two. This is great when I need genuine kid feedback for a new magic trick. I was excited to perform it for him for the very first time. So I performed my new magic trick which required his participation and he did great! He laughed, participated when needed and most important for a kid magic trick was that I was able to hold his attention for the entire trick!!
It was so much fun to perform for him and know that this new kid magic show trick was definitely a great new addition to my show. The only problem and possibly a lesson for me is that when performing a magic trick for my kid, trying to avoid performing magic tricks for him that involve food. Especially kid food in bright kid colored packaging. You see the new kid magic trick I added to my kid magic show involves the use of the Trix cereal box. Even though my son has never had any Trix he somehow knew it was something deliciously sugary. After I was done performing the magic trick he asked to eat some because it was “yummy.” After explaining that it was only for the magic show and not to eat he broke out in hysterics. Lesson learned. (On a side note, my wife feeling bad for him, let him try some and it confirmed what he expected…that cereal was very “yummy”.)