Becoming an Entertainer with David Williamson
January 18th, 2018
comedy, comedy magic, david williamson, entertainer, magic
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We are here with a very special guest this week. David Williamson is an incredible comedy magician and sleight-of-hand master. David first fell in love with magic as a kid when he read a short story about Harry Houdini. He learned the French Drop and his teacher said “maybe one day you’ll be a magician.” He feels that he was bitten by the bug early and he had no other choice but to follow his passion.
He was totally obsessed with it from a very early age. Amateur Magicians Handbook was hugely important for David. Harry Hay pointed out in that book that magic requires an audience to become real. It’s an empty practice without someone else. David was painfully shy. But he forced himself to get up on open stages at bars at the age of 15.
David’s stage style is very organic because he thinks he doesn’t really have an act. It’s just attention seeking. Get attention and keep their attention. When someone looks at their watch in the audience it kills him. He does a lot of corporate clients early on and he realized that focusing the attention on the people in the office was more important. Eventually his act became more focused on the audience. He doesn’t do a monologue. He immediately starts audience interaction. It’s play time.
David thinks it’s very hard to give advice to up and coming magicians. There are as many paths to success as there are magicians. He once had an older magician tell him not to pursue his dream to be a professional. But he totally ignored that advice. When asked he tries to talk young people out of it. If they don’t have the fortitude they will give up.
Being overly picky about the audience isn’t necessary. David just has one question: Are they human beings? If so he can perform for them. But he does have different styles for corporate clients or children. David is known as being one of the funniest magicians performing. But he insists that everyone has a sense of humour. Magicians just need to figure out how to enhance their innate sense of humour. You just have to commit to the gag. Don’t wink at the audience. The only way to get the genuine laugh is to forget about being the cool guy and committing to the gag.
Turning a trick into a performance isn’t easy. But every trick has a narrative unto itself. Ideally, you can include a twist at the end. Combining two effects can sometimes achieve that surprise. But you have to ask yourself: “Why should people care?” What is the emotional hook that will draw the audience in? If you can touch them emotionally you will truly connect with your audience.
What do you want to ask the question?
Where did Mayer Effetz’s finger end up?
What do you want to tell our audience?
Stop doing a double-undercut. David hates that move.
Who should we have on the podcast?
What did you like about the episode?
Tyler liked hearing that you always have to be a student.
Jonah liked hearing about how David fell out of love with magic for a while but eventually reconnected it.
David loved all the praise.