Jonah is joined by Erik Tait to discuss his brand of magic, producing magic for Penguin, and venturing into the world of live stream events.
Erik Tait is a top graduate of Toronto’s own Humber College Comedy Writing and Performance Program, has appeared on Penn & Teller: Fool Us, and was the 2018 International Brotherhood of Magicians Gold Cups Close Up Competition Champion
Juggling At The Comedy Barn and Sneaking Into Stand-Up
Erik Tait did not start out to become a magician, he started out as a juggler. In middle school he met the juggling duo Jessie and James who got him onto the path of becoming a professional juggler. After landing a job at the Comedy Barn, as a juggler, he soon found himself working the magic booth selling magic products and having to put on shows to customers to demonstrate. Thanks to a friendly ventriloquist who taught him what he needed to know he soon found himself as a magic pitch man.
But the bug hadn’t bit Erik yet and rather than magic it was stand-up comedy that Erik was drawn toward. That eventually led him to Humber College’s comedy program where he learned the business of comedy as well as the craft of sketch, clown, mime, dance, tv production, and comedy writing. It was here that he came to learn that performance is a craft as much as it is an art.
Good at Comedy but Great at Magic
It’s ok to not be great at something you love. Erik was a good comedian but after years of trying to make his career break out his partner took him aside and pointed out that as good as he was at stand-up comedy he was great as a magician. Within a year after leaving stand-up comedy behind he had appeared on Penn & Teller: Fool Us, won the IBM, and landed a job at Penguin Magic producing their video content for magic demos.
It’s Ok To Not Be Great At Something You Love
Erik admits that he’d love to be a mentalist but is never going to be good at that. It’s ok to recognize that some people are just going to be better at some things than others. You can still enjoy doing that thing you love, even if you’re not good at it, as long as you’re not hurting yourself or those around you. Erik is also really bad at playing Fortnite, for example, but that hasn’t stopped him from streaming his example of terrible gameplay on his twitch channel.
But finding that thing you are good at and honing in on that talent can be very rewarding, even if it’s not the first choice on your list. It took Erik years to come around to accepting magic performance as a legitimate choice for him and it meant leaving behind comedy, juggling, and accepting that he was never going to be a mentalist, no matter how many angora sweaters he buys.
Nick Locapo. He’s one of the best close up workers who doesn’t know he’s one of the best close up workers in the country.
What do you like about modern magic? What do you not like?
Erik likes the awareness and they are affected and a part of the culture and society around them. With the Black Lives Matter and Me Too movements happening there are real growing pains that are important and as difficult as it has been for some to face in the mirror, it’s ultimately going to be a good thing.
Erik does not like the inexorable passage of time. He regrets not approaching and talking to magic masters he almost met in the past and he knows that one day people that admire him won’t be able to approach him either. So seize the moment and talk to your heroes when you have the chance.