This week Jonah connects with Doc Dixon to talk about comedy in magic and the work that goes into getting those laughs.
If you’ve been in magic for a while then you definitely know the name Doc Dixon. He is a creator, a thinker, a performer, and a worker. He has appeared on Penn & Teller’s Fool Us twice (and fooled them once!) and you’ve probably seen him at a convention or you’ve seen something he has come up with.
In this interview, we learn about what he loves to do. We talk about being a worker, we talk about writing, we talk about creating magic, and so much more.
Comedy Is Simple, Deception Is Hard
Making magic funny is pretty simple for Doc Dixon. Did they laugh? If they didn’t, then it’s not funny! Doc Dixon talks about how he builds jokes into his routines and how he discovers where the laughs will be from audiences on virtual performances to making Teller laugh out loud on Fool Us.
Do Good Magic
Throughout his career, Doc Dixon has set out to do one thing. Do good magic. He’s a big believer that it’s not about the number of tricks you can squeeze into a performance but that it’s more important to know your timing and understand how long new tricks will take up in your act vs old tricks where the routine has accumulated jokes over time, “like barnacles on a ship”. Understanding your routine, it’s timing, and where the personality lies in your performance will always be more important than the number of tricks you have at your disposal.
Never Too Late
When the pandemic hit and every live show in the world was cancelled, Doc Dixon thought he could wait it out. And he kept waiting. And waiting. And pretty soon he was worried he had waited too long. So he reached out to Jonah and the Toronto Magic Company and signed up for the Upgrade Academy to polish up his business skills and launch his virtual magic business. He learned how to market his show as well as learned who to market to, as he soon learned that the audiences that attend virtual shows are different than the audiences that did, and soon will again, attend live in-person shows.
Charlie Frye. He’s great at magic. He’s a great juggler. He’s a great artist. And he’s a kind person… he’s gotta be a serial killer! (Doc Dixon clarifies that he’s joking).
What do you like about modern magic? What do you not like?
It used to be that everything about magic was clouded in secrecy like a secret society. Now the information is available to everyone to learn and share, even if you have you weed through a lot of useless information.
It’s sad to see performers that expose tricks just for youtube hits.
Take home point
If you want to have a piece that’s really good, you don’t have to keep looking for new magic. Take that piece you’ve been doing a long time and focus on it and work it. The jokes, the comedy, the bits, are going to expand while it gets smaller in some weird wonderful way. You’re going to take out the dead weight and you’re going to put on new stuff.
Dixonmagic.com where you can also follow Doc’s latest blog post.
If you’d like to stay informed on Doc’s upcoming writing projects, the best thing to do is subscribe to his newsletter at dixonmagic.com/contact where you’ll also be included in special messages that he only shares with those who subscribe.