The Burnaby Kid writes:
Figured I'd toss this out there, since SN was asking for interesting story submissions. I'm a professional magician working abroad, and I've been indulging in this incredibly geeky performing art for almost two decades. One problem that happens a lot when it comes to magic is that the nature of secrecy means that we don't get open dialogue with the muggles we perform for, and that leads to us getting into this weird sort of insular and incestuous discussion with other magicians, which ends up warping our minds to the extent that we start doing moronic things like... oh, I don't know... referring to our audience members as "muggles". We get into some pretty weird debates, and I've been trying my best to argue for raising the bar, such as by suggesting that we need to be more sensitive about what you guys like, such as by making sure that if we pull out a deck of cards, we've got something to perform that can compete with Card Through Window. And yet... Maybe I've got it wrong? What DO you guys like? If you like watching magicians perform, what do you like about it? If you don't, why not?
Typically Penn and Teller don't reveal the main trick. They come up with a bogus explanation for a simpler trick they do, and then perform the proper trick, for which the explanation won't work.
The level of the simpler tricks is stuff that you could find in magic books in ordinary bookstores anyway.
And they are far from the first to do that. There's the classic Chinese Sticks, where the magician pulls a string on the end of one stick, and the string on the end of the other stick retracts. They "explain" the trick by implying that the string runs down one stick, then across, then up the other. But of course that's not the real way it works, and soon the magician separates the sticks completely and performs the trick again.
But the fact of the matter is, THEY ENTERTAIN! I just find THEY are very good and very entertaining... on a level that I find beyond many magicians. They say "aren't we good" without the smug looks and "ooh aren't we BIG" act.
Dunno... i just like those guys... Teller, who is a VERY good magician, and Penn who can run the patter exceedingly well.