Houdini, David Copperfield, Penn, Teller and… Mike Norden? Well, he doesn’t make cars disappear or send tables flying around the room, but he puts on a good show nonetheless. No one ended up in two pieces; the side-splitting going on last Tuesday was of a different kind.
Before the show started, he decided to warm us up with some “comedy.”
“Does anyone know any knock-knock jokes?” he asked, eyes scanning the crowd for any eagerly raised hands. “No? Too bad. Okay, I’ll do some. Knock knock!”
“Who’s there?” the crowd replied.
Knowing what was coming, I groaned.
“Interrupting cow who–”
“MOO!” he yelled, sending the kids grouped at his feet into fits of laughter.
The next few minutes went like this, with kids and their parents slowly filing in through the door as Norden spouted seemingly endless streams of awful jokes to keep everybody entertained.
At last, when everybody had shuffled around and sat down, the act began.
Norden started by stating the rules to the tykes, and promising prizes to those that were well behaved. That turned out to be pretty much everybody, as the show seemingly went off without a hitch.
He showed of his skills by making things disappear, switch places, and generally doing everything magicians do, but sillier. A number of times during the act, he reached into his magic box for a cloth, only to realize it was a diaper and throw it back in. Several kids assure me that this is, in fact, comedy gold.
To top it all off, he even got a few kids to join in and help out with some tricks. Nothing pleases the fans like audience participation; just ask the WWE.
Once the show was over and the bunny back in the box, I talked to the magician himself about his act, magic, and a few other things. Mike himself, as expected, is extremely likeable. You don’t do children’s shows if you’re a sourpuss. I was curious about how he got into magic; his response was both interesting and unexpected.
“I don’t have any cute stories about an uncle who pulled something out of my ear.” He confessed as he packed his supplies into a case. “It all started one day when I was bored in Disneyland.” (Cue scoffing) “I saw a magic shop there and ended up spending half the day inside. When I got home I had a couple of nieces who wanted me to do some tricks for them, and it kind of snowballed from there.” I also couldn’t help but ask if he’d ever had something not quite go as planned.
“You mean have I ever messed up?”
He grinned. “Oh, plenty of times. The thing is, unless you see my act again and again, you don’t know if something went wrong. If I drop something or break something, I can just roll with it and pretend it was part of the act. A few times, I’ve even had something happen that was funnier than I intended.”
When all is said and done, that makes for a good show. If you ever need someone to do a (possibly unintentionally) silly magic show, give Norden a call. He can be found at www.magicshows.ca. As his website says, you’ll be glad you did.