When magic tricks go wrong

People frequently ask me “Does it ever happen that your magic tricks go wrong?” Obviously, the answer is no, I am a consummate professional and everything always happens exactly as I want it to!

OK, maybe I’m lying just a little there. If you do something often enough, things invariably don’t always work out just as you want them to. I’ve had my fair share of mishaps and sticky situations in the past. I’ve been performing magic professionally for quite some time and usually if there is a mishap my experience helps me to figure out a way around it, but occasionally I have to admit defeat.

Just a few weeks ago, I was performing after-dinner magic at a corporate event, and I had invited a gentleman on to stage to help me out with a trick. I didn’t realise quite how much he’d had to drink and at one point, he decided it would be funny to drop his trousers on stage for everybody to see. Luckily, I caught him just in time and managed to deal with the situation before things got out of hand!

Every performer will have to handle things going wrong at some stage in their career. I’ve pulled together a few of my favourite moments where this has happened on TV. Enjoy!

Never work with children or animals

David Williamson is one of my all-time favourite magicians (I wrote a separate post about him a short while ago.) Several years ago, David starred in the TV show “Comedy Magic Strip” when this happened. It was so funny, they decided to leave it in the show.

This may be one of the reasons I don’t do children’s parties!

Don’t drink too much

Paul Zenon isn’t actually drunk in this clip. But it does happen in a pub, involves a pint of beer, and ends in quite a messy situation.

I performed a similar trick in my younger years for a school show when I was a budding magician. I used a glass of water and a similar accident happened. Whoops.

Be sure you can do what you say you can

This guy quite literally sets himself up for a fall on America’s Got Talent a few years ago. It’s a bit cruel, but I can’t stop watching this. Hilarious.

Safety first

I was a little dubious about including this one. It’s not funny like the others, but a good example of why you should always ensure the safety of your participants when performing. A little warning before you watch this, it’s a bit disturbing so don’t watch if you’re faint-hearted.


Make mistakes the basis of your act

If things continually go wrong when you’re performing magic, why not make it the basis for your act? That’s what Tommy Cooper did, quite brilliantly. Here’s a clip of him performing one of the routines he was famous for, where a glass and a bottle magically change places. That’s what’s supposed to happen anyway.

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