Divertente intervista di Justin Willman del 6 aprile 2015 sul sito di Esquire, dove afferma:
Magic is like breast implants. We know they’re fake, but when done well they can give you a feeling of true wonder.
(La Magia e’ come un seno rifatto. Tutti sanno che è finto, ma se e’ ben fatto riesce a regalare vera meraviglia.)
Ecco l’intervista presa da http://www.esquire.com/entertainment/tv/interviews/a34164/justin-willman-magic/
Justin Willman is not your typical magician–or, at least, he isn’t a stereotypical one. Willman pairs comedy with magic tricks in a way that takes the seriousness and pretension out of the art form. In his new Comedy Central special, Sleight of Mouth, airing tonight, Willman does tricks for stoned people in a Los Angeles dispensary and collaborates with Paul Scheer and Doug Benson. “It’s formatted like the old Chappelle’s Show,” Willman says. “We start in the studio, do some magic, some comedy, and then we have pre-taped video clips. Doing magic for high people is surprisingly easy.”
Willman started learning magic when he was 12 while recovering from a rollerblading accident and has since perfected some genuinely incredible tricks. He’s jovial and seemingly normal, which goes against some of the preconceived notions society has about magicians. We asked Willman to help dispel some of those ideas and give us the inside scoop on what it really means to practice magic for a living.
ESQUIRE: What is the general reaction when you tell people you’re a magician?
JUSTIN WILLMAN: Typically, they say “What do you do?” and I say “I’m a magician” and they say “Oh, what instrument do you play?” I have to say, “No, no, no, a magician.” Their follow-up question is often, “But what do you do for a living?” Coming out to LA, after I lived here for a few years, people would lump me into this group with mimes and ventriloquists and sword swallowers. They don’t take you seriously because people very rarely get to see someone do the art of magic in a very human way. Magicians are often seen on the fringe of society, but there are a whole group of us who are trying to show that magic can be just as relatable as comedy.
When you tell someone you’re a magician, how often do they ask you to do a trick on the spot?
Always. When I’m traveling a lot the flight attendants will ask what I do and if I say I’m a magician then I have to do a trick. But if it’s a red eye flight and I haven’t slept at all, I’ll say I’m a comedian. And then they say, “Do a joke.” But if you’re a magician you should be able to do a trick anywhere, any time of day. And if it’s not the best situation to showcase what I do then I’ll offer them tickets to my show that night. Trying to do a magic trick right outside of an airplane lavatory isn’t the best viewing conditions.
How often do you use magic to pick up women?
When we talk about magic a lot of people think you use that to pick up girls. So therefore there’s this slimy connotation associated with it, like, “Oh hey, pick a card–my number’s on it!” So I think I’ve avoided ever having people think that’s what’s happening. I try to make magic the treat of the interaction or the treat of the flirt. I’ve never gone up and tried to do a trick to get a girl’s number, only because I feel like that’s what people expect and it feels slimy. That said, everyone loves magic and there’s no better way to break the ice and also have a skill that showcases your personality and comedy in a bar full of drunk people than magic.
Does everyone actually love magic, though?
People watch it a little differently. Some people love it for the right reasons: They love to experience wonder. They don’t want to know how it works. In this day and age, we know how everything works. We can Google anything and the answer is never really far away. Magic is a break from that where you get to enjoy mystery. And then there’s the people who watch the trick but don’t want to enjoy it because they want to figure it out and they feel like I’m challenging their intelligence, which I’m not doing. Those people are hell-bent on not enjoying magic and probably not enjoying their lives either.
Are you allowed to tell people how your tricks are done?
There’s no alliance like on Arrested Development. You’re not going to get kicked out of anything. But the whole point of creating this moment of mystery is to keep it a mystery. People think they want to know how it works, but really they don’t. How it works is never as amazing as what the trick was in the first place, so it’s never going to make you feel good. Somebody just wanting to know how a trick works is never enough to make me want to tell them.
When you bring an audience member onstage during a show, how do you select them?
I have to pick someone who is sober-ish. In the first five minutes of my act, when I get onstage, I’m scanning the audience for someone who looks like they’re going to be cool, laughing a lot, and doesn’t have their arms crossed. Someone who doesn’t look challenging to the magician. You want someone who will go with the flow and add to the trick, without trying to be funnier than you. That never works out well. It’s not a duo show. And I’ve failed a lot. I’ve picked out guys in the audience who I thought were going to be cool and they end up being that guy, that keg-stand frat guy who just wants to be the center of attention.
Is it true that magicians are lonely and bitter?
People have all these preconceived notions about magicians, like that they’re lonely and bitter or they’re socially awkward people. I don’t know what magician hurt all these people, but I’m constantly having to overcome all these stereotypes. So, no. I’m sure there are just as many magicians who are lonely and bitter as there are comedians, lawyers, or any profession.
Is there a stereotype about magicians that’s actually true?
I’m not sure. Basically the job of a magician is to do impossible things that challenge the nature of the universe. And I think some magicians buy into that perception a little too much. These days that turns people off a little bit. I’m not a wizard. I don’t have special powers. If I did, I would not be doing magic for a living! So maybe there is a stereotype that magicians believe their own hype. I had a girl come up to me at a show the other night and she said, “Hey, I know magic is fake.” She said it as if she thought I thought I was a wizard. There’s a lot of people who can’t figure out how to enjoy magic while simultaneously knowing that it’s fake. Magic is like breast implants. We know they’re fake, but when done well they can give you a feeling of true wonder.