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Nothing Up Their Sleeves


It's a good Sunday when you spend the afternoon trying to stop yourself from directly calling or emailing children to piss wildly on their dreams simply because you can.

I watch an assload of documentaries when I'm home and generally it's because I hope to enjoy them - unlike regular television which I often times watch just to hate. Hate is entertainment too.

In order to understand how a simple documentary on teenage magicians taking part in a contest can bring me to the brink of calling or emailing those same teens to tell them how much they suck, you have to understand a few things.

First and most obvious is that you have to understand how (shitty) magic is and how wildly delusional magicians are about what they do.

Another key is to understand how easy it is to find the people from documentaries on the internet, either the documentarian or his subjects. These people aren't celebrities. If a Kevin Bacon movie makes you angry, you can't just pull up his name and number on Google in a fraction of a second. But a teenage magician...?

Yes - if I hate magic so much why would I watch a documentary about it? Frankly - on the off-chance that the documentary was mocking it. I watched "Jesus Camp" as an atheist and was thrilled with the results.

But no such luck with this one. This one was magic at it's most magician-y. In the first three minutes you are shown a montage of professional magicians hurling lofty quotes about their own craft such as...

"Magic reminds us that the universe is a huge, capital 'M' mystery."

No it doesn't. It reminds us that some people will do anything to get people to look at them. The universe never springs to mind at all, ever.

"It's a specific state of mind when your world view is shattered for a second."

This goes into footage of someone doing a pedestrian coin-disappearing hand trick. Which of course shatters your world view.

"Magic... on a significant level and a more deeper impact, it is changing people's lives. When you are able to do the impossible, there are no obstacles left in your life anymore."

Yes but you don't do the impossible. You have the dexterity to hide a coin between your fingers while wearing spangles. It's extremely possible, as are the obstacles in life. Idiot.

Now a montage of the teenagers in the contest.

"I found something that came naturally to me, came easy to me and blew people away, made a lasting impression, made people wanna talk to me, made people like me."

Magic doesn't make people like you. It makes people watch your hands to figure out where the coin went. If they don't like you without doing magic, you have a long road, son.

"Maybe that's what we're trying to do with magic - is trying to find out who we are as a person."

Um... yeah. You'll figure that out by hiding a silver dollar. Jesus fuck.

Now comes the Japanese kid.

"When I can't communicate with language, I can use magic. Because magic is borderless."

Remember this next time you are overseas and can't find the bus station - just pull a string of chinchillas out of your top hat. It's an international language.

You can see now why I'm already in a state of vomit-shock in the first three minutes. Or maybe you can't. Regardless, I now had to watch the whole thing. And while I watched, I Googled the most annoying of them and all had email contacts and most had phone numbers for bookings.

I didn't call or email any of them - maybe because I'm a better person than that or maybe because Bingo kept yelling at me for even thinking of doing it.

But just being on the verge of shitting on their happiness, I understand every piece of hate mail I ever received. I'll settle for simply imploring these young magicians-in-the-making to lean more towards the Penn Jillette and less towards the every-other faggots who seem to believe they are mystically doing more than spinning plates in a uni-tard.


Chris Cavanaugh was a fan in Seattle who just died of cancer. His friend emailed last year to tell me about it so we drunk dialed the cancer guy and he wouldn't believe it was me. I dont know why - my name isn't really Make-A-Wish caliber. If your friends are gonna pull a gallows prank on you, you'd hope they'd go a lot bigger.

He came to the show last August and then had it beat for while but it came back and ate him dead. He was late-20's/early thirties. Just saying, have fun while you're still around. Don't take shit so seriously. Osama bin Laden? Royal wedding? Magic? C'mon. Do you really give a fuck?


Bingo was wearing my "Abortion is Green" shirt in Newark airport waiting to board while I was off getting snacks. Some bearded snoot evidently started in on her about it's meaning and was mid-histrionics when I got back. We were on our way back from the UK in the middle of a 17 hour haul and I walk into Bingo trying to repeat my Abortion is Green bit and throw in what facts she can muster in a haze of miles and sleeping pills. When she saw me behind her she sighed, quit and said "Ask him."

I half-heartedly tossed out some statistics on carbon footprints and fossil fuels - the two sentences being the extent of my knowledge and then boarded while he yelled "Maybe your parents should have aborted you!"

Sometimes it's better to get home than fight.


If you didn't catch this on your own or on my Facebook... this is a fantastic story. Yes, it's sad and tragic BUT... as far and sad and tragic goes...


Thanks for keeping your asses in the seats and spreading the word.


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