“My Nephew Does a Few Tricks. Why Should I Pay YOU?”

“My nephew knows a few tricks. He’s been watching “The YouTube”. Why should I pay YOU to entertain my guests?”

– An email I get. Quite a lot. (OK, so I may have edited it to sound more passive-aggressive.)

Two things happened this weekend to make me think about this question – the first was being asked this question in an email and the second was a party I performed at yesterday.

First, the email. I get it. If you think that the measure of a magician is just the tricks they perform, it can be hard to see the value in paying a whopping £2.57 for a professional entertainer (only kidding, I actually charge £35,835.99, plus mileage and my rather excessive pastry allowance), rather than have precious Tarquin (and his 38 minutes of extensive internet browsing) do it for first dibs on the buffet.

When you book a magician to entertain your guests, you’re putting your trust in someone to interact with your nearest and dearest.

And even your Uncle Dave (don’t worry, everyone has one. He’s weird, but if you don’t invite him, he’ll turn up anyway).

You’re choosing someone to represent YOU, not only in the tricks they perform but also in their:

  • Manner of approaching guests
  • Friendliness
  • Number of rude balloon animals they know
  • Attire
  • Degree of rankness in their body odour
  • Appropriateness of humour

The actual tricks we perform are just a tiny part, and that’s not even taking into account all that goes before the booking – the things that give you peace of mind – insurance, paperwork, and the countless leg massages.

I could have the best trick in the world, but if I open up my show at the WI with:

“What up, bitches…”

I’m probably not going to have a good gig.

I certainly didn’t in Kidderminster.

My ASBO expires in 2022.

Yesterday, I performed at a Golden Wedding Anniversary (or “4 life sentences – hard time” in prison slang).

Most of the guests were of pensionable age or older.

This age group can be tricky.

Older people have a lot of life experience, but, more than that, they are not the mild-mannered, polite characters Disney and Pixar movies portray them to be.

They are MONSTERS!

They’ll call you out.

They’ll challenge you.

They won’t let you get away with ANYTHING!

Some of my best performing moments have been with this crowd. They give you stick, you give it back.

For an experienced performer, it makes life fun.

For an inexperienced performer, it’s a terrifying nightmare.

There are no YouTube tutorials on how to deal with confrontational, magician hating pensioners.

There SHOULD be, but there isn’t.

Tarquin doesn’t stand a chance…

…so don’t feed him to the lions. He’s got too much potential for that.

Just book a professional instead.