On February 25, The Naked Magicians come to The Vets in Providence, bringing with them the only R-rated magic show in the world, which is a sexy combination of comedy, mind blowing magic and of course, some nudity. I was lucky enough to have a one-on-one with the charismatic duo Christopher Wayne and Mike Tyler in advance of their performance.
Katie Lewis (Motif):When did you first get into magic and who was your inspiration?
Christopher Wayne: We’ve both been professional magicians — me for 10 years and Mike for eight. I’m 32 now, and I got into magic as a kid. My grandfather used to show me magic tricks growing up, and that’s what kinda planted the magic bug in me. When I was 21 or 22 I decided I wanted to pursue magic as a job. And before you answer (gesturing to Mike), we share an inspiration that comes in the form of David Copperfield and even Jerry Seinfeld for comedy. But with Copperfield, apart from the fact that he has the most amazing show on the planet and unbeatable work ethic, which we both aspire to. David is responsible for being the person to take tricks and put an emotion behind them. He loves telling stories. For us, we want to make magic the most fun thing, and I think the most outrageous thing. Because we’ve adopted that version, we have 500 to 2,000 people at every show who wouldn’t normally go to a magic show. We took an approach at magic that put emotion and energy behind tricks, and we just happened to grab something that hadn’t been done before, and that was a sexiness and cheekiness.
Mike Tyler: That is pretty similar to mine. I’d say the only difference is, I got into magic to try and get a girlfriend. I’m still single and traveling the world doing this show, so hopefully that changes soon. But definitely David Copperfield was an inspiration to get into magic. He takes a trick and turns it into a magic theater art form.
KL: Whose idea was it to do the act naked? I read that some audience members asked if you could make your clothes disappear. Is that the story?
MT: That was definitely part of it because my name is Mike and I do magic. So when the movie Magic Mike came around, everyone would tease, “Oh you’re Magic Mike. Make your clothes disappear,” and all sorts of stripper-related jokes. Can we see your magic wands? Can you make my husband disappear? We wanted to create a show that would attract an audience that otherwise wouldn’t attend a magic show. So rather than do a show for families, we wanted to see something different and create a different audience. What better way to get that girls night out crowd than to do the world’s naughtiest magic show and be naked on stage while we do it?
CW: The crazy thing was when we had the idea, we thought someone must have done this. Magic is the second oldest profession next to prostitution. But no one had done a naughty magic show ever and so we thought we’ve stumbled upon something — this is either gonna be the best or worst thing that ever happens to us, and it changed our lives.
KL: Did it take long to get comfortable on stage naked?
CW: It was terrifying!
MT: Yes, it was.
CW: I almost vomited the first time.
MT: I remember the first night doing the show. It’s not sexy, but we were sweating profusely and it was a hot night back home in Brisbane, Australia. Because we had both been successful clothed magicians prior to the show — Chris was doing family shows and he had his own TV series back home doing magic for kids and I was doing high-end corporate shows. So when we decided to do the naked show, we kinda had to go all in. If it didn’t work out, no one was gonna want to book us for family shows anymore, so it was a really big risk. But once we were on stage and we started getting naked, there was an eruption of clapping and cheering. It’s amazing how much that positive feedback can make you comfortable.
CW: There was a really cool feeling of acceptance, as well. I felt invincible after. If I can do this, I can do anything.
KL: Does the audience see full frontal or do you manage to keep some of your parts a mystery?
CW: By law, we cannot show our penises in the US, so we have to carefully navigate that. In saying that, no one has ever gone home hungry after the show.
MT: Thirsty, though.
CW: Yeah we always have to cover that 3 inches, I mean, 8 inches.
MT: No 3 inches sounds right … from the ground.
CW: Whether it’s a hand, a card or a bunny, we have to be covered by something in America, but we’ve done shows in Australia, Hong Kong, New Zealand and Scotland and just been all out. Unfortunately, we can’t do that here and we want to get invited back. It’s a hilarious comedy show and it has some of the most amazing magic you’ve ever seen.