A recent headliner at Hollywood’s world-famous Magic Castle, magician and mentalist Andy Deemer brings his entertaining (and edgy) live virtual show. Interacting with audiences via Zoom, Deemer performs card tricks, makes objects appear and disappear, and even mails out predictions that purportedly come true to audience participants. How does he do it? Well, a magician never reveals his secrets.
But Andy’s Super Happy Fun Magic Show is more than a typical parlor magic spectacle.
“I’ve been doing elements of it for years, but it didn’t come together into one cohesive whole until the pandemic,” Deemer says. “I was really forced to think about how to perform magic over Zoom, where people couldn’t pick a card and things could be digitally enhanced. But with Zoom, everyone gets a front-row seat, so you can watch everything I’m doing super close and, hopefully, still be fooled and entertained.”
But there’s a dark edge to Deemer’s show, which dovetailed with the rise of conspiracy theories in the mainstream consciousness of America over the past year.
“It starts out as a very vanilla family magic show,” says Deemer, who portrays a version of himself, a kind of alter ego, in the performance. “For the first 60 or 72 seconds, it’s very cheerful and almost Pee-wee Herman-esque,” he says.
But, after that brief foray into happy fun land, his alter ego character realizes he has a captive audience and delves passionately into conspiracy theories, using magic tricks to convince the audience that they’re true or “to prove that there is government mind control and that drinking this concoction of Red Bull, coffee, Mountain Dew, and bear urine will actually increase your memory.”
One of the things of which this magic-performing theorist is convinced: the John F. Kennedy and Abraham Lincoln assassinations are connected to each other, and linked, somehow, to contemporary vocalist Taylor Swift.
“I’ve always been interested in conspiracy theories,” Deemer says. “I think they’re wonderful and entertaining until they become dangerous. And, over the last year, after I started doing the show, they’ve really become dangerous. QAnon has become a household conversation and fear of vaccines has become so prevalent.”
Weaving conspiracy theories with convincing feats of magic is Deemer’s way of highlighting the “truthiness” — to borrow a term from comedian Stephen Colbert — of statements presented as facts, regardless of evidence, logic, and rigorous intellectual inquiry. Truthiness is, in a way, the very thing that keeps us believing in the veracity of parlor magic.
Andy’s Super Happy Fun Magic Show takes place at 8:30 p.m. on Friday, June 18, and 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, June 20. Register at currentsnewmedia.org/events/andys-super-happy-fun-magic-show. The event is free.