Magicians are an example of entertainers who have it easy. A person can buy a trick at the magic shop and perform it within a few minutes. It’s basically show and tell. “Look at this thing I bought.” It works immediately. It gets applause right away.
What we get from great entertainment is human connection. We get a story and a tribal learning. We get heart.
Because magic works so well out of the box, it creates a false early reward that easily blocks that connection and rewards a performer not willing to pursue empathy. Other performing arts, like mime, are unwanted initially, so mimes need to fight to find out what the audience wants.
All performing arts are on this spectrum from immediate response to kinda hated. The magic to mime scale.
Here’s where I say the opposite
Like I said in the “Do what you hate” blog post, I am fascinated by the potential of magic. Great magicians have it hard. They have to get past the fake early validation. They also have to stand up boldly in a landscape of easy-adopters. They have to then, figure out how to do something that people haven’t seen. Then, they have to bring empathy.
Jugglers have to deal with some of this too, but magicians dedicated to greatness are really swimming salmonwise up the river of shallow performance. That’s why great magicians like Henning, Copperfield, Carbonaro, Blaine, Willman are such standouts. I’ve gotten to see and become friends with so many greats that are not as popular too! They battle it all and give us heart. That’s why they give us that good feeling.
Magicians suck. People are awesome. We want to connect deeply with people. Give us the good stuff. No matter how easy it is to get started we gotta keep striving to find the humanity in what we do.