Mac King remains young at heart
When Las Vegas Magazine, recently caught up with Mac King he was preparing to pack his cloak of invisibility in his bag of tricks for a few dates in Connecticut and Massachusetts. It was a rare chance for King to play the role of plaid-clad magic ambassador of Las Vegas, having been a mainstay of daytime entertainment on the Strip for two decades with his 1 and 3 p.m. resident shows at Harrah’s.
The Mac King Comedy Magic Show is family friendly—sophisticated and sharp enough for adults, but also compelling enough to lure kids of all ages away from their electronic devices and social media for the length of time it takes to watch a feature film. Illusion, as if by magic, brings people back to real life. “If that’s true, it’s doubly interesting to me, because you’re using something that isn’t real. I don’t really have magic powers,” says King.
Don’t tell that to fans of Harry Potter and Game of Thrones, though. “Every so often I’ll have a kid come in wearing full Harry Potter gear,” says King. “They’re coming to my show because they’re interested in magic. To them, Harry Potter is magic, so they’re wearing the glasses and the cape. Sometimes they’ll have little lightning bolts on their foreheads.”
King also draws kids into more traditional garb, sporting top hats, capes and magic wands. He resonates with the age demographic that can’t quite rationalize the existence of Santa Claus but holds onto the belief that there is magic in the world. He also blows away people who may at first be skeptical of an act featuring tricks with Fig Newtons and goldfish, performed by a guy who looks like Captain Kangaroo’s grandson. To quote one convert’s tweet, “I did not wanna go at first, glad I did now.”
That’s a common sentiment among adults who have been brought along by family members, according to King. His stage presence is unassuming and accessible, emphasizing the elements of the show more than his persona. “I want the magic to be as strong as it can be, and the comedy to be as strong as it can be,” he says. “It’s a tricky combination to bring off sometimes.”
The combination includes the most dangerous trick of all: bringing kids onstage. At one point, he brings a young audience member onstage, then catches a fish out of the air, dropping it in a glass inches from the child’s eyes.
“Sometimes their expressions are so great,” says King. “The look of wonder on their faces is so gratifying to me. Their jaws drop and their eyes are wide open, and they hold that pose. They’re not pretending. It’s completely genuine, their reactions. And the audience can see it. They’ll laugh a little bit, then they’ll applaud just because that kid’s face looks so happy.”
For a guy who claims to not have supernatural powers, King effortlessly makes a good percentage of his audiences believe magic is real. And he’s got the only authentic cloak of invisibility in town.
Harrah’s, 1 & 3 p.m. Tues.-Sat., $37.95-$47.95 plus tax and fee. 702.777.2782