Q&A: The Naked Magicians
Australian magicians and comedians Christopher Wayne and Mike Tyler performed for the first time together as the Naked Magicians on Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14 in Brisbane. Of course, it was Feb. 13 in the United States, and five years later to the day, the duo opened their first Las Vegas residency at Brad Garrett’s Comedy Club at MGM Grand.
They’ve come a long way since that first show. The Naked Magicians aren’t just funny or magical or sexy. Their show is the perfect balance of each element and it’s quickly finding a comfortable home at MGM, where the guys entertain Wednesday through Monday at 10 p.m.
It seems like Las Vegas is a great fit for your show.
Mike: A great fit, with Aussies doing magic and comedy and getting naked? (Laughs.)
Chris: When we had the idea for the show, the first thing was, someone’s done this. We got to Googling and no one had ever made a naughty magic show like this. Why hasn’t this been done before? And we’ve been doing it going on five years and there were lots of offers from Vegas. We decided if we’re going to do this, we want it to be the right casino, the right room, the right time.
What made this the right time?
Mike: We’d always been on tour. A room would come open but we’d have six or nine months of touring booked. This year we made the decision to not book everything so we could do this if it came up. It’s totally the perfect room, a nice intimate theater to start with at MGM Grand, the biggest hotel and casino in Las Vegas. Everything is falling into place perfectly.
Looking back five years ago, what are your thoughts on that first show?
Mike: It wasn’t sexy. It was kind of funny.
Chris: It was just a magic show that had a couple things sprinkled on the top. Through listening to our audience every night and getting feedback from industry greats and from our amazing producer, it’s developed a little every single night until it became sexy and hilarious. It’s like three equal parts now and none of them can exist without the others.
There’s so much audience participation. Does that make the show different every night?
Chris: For sure. There’s so much participation and it’s not all women. I saw this will all due respect to shows in Vegas but there are a lot of shows where performers get caught in that loop because they’re doing six nights a week for years. After watching magic shows here in the last few weeks I realized something we do that other shows don’t is we don’t just have volunteers on stage to help with a trick, they get power in the show. That’s what makes it fun. They get handed this power during the show and it literally changes the trajectory every night and keeps us on our toes.
How does this theater compare to the touring shows you’ve been doing?
Mike: We’re used to that size, 250-300 up to a couple thousand, but doing a show in the same city six nights a week, this is going to be the perfect size for us here, nice and intimate. Two thousand people is a lot of fun but things can get lost a bit. We’ve tried filming our show but it doesn’t really translate because you need to be there to experience it, so the atmosphere at the Brad Garrett Comedy Club is going to be perfect for a couple Aussies to get naked in and make people laugh.
Chris: The first thing I asked about is, can I do a comedy set. I want to be on that stage. It’s all about the energy and it’s not just us giving it, it’s that back and forth.