Difference between magic exposure and education: Effort

November 19th, 2008 | Joe Hadsall | Filed Under General

This video has been circulating for a few days now. It features Joshua Jay, a slick ambitious card routine, a sudden, visual change that is fast becoming a staple among performers and a quick way to fix the economy. But nestled inside is an fascinating exchange on exposure.

At about 6:20 in the video, Naamua Delaney goes for a “gotcha moment” and mentions that she thought magicians weren’t supposed to reveal secrets, yet they are all detailed in his book, “Magic: The Complete Course.” Jay handles the moment adroitly, and discusses an interesting take on magic exposure. Go ahead, click the video and watch some sweet sleight of hand. I’ll wait. (Warning: The video is wonky on my computer; click here if it doesn’t pop up right.)

Did you catch the key word? “Effort”:

“It all boils down to one thing, and that’s effort. If you’re watching TV and the “Masked Magician” in tights and a mask exposes tricks show, he’s handing them to you. These people didn’t ask for those secrets, they have no interest in magic. On the other hand, if you check out my book from the library or get it in a bookstore, you’re showing effort … at some point there’s this crossover between learning and wanting to be a magician, and just wanting to know how stuff is done. In my opinion, if you check out (my book) you’re going to be investing the time and energy in putting these tricks together, and all of a sudden it’s not exposure. You’re a part of the art form and I’m happy to share.”

The author of the fascinating and eclectic Law and Magic Blog disagreed, noting that the Masked Magician and his brand of exposure might trigger a viewer’s interest in magic and encourage further study. From an entry featuring the interview:

“People who watch these kinds of shows are asking to have the tricks revealed, just as people who read magic books are asking to have the secrets revealed. The difference I see is in degree, not kind.”

On an unrelated note, The Heckler is one of our favorite Jay videos. Enjoy.


  1. i am a magician i have been doing magic for about six years now and i am really getting tired of the masked magician revealing all these tricks in my opinion most of the people who watch the show have no interest in learning magic they just want to know how its done i think it would be much better if the masked magician wrote a book or made he’s exclusively on dvd or some thing

  2. Quick hits: Angel to Disneyland, Jay can’t catch a break, Card art featured, Blaine in trailer | Ellusionist Magic News on:

    […] him, “But you’re selling them in your book!” The same thing happened to Jay in this interview, only CNN’s Naamua Delaney didn’t hit on Jay like Gifford does. Enjoy: .msnbcLinks […]

  3. Benjy Cohen on:

    I have one one occasion revealed a trick to a 10 year old boy who had shown an interest in magic for the past few months. I showed him a basic trick then recomended him to ellusionist.