Forget about all those endurance tests Blaine does. We all know the psychology behind that and why every single person reacts the way they do, even when the endings to those tests end a bit anti-climatically. It’s downright amazing that ABC would allow Blaine a long two hours for his show (something that probably won’t happen again after the abysmal ratings), even though it did offer the opportunity to remind people that Blaine is still a magician through and through. The endurance tests are only one part of the whole picture with this guy who apparently still practices slight of hand maneuvers in the mirror. But Blaine also has a deep understanding of psychology and knows exactly where to go to get the best possible reactions to his tricks.
There isn’t any doubt that Blaine may be the best street magician on the planet. You might get that assumption on the surface based on the reactions he gets on the streets. Have you noticed, though, where he usually goes to do those magic tricks? Most people might not notice readily, though it’s almost always in places where he apparently hung out in when younger: The slummy parts of the city.
Why this is significant is because almost every trick you see Blaine do on his specials is actually widely available on the market for purchase online or in your local magic shop. While there shouldn’t be any derogatory thoughts in mind, you have to realize that the people Blaine plays to in the streets are mostly lower income, and they have no idea of the magic tricks that are available on the market (usually with inflated retail prices). Whether Blaine does that deliberately is up for debate. If he does go deliberately into seedier parts of America’s cities, he knows the reactions will be more significant based on the knowledge those people have never seen those tricks anywhere else before.
It’d be interesting to see Blaine go to swankier parts of a particular city to see what the reactions would be. You can be sure that people there would be a bit more blasé and not flip out as you get in the seedier sides of town. In fact, if you saw Blaine at a magician’s convention, you’d likely see a collective shrug of shoulders from Blaine’s peers who would merely utter a “Yeah, I have that.”
Well, those sourpuss magicians may have the trick in their collection, but they probably don’t have the prowess to make it entertaining. Some might accuse Blaine as being the anti-performer, meaning so low key that it seems that he’s not really performing. That subtlety of his actually serves him well as a way to draw people in as well as a great diversion tactic. If you know the secrets to slight of hand, watch some of Blain’s street magic tricks carefully to see how fast he really is. Even so, he understands the psychology of people to the core, hence making him much more sophisticated than playing the role of the down-to-earth entertainer.
On the flip side of things, Blaine did have actor Orlando Bloom and musician John Mayer on the show who seemed to be equally startled at some of the tricks Blaine did. Yes, that gives the thought Blaine could easily do any well-known trick on the market and make it seem fresh and interesting. It’s really all in the presentation through Blaine’s original style that differs quite extensively from the more flamboyant magicians of yore. In a different time, a magician doing street magic would talk to the gawkers in a more garrulous way while cracking supposedly witty jokes. For Blaine, he could easily blend in with one of the audience members.
He also would probably explain to us that the reason he goes to the slummier sides of New York City is because he can relate to those people better rather than doing it just to get a stronger reaction out of his audience. What people don’t know for a magic show, though, is all for the better. You certainly have many working magicians in America who only have budgets to do traditional tricks and frequently have to endure the mockery of kids (and adults) who know exactly how they’re done. If those middle-class magicians don’t offer a new twist on those tricks, it can be a tough gig just to make a few hundred dollars playing a birthday party.
If Blaine continues to have more TV specials (hell, David Copperfield didn’t even get two-hour specials back in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s), he should go to more affluent parts of New York City to prove how he can wow anybody rather than just those who don’t have access to magic tricks often. His sense of presentation is a master class in how to not only fool people all the time but also how to get the wildest audience reaction any magician would give their top hot and cane for to have at the simplest magic show…