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May 13, 2024 10 mins

Magician and comedian Justin Willman talks new Netflix show 'The Magic Prank Show' and more!

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Speaker 1 (00:00):
This is on with Mario Lopez.

Speaker 2 (00:03):
Seby Mario Lopez joining it down in studio magician and
comic Justin Willman.

Speaker 1 (00:07):
What's going on is that, Mario, Good to see you,
Nice to see you. How you been. I've been busy.
I've been on tour, doing doing the deal for the people,
spreading the magic across the nation, you know, Magic for
humans in person tour right now. And two types of
people who come to a magic show. First group, people
who love magic, love the way it makes them feel.
They don't want to know how it works, right. And

then there's the people that those people bring with them. Okay,
the skeptics. I could tell this guy's one right right
off the bat. He keeps checking his wallet. But it's
fun to turn those skeptics into into believers. You know,
I am a big magic fan. I think I told
you before. I'm a member of the Magic Castle. Yes,
I've heard, I've heard the sightings of you around there.

Speaker 2 (00:48):
I've always appreciated. I think it's cool and mixed with comedy. Man,
I think it doesn't get better than that.

Speaker 1 (00:53):
You and ad Alonzo Ed I know Ed. He's been
like an integral part of every show I've done this
cool magic prank show. As you know, I was able
to let him unleashed and he's making some crazy stuff.

Speaker 2 (01:08):
Oh that's great. Yeah, because magic and comedy, that's all
about him. All that's good to hear man. So you're
back on Netflix with an all news series magic prank
show you just mentioned. And do you always prank people
with magic?

Speaker 1 (01:20):
Is that? Is that required? Or you mix it up sometimes? Well,
you know, as a magician, I kind of look through
I look at things through that lens, and magic is
inherently kind of a prank, just just in general, you know,
like a trick, you don't know where it's going. Boom,
hopefully it's kind of surprise ending. And for years on
Magic for Humans, you know, we'd work hard on developing

these crazy tricks, but I would always feel a little restrained,
you know, like like there you can. You can take
things very very far, like like let's convince someone, you know,
someone's head explode. Like you can do crazy stuff with magic,
but it inherently gets to a mean point where where
it's like you're kind of like why why are you
doing this? So I was like, what if we did
prank show, but it's only for people who deserve it,

like they did something messed up in the past. So
I like took submissions. I opened my Instagram and people
dm me, like yo, my brother he used to do this,
terrorize me with this. My boyfriend is always texting while driving,
so that lets me sleep at night. So then I
can kind of It's like I'm a Robin Hood. It's
like kind of karmic justice. So it's a prank show

only for people who deserve it. And then I feel
like we can kind of go hard. That's there, you go,
you get that's it. I mean, just short of killing people,
we teach him a lesson.

Speaker 2 (02:33):
That might be next season. So family and friends, they
do it to loved ones, but loved ones who deserve
it exactly.

Speaker 1 (02:38):
I like it. I get it.

Speaker 2 (02:39):
What's the well this one? You've done anything?

Speaker 1 (02:42):
Well? So this guy used to terrorize his brother when
he would sleep growing up in Guatemala, Like he it
was his younger brother, and he would like hide under
his bed for a couple hours just to like jump
out and scare him. He'd hide in the closet and
and this dude, he just he'd lost sleep over it.
And he never never got an apology, and this is
like twenty five years ago. So I always wanted to

do a bit where we convinced someone that they have
time traveled to a post apocalyptic world. You know, now
that's subitious. So we convinced We got this guy to
sign up for a sleep study. Apparently this guy will
do anything for money. He signed up for like medical
studies before, for some quick cash. So we got him
to sign up for a sleep study that was totally fake.
He fell asleep in the sleep pod that he thought

he was focus grouping. Yeah, and while he was asleep,
we transported him to the desert and he woke up
like in a a post apocalyptic wasteland, like it was
like just Mad Max and like news clips playing in
very high tech weird stuff. And convinced him that he'd
like fallen has been asleep for ten years, Like while

he was in this sleep study, the world like some
sort of bad thing happened and he believed it for
it was about a good forty five minutes until I
was like, you know what a before this guy just
jumps off the cliff, Let's let's let him, let's let
him know what it was all about. They come out
my brother came out. Yeah, this drone landed with a box,
a small box, and all of a sudden, like this

big dude emerges from this box. So he was It
looked like some kind of weird teleportation thing. And the
guy took off the hood and it was his brother
and yeah, now it it was. It's a bit much.
I would say the show's a bit extra. Yeah, you know,
we go hard. Now. Besides the show, you're out on.

Speaker 2 (04:22):
The road, like you mentioned, doing your Magic for Humans
tour that is kicking off in June.

Speaker 1 (04:28):
So do you.

Speaker 2 (04:30):
Depending on the area, do you stay consistent with pretty
much the same show? You mix it up, you kind
of feel the crowd.

Speaker 1 (04:36):
How does that work? You know? It's funny because like
with comedy, I think people they want to see something new,
right if they've heard that joke before, they saw that special.
They when they come to see you live, they want
to they don't want to see the same thing. You
go to see your favorite band, Do you want to
hear the hit? The band wants to play the new stuff,
but do you want to see that? So with Magic,
it's kind of it's it's about in the middle a
little bit. People are excited, Like they bring their their

wife or their family to see that trick. They want
to see them freak out to that thing that they love.
But you also have to throw in a bunch of
new stuff. So Magic for Humans in Person is kind
of for the next month, and then I've got an
Illusionati tour starting up in the fall, and I'm hitting
all these cities that I did over the past couple
of years, So I'm going to have a whole new
bag of tricks. Fun fun.

Speaker 2 (05:17):
Now, when people come and see you, do you start
off with like a some sort of opening monologue. Then
you start getting into the magic or how does like
what can we expect if it comes here?

Speaker 1 (05:27):
Well, I I kind of call out the magic lovers
plus ones, you know, to two sets of groups like
I like I mentioned right at the beginning, and people
kind of instantly identify who they are. And because the
skeptics they think they want to know, you know, they're
kind of watching differently. They're not. They're not their guard
is up. They're trying to figure out how the magic
enjoy the show. Yeah, I'm like, listen, you don't want
to know. I have to break it down the moment

I'm like magic is like hot dogs. Okay, you don't
want to know, right, The more you know, the harder
it is to swallow. Really, you know, so because if
I told you hot dogs are made, you get sad.
If I told you, if you can figure out how
the trick works, you're going to be sad. So I
and show them how a couple tricks work, and they
get sad, and then of course I revealed that that's
not actually how they worked at all, and so the
magic lovers are happy, and then nobody trusts me, and

then we're all settled in Did you.

Speaker 2 (06:11):
Get into it by design? Is this something you always
wanted to do? Or did you get into magic by accident?

Speaker 1 (06:17):
Literally accident? Mario? I was riding my bike, well, wearing
rollerblades at age twelve. Wait, riding a bike while wearing Yeah,
sounds cool, and it sounds cool. It's not an XT gamemedia,
it's not an XT game sport. I was trying to
impress some girls. You know, the things you do as
an awkward teen. You were an awkward teen. Maybe I'm
talking to the wrong guy. I don't know, Mario. Maybe
at an awkward moment, at a moment I had an

awkward decade. Okay. And in the middle of that decade,
I was I fell off my bike with roller blades
on broke both of my arms at the same time,
and I was in cast for six months. I broke
one of them really bad. And my doctor when I
got the cast off, he prescribed magic. He recommended card
tricks his physical therapy. Really yeah, and that's how I
got into it. My parents were like, let's do it,
get this kid magic kit, and then you fell in

with it. Yeah, I mean, and if I did, can
you imagine if I didn't.

Speaker 2 (07:03):
The craziest story I've ever heard how someone got into
a career.

Speaker 1 (07:07):
You both and not to digress, but how was the
bathroom situation? Like the mom help? So I didn't have
this where they were both like posted like okay, I
had a cast up here up to my like left
arm pit and the right went up to my right bicep.
So I could I could wipe. I recall, I could wipe.
My mom didn't have to do all of that stuff.
You know. That's the vital thing that that happens multiple

times a day. It's a trick, but I mean, it's
it's a funny. My parents were so excited about this
versus like if it didn't work out, that's a malpractice
lawsuit waiting to happen, Like prescribe magic, you.

Speaker 2 (07:38):
Know, your honor in our cards always the first sort
of introductory kind of I think he and the doctor
wasn't a magician, but he was just thinking, like it's something.

Speaker 1 (07:48):
He could have in his pocket all the time. You know,
you can just do some card tricks. So it kind
of it kind of worked, and then I got into it.
I was doing tricks with birds and big illusions. I
was trying to impersonate Lance Burton and David Coppy. Is
it just a matter of of practice and studying? Did
you have or you liked that you have an apprentice
or yeah? Well I grew up in Saint Louis, which
oddly enough has like a big magic community. There's a

bunch of magic clubs, and there's like young magician meetups,
you know, and then there's like Sunday afternoon at Denny's,
like magicians hanging out. So I had these people to
look up to. I had mentors to kind of work
my way through, you know, like glean different tidbits of
information from. And then my parents My dad loved the
entrepreneurial aspect of it, like I could you know, make

money doing shows at a kid's birthday party or at
a Scout banquet or whatever. So it was kind of
like this, it became my thing, and I was the
only like this was in junior high. I was like
in seventh eighth grade, I was the only kid in
my school who did magic. So it felt like special,
Like I like, you know, kill on the talent shows.
You know, even if you're like the star athlete, you know,
there's a few of them, you know, like the basketball team.

You know, like it's rare to be the kid who
does that one thing and knew the only one. So
I went from being you know, just a wallflower to
being like, oh, he's the magic show us a trick,
you know, so I kind of got to I kind
of got out of my shell a little bit. Socially.

Speaker 2 (09:07):
Yeah, yeah, that's cool, man, that's cool. I know literally
a couple of card tricks. I want to learn more
and uh yeah, I guess there's videos and stuff YouTube
you can just kind of like go because this is
cool to have when you're drinking, when you're hanging out,
when you're playing.

Speaker 1 (09:22):
Do you consider yourself more of a magic fan and
a magic level or do you do you kind of
like to get the inside baseball? Like do you like
to go to the castle And I like to go
to the cat like and talk to a magician and
be like, okay, so like show me show me that move.

Speaker 2 (09:35):
Like, I don't want to know the big I just
want to know, sir. I want to know the easy
stuff that I can impress my friends with, just like that.
Don't show me your big stuff. Just give me some
easy stuff that I can impress my friends with really quick.
I just want to know that. I love the close
up magic. Thing I love about the castle too, is
it's always different, right, you always.

Speaker 1 (09:49):
Have a different and I'm sure you've seen enough magic
to know now, like you have your taste, like you
can you can spot good magic from bad magic, right
right right.

Speaker 2 (09:57):
They're pretty solid over there, though, over there, they're pretty solid.

Speaker 1 (10:00):
So I like it. And of course I'm drinking a lot,
so it makes it that impressive. Do you go there?
In performance? I go there? Yeah. I've been going since
I was like seventeen eighteen. I was like part of
their teen program in my late high school years, and
then I get up there a bunch I try to
go see Ed whenever he's there. I've got great, I've
got the buddies who I try to go check out.

Speaker 2 (10:18):
I got I got to take my kids. They've been
asking me because on Sundays. Yeah, you can take the kids.
It was just always a good time.

Speaker 1 (10:23):
Well, congratulations on everything, Man, look forward to checking you out.
Hopefully we'll catch you when you're in LA.

Speaker 2 (10:29):
Next time, everyone, please be sure to check out Justin
Willman's your Netflix show, The.

Speaker 1 (10:33):
Magic Prank Show, Only on Netflix. Justin Thanks to stop by,
always a pleasure. Right on Thank You with Mario Lopez
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