Michael Carbonaro: Secrets of a Magician
The star of the prank show “The Carbonaro Effect” is best known for making people believe the unbelievable is happening directly in front of their eyes. He has convinced people that he can pull a bowling ball out of a flat box and that men can morph into pigs. Of all the tricks Michael Carbonaro—who stops by the Murat Theatre in Old National Centre on June 4—can pull off, his favorite isn’t making something disappear or pulling concentric rings apart, but bringing a family together. He loves that his show might be the one time that everyone from Grandma to the youngest child can get together on the couch and be amazed.
He loves to amaze people on stage even more.
“My favorite part of the show is bringing people up from the audience. It’s a real ring of fire,” Carbonaro says. “People think it’ll be really hard to fool them, but I do,” he added.
Although Carbonaro is known as a magician, it wasn’t his first passion. As a child, he wanted to be a special-effects makeup artist (like magic on the big screen, he says now). When he was young, he would shop for special-effects makeup at a magic store, and eventually just progressed across the store to the magic side.
“My love of special effects led me to my love of magic, and that led me to my love of performing,” he says.
In 2004, Carbonaro appeared on Chappelle’s Show, and his career took off when he played The Magic Clerk on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Beyond his work as a magician on TV he has been seen in a few films, including the starring role in Another Gay Movie, which was hailed as the gay American Pie.
His upcoming performance at the Murat will be his first time visiting Indianapolis, and he’s excited to show fans of his show real-life magic. He’s also looking forward to going out in Indianapolis. “I’m really excited to check out the nightlife,” he says.
Recently, Carbonaro responded to a Reddit comment about his prank show as being fake and relying on actors and clever camera tricks and not really shocking people or performing the tricks. He posted a video using a continuous stream of all cameras to prove that the in-show cuts were to give the best angle—not to hide anything.
He has said that his post to Reddit has been nothing but positive and has given him a lot of positive feedback. He feels frustrated by constantly going on trial for the show—but says it’s flattering to have people so in awe of the show that they’re sure it’s faked.
He emphasizes that, of course, everything he does is fake. But, he adds, “I’m doing magic tricks, for real.”
Carbonaro believes that it’s harder to pull off a hidden camera show today than it ever has been since people are so accustomed to seeing them on TV. Although smaller cameras such as GoPros would be easier to hide, he and his crew still use full-size cameras hidden behind walls or one-way glass to make the show look as good as possible.
Possibly the most interesting secret the magician revealed was that he, and the other top magicians, have a chip that has been implanted in their wrists. Similar to a microchip in a pet, he’s tracked when he’s inside a casino. He reports that it is a G-chip and thinks it might stand for “gambling.”
“It’s much smaller than one in a dog, because it only needs to work in a small area,” says Carbonaro.
Is he kidding? Like the spectators at his shows, we’re not sure what to believe.
Michael Carbonaro will be performing June 4 at the Murat Theatre. Doors at 7:30, tickets $36.50 available here.
If you can’t make it to the show, you can catch Michael on “The Carbonaro Effect” at 10 p.m. on Wednesdays on truTV.