December 31, 2016 - Saturday
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THIS KING REIGNS AT HARRAH'S
By Esther Lynn
These days, there aren't too many affordable family-friendly shows left on the Las Vegas Strip. For those seeking this type of entertainment, there is (thank goodness) comedy magician Mac King. King performs afternoons (another family-friendly idea) at Harrah's Las Vegas where tickets are priced under $20.00, a real entertainment bargain in the 21st century.
The Mac King Comedy Magic Show is one that is not only enjoyed by adults, but by children (five and older, please) as well. There are a few lines and jokes geared to the grownups that might have to be explained to the kids (or not), but things the youngsters should understand, they do.
In the vital statistics section of his bio, King informs that he was "Born: December 2, 1959, in Hopkinsville, Kentucky," and "Died: Once in Denver, Colorado, but that was a long time ago." It must have been when King was still an embryo. Inspired by both of his amateur magician grandfathers, Mac's career has been on a steady uphill climb since the days when he and fellow Kentuckian and close friend Lance Burton were performing magic together in theme parks while still college students. King was a frequent guest performer with Las Vegas headliners and in local variety production shows before landing his current gig at Harrah's in January of 2000. Originally booked for two years, not surprisingly his contract has been extended at least through 2006. Still much in demand around the country, King finds time to make an occasional TV appearance and do about 60 corporate shows a year for companies including AT&T, Dow Chemical, General Motors, IBM, Microsoft, Mutual of Omaha, Nissan and Sprint.
Thanks to his easy going, childlike manner, King finds plenty of audience members willing to join him on stage. (An interesting note: Mac met his wife of almost 20 years when she was an audience volunteer.) With his friendly demeanor, King doesn't embarrass his "assistants" and feigns surprise and bewilderment when tricks work. Penn & Teller call their fellow magician "a god" and the Las Vegas Review-Journal's entertainment critic, Mike Weatherford, declares The Mac King Comedy Show "the best of the afternoon shows." King has earned a number of impressive accolades, including the famed Hollywood Magic Castle's prestigious "Magician of the Year" award.
King is as adept at sleight-of-hand magic as he is with larger illusions. We won't spoil the surprises by describing all the illusions but we will say that Mac King could do for Fig Newtons what Steven Spielberg's ET did for Reese's Pieces candy. The well-known cookies make frequent appearances and disappearances in the pockets of his plaid suit and other unlikely places. One of the reasons for King's success and popularity may be that he, along with the audience, has fun with it all. Another reason is because, he makes it all look so easy.
Tyler Cohen, of Sherman Oaks, CA, was familiar with Mac King even before seeing the show recently. The bright 10-year-old (seen in the above photo with King) had been collecting the weekly Magic In a Minute comic strips from the Sunday newspaper (saved for him from the Las Vegas Review-Journal by his grandmother). Published since July 4, 2004, the cartoons drawn by Bill King, Mac's cousin, illustrate clever, easy-to-understand do-at-home tricks using common household items to accomplish the illusions. Tyler describes King's show as "Cool!" which translates into "really good" in kid-speak. The young fellow liked "all the magic and the funny stuff," with his favorites being the Cloak of Invisibility routine, bits using live goldfish (Nemo would be pleased), and a clever finish with a special gift for one of the volunteers. A fan of magic, Tyler enjoyed his afternoon experience so much that he plans to see the Mac King show again during his next Las Vegas visit.
As an added bonus, King comes out front after his shows so he can say "Howdy," pose for pictures and sign autographs. Of course it makes him happier if the items he is autographing are the imprinted T-shirts and copies of his book, Tricks With Your Head, for sale at the merchandise counter outside the showroom.
Mac King has a great looking Web site, found at www.mackingshow.com. (Watch for the mysterious character in yellow who sneaks across the bottom of the screen). Check it out.