The Millionaire's Magician
September 10, 2014 11:47 AM   Subscribe

Most people have probably never seen the magic of Steve Cohen, who for 14 years has held court in a private suite at the Waldorf-Astoria, to sold-out crowds of "celebrities, royalty, government officials, and other VIPs." But bits of his "Chamber Magic" show are available online to marvel at.

From a Vanity Fair profile: If it’s Vegas-style magic you prefer—in the Criss Angel-vein—Cohen’s understated approach might not be to your liking. There are no special pyrotechnical effects, no lasers, no loud rock music with bands that have umlauts in their title; all that stands between the audience and Cohen is a few feet and a silver dollar, a tea kettle, or a single pack of cards.

Video appearances: CBS Sunday Morning, David Letterman, Stage Rush, and History Channel's "Lost Magic" (that clip from a two-hour special Cohen hosted for the channel.)
posted by jbickers (31 comments total) 27 users marked this as a favorite
 
so THAT'S what happened to Gilderoy Lockhart!
posted by The Whelk at 11:51 AM on September 10, 2014 [9 favorites]


Lots more than those four via YouTube, of course, including some audience reaction videos.
posted by jbickers at 11:51 AM on September 10, 2014


Thanks but most of his audience has been making my money disappear for years.
posted by hal9k at 11:53 AM on September 10, 2014 [12 favorites]


Making trinkets disappear and reappear? Mere sleight of hand. He's got a regular gig in a private suite at the Waldorf? Doing card tricks? Now that's magic.
posted by Slap*Happy at 12:00 PM on September 10, 2014 [6 favorites]


"And for my next trick, I'll need a wallet, how about yours sir....."
posted by Fizz at 12:07 PM on September 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


Yeah, sure guy: I was just watching the Willie Nelson card trick, now that was tight - and of course it led me to magic done Ricky Jay and, well, sorry Mr. Cohen I'm sure you've got a sweet gig cut out for yourself but from the videos you got a little more work in the woodshed to do.
posted by From Bklyn at 12:08 PM on September 10, 2014 [2 favorites]


let him continue top amuse the 1%...I don't need to view him on YouTube, a place I guess he believes for the 99%. Perhaps, like many of those he entertains, he can bring his act offshore and remain there.
posted by Postroad at 12:09 PM on September 10, 2014 [2 favorites]


sold-out crowds of "celebrities, royalty, government officials, and other VIPs."

So tickets from $85 and up. Cocktail attire required. Not more than three kids per adult. Seems fairly manageable, also for mere mortals.
posted by effbot at 12:10 PM on September 10, 2014 [4 favorites]


Yeah, I evidently gave the impression that you have to be a politician or millionaire to see his show, meant to convey just that many of them have.
posted by jbickers at 12:12 PM on September 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


Lots of hatorade for this guy because of his audience, apparently. He needs to make money, right? Unless he can magically summon housing, food and health care.
posted by grumpybear69 at 12:13 PM on September 10, 2014 [13 favorites]


I thought I knew most of the magicians running around New York (my spouse is one of them), but I have never seen this guy.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 12:15 PM on September 10, 2014


yeah I asked my Magician-nerd friend *he might know your spouse* and he's never heard of him.
posted by The Whelk at 12:21 PM on September 10, 2014


For a good five minutes, I thought this was SAC's Steve Cohen, and thought, "wow, that DOJ investigation must have been more financially devastating than I realized."
posted by Atrahasis at 12:37 PM on September 10, 2014 [4 favorites]


You know Mike Sacks was my favorite list author in Mountain Man Dance Moves and I just can't tell if he's being winky with, I’ve always wondered what the link is between comedy and humor, or if it was an honest mistake and one of those words should be 'magic.'
posted by carsonb at 12:54 PM on September 10, 2014


Funny, I've never seen him mentioned in Poof magazine.
posted by valkane at 12:55 PM on September 10, 2014 [6 favorites]


Are there any other performance videos of the coin trick he performs for Stage Rush?
posted by LSK at 1:19 PM on September 10, 2014


Illusion, LSK. A trick is something a whore does for money...
posted by hal9k at 1:36 PM on September 10, 2014 [3 favorites]


And yet tricks are for kids.
posted by grumpybear69 at 2:06 PM on September 10, 2014 [4 favorites]


Money is for kids, what's your point?
posted by oceanjesse at 2:11 PM on September 10, 2014


Urg, you have to wear a suit and tie to go? :-(

> A trick is something a whore does for money...

As a magician, I always hated that joke. First, magicians call them tricks all the time - but more, the general technical term for tricks is "effects". Illusions means large scale stage tricks and even a super-bad magician would learn that.

(Oh, and I also hate that joke because I've heard at least a hundred times...)
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 2:33 PM on September 10, 2014


So if he markets himself as the "Millionaire's Magician," court performer to the .1%, don't any of his patrons object to his terribly déclassée affectation of Morning Dress for a midnight performance?
posted by CHoldredge at 2:41 PM on September 10, 2014 [5 favorites]


In the first link, they show the conclusion to a trick where an audience member thinks of a city while Cohen rips up a map until there is just a wee shred. Then he pins the correct city the audience member was thinking about on the wee shred. I'd love to see this trick in full.

Magic tricks make me nervous. I'm always worried that their going to gob it up and select the wrong card or something.
posted by One Hand Slowclapping at 2:46 PM on September 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


I'm the same way, One Hand Slowclapping. It's why I could never (again) bring myself to attend an open mic night at a comedy club.

I wonder if there's a supercut on youtube of professional and/or amateur magicians botching tricks? I'm almost positive such a thing exists, but I'm almost afraid to go seek it out.
posted by Atom Eyes at 3:01 PM on September 10, 2014 [2 favorites]


Isn't he wearing a morning coat on the late night show? tsk tsk.
posted by kenko at 3:11 PM on September 10, 2014


Isn't he wearing a morning coat on the late night show? tsk tsk.

Between that and the vigorously self-promoting as the "Millionaires' Magician", let's just say I was not shocked that it turned out that he went to Cornell.
posted by Copronymus at 4:24 PM on September 10, 2014 [3 favorites]


As a magician, I always hated that joke. First, magicians call them tricks all the time - but more, the general technical term for tricks is "effects". Illusions means large scale stage tricks and even a super-bad magician would learn that.

(Oh, and I also hate that joke because I've heard at least a hundred times...)


It's not so much a joke as a reference? In context the joke is about how much of a blowhard Job is (Ref).
posted by malphigian at 5:09 PM on September 10, 2014


It's not so much a joke as a reference? In context the joke is about how much of a blowhard Job is.

Gob.
posted by mr_roboto at 5:27 PM on September 10, 2014 [3 favorites]


A friend gave me front-row tickets to a show he did at the Willard Hotel in DC. There were maybe 40 people in the room.

A few things to note:

1) I am 100% a scientist, and do not believe in magic, ESP, or anything like that.
2) I have absolutely no idea how he did his "illusions." Clearly, there is stagecraft there, but man oh man, is it some kind of stagecraft. I have never been so impressed.

Honestly, the only rational explanation I could come up with was that me and my date were the only people in the room NOT in the show. I saw the map trick, referenced above. Again, the only way it make sense is if everyone else was in on it except me. For another trick, he did a series of connections between people in the room based on tangential things they wrote down- someone wrote "blue shirt," for instance, and he connected them to someone who wrote "I'm feeling blue." And was FUNNY about it! I have no idea how he knew what I wrote down on a folded piece of paper that I could see the entire chain of custody for. (Mine was "thrown out of a bar in Kazakhstan," which is a true story, as requested. I tried my best to trick him. I failed.)

The friend who gave me the tickets is a microbiologist at MIT. I'm convinced he just needed someone else to believe what he saw. I feel the same way now.
posted by zap rowsdower at 6:01 PM on September 10, 2014 [9 favorites]


Copronymus: in terms of Cornell, it's all true -- Steve Cohen does show up in the Alumni Directory and apparently he and I lived in the exact same horrific dormitory (I was 4 years earlier, and I hated it and still do). Ricky Jay, of course, is also a Cornell alumnus, so it must be something in the frigid, hateful water up in Ithaca.
posted by Vcholerae at 6:03 AM on September 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


the Letterman trick seems all boring obvious sleight of hand until the big reveal at the end, pretty cool
posted by Bwithh at 8:00 AM on September 11, 2014


you know who else was a Cornell Alumnus?
posted by From Bklyn at 8:10 AM on September 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


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