If you’re not reading Nick Lewin’s Blog, you are missing out. He just put out a post called “new rules for magicians 2021“, which are 8 rules for magicians. Each of them is solid advice. I want to comment on his first one, which is:
New Rule #1 Realize that not everyone is fascinated by Houdini.
This is 100% true. It’s just a name, not someone that YOU are personally acquainted with. Using Houdini in most instances is a lazy way to find a hook. Usually it’s used in an escape and someone says that they will escape faster than Houdini did. Let’s make an analogy, if I went to see an show and the signer said they were going to sing 9 to 5 better than Dolly Parton, that doesn’t draw me in at all. Just sing the song.
One rule I’ve had in my show for a long time is that I don’t mention any other magician in my show. There’s a reason for that, most people don’t have a connection to that. Not too long ago a local magician had a huge bit where he described a trick that Criss Angel did, but then he related that to a just ok coin trick. Watching this, my impression was that he told me about a TV show he watched where a magician did a way better trick than what the local magician is about to show me. Mentioning the magician took away from the trick.
I think the one exception to mentioning another magician is if you have a relevant personal reason to do it. If you were on Fool Us, then mentioning you did the trick for Penn and Teller makes sense. If you invented a trick for David Copperfield, then mention it. Name dropping those has meaning, just mentioning another magician because you were too lazy to write something better is just that, lazy.