If you go
What: "Michael Carbonaro Live"
When: 8 p.m. Friday
Where: Embassy Theatre, 125 W. Jefferson Blvd.
Admission: Tickets start at $21.50; Ticketmaster.com
Michael Carbonaro blends magic and pranks for his TV series "The Carbonaro Effect," and he's bringing his antics to Embassy Theatre on Friday with "Michael Carbonaro Live." The show includes audience participation, video clips and live magic.
Carbonaro answered some questions via email ahead of his local stop. Responses have been edited.
Q. What do you remember about your first experience with magic, either seeing it or learning it?
A. My first experience was seeing a magic trick section in a costume and joke shop while I was looking for make-up for Halloween. When I was a kid, I'd go to a place called Tannen's Magic Camp every summer. It was a place with 100 kids just like me, and you eat, sleep and breathe magic 24 hours a day. And magic is one of those art forms where the mentor-apprentice relationship really works well. So there was no better way to learn magic than to be around professional magicians all day. And today I'm still close with a lot of the kids I went to camp with, and some work with me on the TV and live shows.
Q. What's the best prank or trick that has ever been pulled – on you? Or are you un-trickable?
A. I'm definitely not un-trickable, but it's rare, and I wish it would happen more often. That's one of the reasons I do what I do, for that feeling of astonishment. As far as pranks go, one definitely stands out. While shooting the TV show, the crew decided to play a prank on me in celebration of… my birthday. It was the end of a long day and we were all feeling pretty good about the material we just shot when I heard, “Michael, we want to try it one more time.” And in walks one of the most irritated Marks we've ever had. I'm usually pretty good at talking people in and out of things, but that wasn't happening. This woman just got more and more angry with me to the point where I didn't even get to the trick, I just told her that it was a TV show thinking it would calm her down. Her response was to start removing her clothing! The crew had just sent me a stripper! It definitely was not something I was expecting.
Q. Do you ever try to explore the cities you are traveling through? What type of activity or attraction do you look for when you have a few hours free?
A. Of course, half the fun is exploring a new place! I'm a foodie, and I love music. If there's a chance to see a great band, I'll take it. And if there's a restaurant I have to try, I'll try it. But really, after a long night of performing there's nothing we like better than to find a local diner and sit for an hour with a cup of coffee and a burger. Also, if there's one of those "once in a lifetime" things, it's a no brainer.
Q. What music/show/movie should you probably be embarrassed for loving, but you totally aren't?
A. I actually don't embarrass easily, especially when it comes to that stuff. And why should we be embarrassed? If we love it, we love it, and should be proud of it if it makes us happy. But if I had to pick one, it'd be listening to Hal Kemp. It's old-timey music, and most people would think it's a little nuts. But it's not; it's just fun. Play it first thing in the morning, how can you not at least giggle a little bit? I'm also not embarrassed that I've sometimes woken up in the middle of the night and just decided to watch "Terminator," or that I saw "Baby Driver" 3 times last month and have the soundtrack on repeat.
Q. If you had to eat a worm (like, you have no choice because it's the only cure to a zombie virus or something), how would you cook it? Or do you just let the zombies have you?
A. First of all, I'm a huge horror fan and have seen the "Thriller" video enough to know that being a zombie isn't all that bad, so let's assume I have to save someone else. I actually have a recipe for Tempura Worm:
1/2 cup of worms
1 tsp of butter
1/2 cup of crushed cornflakes
Dip the worms in the egg, then coat in the cornflakes. Melt the butter in a pan on high heat, and fry the worms for 3 minutes. You want them crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside.
The best part is that if you cut the worm in the right spot, it'll grow back, still fully cooked.