Magician, Daniel Martin, impresses the crowd with his pickpocketing. CSS student, Johan Alm, also volunteers to help with a later act where Martin turns a $1 bill into a $100 bill. (Cable Photo/Maggie Grob)

REVIEW: Daniel Martin: Insane Magic and Sarcastic Improv at CSS

Sarah Devine

Who could hate a night of magic and free, all you can eat nachos? Magician Daniel Martin paid a visit to the College of St. Scholastica on Wednesday Nov. 30, beginning his show with a video of himself performing a variety of magic tricks on airplanes, where he said he spends the majority of his time. This included stringing a pretzel onto a closed circle, connecting a broken oreo, and the standard ‘“is this your card?’ trick.” Surprisingly, it wasn’t a cheesy video, and ended up being a great start to the show.

Voted Entertainer of the Year by CAMEO Publishing, Martin most definitely deserves the title. Martin’s stand-up has been featured on CBS, NBC, WGN, VH1, and ESPN.

Martin started magic when he was six years old. As a child living in Chicago, he said that he didn’t have a lot of money, so to practice magic he would pickpocket people’s watches and wallets. Martin then verified it by showing a picture of young him at a police station, having his mug shot taken. However, there seemed to be something about him that made this story hard for me to believe, probably because he does misdirection for a living.

Later in the show, he elaborated by telling us that his grandparents were the first ones to give him a magic kit and the people who brought him
to the police station for the mug shot.

No one likes seeing an audience member on their phone during their performance, and Martin was no exception. He called out an audience member for doing just that, made him stand up and let Martin record a video on the phone and trapped his phone in a balloon as a punishment. And with that, the audience cell phones disappeared for the rest of the performance.

Magic seems to be a difficult skill to acquire and even harder to incorporate into a comedy routine, but Martin did a fantastic job of interacting with the audience and performing his tricks simultaneously. There was no awkward silence from a fallen joke or failed trick, and his tricks were unique to him and contained a flare that showcased his incredible talent.

Martin’s best trick was having one audience member read the mind of the other. He dismissed one of the volunteers from the room and proceeded to tell the secret of the trick to the audience, a secret we were all sworn to keep. The only thing that I can say is that this was hands down his most successful trick of the night, and sent the audience into a frenzy unparalleled by any other trick that has been performed at CSS.

Next, Martin showed a pilot episode of MTV’s Cribs, in which his crib was featured. Although it was a spoof video, featuring a popular hotel in Chicago, it was actually a part of an incredibly elaborate trick which became obvious as he began to write words on a large poster board. Those words were: Ace of Spades, Water, Hawaii, and a licence plate made up of only numbers. Ace of spades was the card he pulled out at the beginning, water was the drink an audience member named, Hawaii was a place another audience named, but most impressive was the string of numbers from the licence plate which were the same as the serial number on the dollar bill.

The show ended with trick that Martin used to play with his grandpa, who passed away a few years ago. He asked the audience to call a grandparent they were close to, to participate in this trick. He said that if your grandparents answered, but wasn’t the first one to answer, to tell them you love them and that you’ll call them tomorrow. While Martin did not get Grandma Donna’s card, his grandfather did. On the back of the three two dollar bills that were in this wallet was written “three of diamonds.”