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Everyone loves a bit of magic – and no, we don’t mean all things Hogwarts and Horcruxes (sorry to those of you still waiting for your acceptance letter).
We mean stage magic, the kind you see performed in theatres and on TV across the world. The likes of Penn and Teller, Dynamo and David Blaine have left audiences dazzled by their daring and mind-blowing stunts.
While most of the time tricks go off without a hitch, there are occasions where all doesn’t quite go to plan. Thankfully, such rarities have been caught on live TV over the years, meaning we can relive some of our favourites again and again due to the wonders of the internet.
Here are some of the funniest TV magic fails ever.
Oh, Murray. What did you do? Everyone knows you have to at least try to play along – especially working with someone as brilliant as David Williamson, who started a card trick by saying there were three cards on the table. Six-year-old Murray quickly and honestly pointed out there was a fourth hidden under one of the cards, and it’s a beautifully awkward TV moment that quickly brings the trick to a halt.
2. It happens to the best
There’s no denying that David Blaine is pretty good at this whole magic lark – he’s had a lot of practice. But he’s also proven that sometimes things just go wrong, whether it’s a slip-up on his part or someone being used for the trick who just doesn’t quite get their part right.
Whatever reason, it’s always going to be awkward when the “Is this your card?” moment leads to the awkward realisation it isn’t – although bravo to Blaine here for managing to salvage something special.
3. Dynam-oh no!
Yup, it really does happen to the best of the best – and even illusionist extraordinaire Dynamo can’t escape the perils of live performance when it comes to carrying out a trick. This couldn’t have been more obvious back in 2016 when his famous phone-in-a bottle trick went very wrong, as attempts to call it failed and led to him hurrying them off stage after he embarrassingly had to admit that anything can happen.
4. Seeing double…
To paraphrase the great Krusty the Clown, we’re seeing double. Now look, comedy magic acts are wonderful in their own way, and researching this list threw up so many amazing magicians combining deliberately bad tricks with brilliant presentation.
This isn’t one of them.
A duck was loaded into a cannon, things went boom, and just as magic man Dave went to lift a sheet off a cage on the other side of the stage to reveal the bird safe and sound… it was seen waddling around near the cannon, totally exposing the trick and giving us all a good laugh.
5. Wingardium Leviosa-hahaha
If any of these clips can be described as genuinely cheek-aching, side-splitting, laugh-out-loud entertainment, this has to be the one, taken from an audition on America’s Got Talent.
Magician Dennis Keith promised to show off his skills in levitation, but we can only imagine he muttered the spell wrong as he lay suspended across two chairs, only to plummet from the ground when one of them was pulled out of the way. Painful, yes, but we’ve had it on repeat for the last 10 minutes.
6. As wrong as it gets
A bit gross here, but Polish TV show Question for Breakfast might be the best example of things going very wrong with a live magic act. Co-host Marzena Rogalska agreed to be part of a trick which sees the participant slam their hand down on a brown paper bag and try to avoid the one with a nail inside.
Marcin Poloniewicz got the bags confused, and we think you can guess where this one went. Not surprisingly, chaos ensued and nobody seemed too impressed with the former Poland’s Got Talent contestant.
7. Oh well, there you go…
“Oh, well there you go,” isn’t a phrase that inspires confidence, and amateur hopeful Paul Norris left everyone a little underwhelmed when he appeared on classic US TV show The Next Great Magician.
Although some of the very simple tricks came off, his sleight of hand didn’t quite work for his finale, as a card he was meant to make disappear just dropped to the stage by his feet. We can’t stop cringing.
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