Bad Magician

Glossary of magic show terms

Magician popping a balloon with a kid in San FranciscoSan Francisco trade show magician, Paul Nathan gives you a break down of the different types of magic shows and what they are called in the industry.


Magicians, event planners, agents, and managers have specific terms for types of magic shows. Here is a glossary of terms so you can speak their language when talking about a show.



Close up show. The magician performs small magic tricks with coins cards, or other small objects. This type of show can be performed on a table surrounded by guests, or strolling amongst your guests (see strolling magic).


Strolling magic. The magician strolls amongst your guests performing small tricks with cards, coins, cigarettes, and other small objects.


Parlor Show. This is the kind of show you would see in someone’s living room. Small to medium sized tricks. Often uses volunteers.


Children’s show. Fast paced and fun for younger children. Often performed with a lot of audience participation and accompanied with balloons for all the children.


Comedy Magic. The name says it all. The magic is integrated into comedy routines. The focus of the show is on the comedy as opposed to the tricks. The best comedy magicians do mind blowing ticks with a lot of laughs.


Illusions. An illusion show is performed by an illusionist. Usually accompanied by an assistant and often a few stage hands. In the performing magic world an illusion is a big box that someone gets into or something comes out of. Cutting a woman in half is the classic illusion. Levitations, vanishes, and appearances are other common illusions. Illusion shows are usually performed on stages.


Box – Illusion – sometimes a small illusion appropriate for a parlor shows.


Box Jumper – An illusionist.


Dove Show – A show in which the magician produces a number of live doves.


Bird Act – See Dove Show, above.


Mentalist – A show in which the magician gives the impression that he can read minds, tell the future, or divine the past. Be aware… They can not. This is just for entertainment.


Schmuck – Any magician!

Paul Nathan is a San Francisco trade show magician and presenter with 20 years experience. Paul had produced more than a million leads for dozens of companies resulting in over a hundred million dollars in revenue directly attributed to his marketing expertise. You can find out more about Paul Nathan at:

When you are looking for a magician for hire in San Francisco, Paul Nathan is your best choice.  Comedy Magic, Trade Shows, private parties, corporate events, festivals, and more. 415 701-7285

San Francisco Office: +1 415 701-7285
London Office: +44 20 3239 3960
Mobile: +1 415 407-9223
VOIP: +1 415 230-0232

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