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Knoxville, Southern USA, Turkey Creek

ALL TRICKS AND QUITE A TREAT: BEN YOUNG BRINGS HIS SHOW TO PINNACLE PUMPKIN FEST

Young will perform a few new tricks at his Comedy-Magician act at Saturday's Pinnacle Pumpkin Fest in Knoxville. Photo by Alex Cawthorn.

Young will perform a few new tricks at his Comedy-Magician act at Saturday’s Pinnacle Pumpkin Fest in Knoxville. Photo by Alex Cawthorn.

Though Comedy-Magician Ben Young is bringing his magic standup show to the Pinnacle Pumpkin Fest on Oct. 25, attendees shouldn’t expect an average magic trick showcase.

The self-proclaimed “Comedian and Superhero” of East Tenn. has recently been looking to expand his portfolio of magical abilities, both on stage and off. Performance-wise, Young filled ETEB in on some new tricks coming to stages soon, as audience members keeping up with the act will see. However, the marketing and strategic tricks up Young’s sleeves support the real genius behind his local presence.

A Different Direction

Young works to make his shows unique by showcasing tricks and feats that have never before been performed in exactly the same way. Photo by Alex Cawthorn.

Young works to make his shows unique by showcasing tricks and feats that have never before been performed in exactly the same way. Photo by Alex Cawthorn.

“My shows are unconventional in that it’s not what you’d think of as a normal magic show,” Young told ETEB. “That’s something that I’ve been trying to go for for years, but now I think it’s going to take an even more radical turn. I was thinking about creativity recently, and I have a theory. You can either do what other people do, but do it in a different, way or you can do something that no one else is doing and do it however the hell you want.

“When you look at magic, there’s the same seven categories of tricks, and that’s it. You can destroy something and you can restore it, you can levitate something, you can make something vanish, you can make something appear, you can make something change into another thing, you can make something move from one place to another, and that’s it. There’s nothing else you can do. And so because of that, a lot of magicians have the same tricks, and they perform the same specific tricks. So what I’m trying to do is take the trick that everyone is doing and make it so that it’s not even recognizable or just come up with something weird that no one else is doing, and then I can just do whatever I want and then I don’t have to worry about stepping on anyone’s toes or anything like that.”

Personal Comedian Superheroes

Young incorporates humor into every show, whether in the form of jokes or laughable situations. Photo by Alex Cawthorn.

Young incorporates humor into every show, whether in the form of jokes or laughable situations. Photo by Alex Cawthorn.

Now, Young is looking to his past inspiration in order to shape future performances. With influences from acts such as stand-up comedian Steve Martin, he has begun to study the people and tricks that have molded his stage persona.

“Steve Martin really changed how I viewed things,” Young said. “It stuck with me for a long time, and now I have everything that’s ever been on TV with him…and it’s so cool to see. But I feel like lately I had sort of forgotten about all of that, and I feel like my show was sort of taking a different turn from all of that, and it felt more contrived.”

Young’s reminder of his first “Comedian Superhero” came when he recently viewed Bo Burnham’s 2013 “What.”

“What Bo did was remind me is sort of my ‘roots,’” Young said. “So now I’m actually looking at my show and sort of changing things and making it a little more off-the-wall, which is a lot more fun.”

For the short term, however, Young is looking to alter his performance strategy as a whole.

Customizable Strategy

Young plans each show around the audience he will be performing for, down to catering individual tricks to individual audience members. Photo by Alex Cawthorn.

“What I do now is I customize things,” he said. “This is something that I’ve been developing over the past couple of months as well. Everything’s changing and it feels amazing, it feels great. That’s my thing now, that I customize every single show that I do. It endears you to your audience. I’m actually going through and looking at how I can change each show. It’s a lot of effort, but it’s amazing and it’s so much fun. It’s incredible because people see, ‘Oh, wow, he’s not phoning it in. This is not like the show he did last night—it’s not generic.’”

In order to come up with new ideas for this individualized route of business, Young has committed to multiple means of inspiration. From November until December of this year, he will be working under the title of “Magic Demo Boy” at the Smoky Mountain Opry in Pigeon Forge. He will be demonstrating the instruction of tricks for sale in the gift shop while working on material of his own.

“I’m going back to a lot of tricks that are classics and beginner magic, and I’m trying to come up with different presentations for it,” Young said. “Working on my feet is going to improve ridiculously. In terms of customization, I have to read the person that’s around and ask, what trick would work for them? Should I be pitching something for them to learn or should I be pitching something for them to give to their kid or their grandkid, or do I want this little eleven-year-old boy to get a trick that he can fool his sister with? […] I just take these bags home and I’m learning these tricks, and I’m like, how can I make this work? It’s a lot of fun.”

Moving Forward

Young will be attending the It Factor LIVE conference in Philadelphia in Nov., where he will pick up some new tools to improve his marketing techniques. Photo by Alex Cawthorn.

Young will be attending the It Factor LIVE conference in Philadelphia in Nov., where he will pick up some new tools to improve his marketing techniques. Photo by Alex Cawthorn.

In the midst of job and show development, Young is also actively taking time to improve his marketing techniques. For five days in Nov., Young will be attending a conference in Philadelphia for 25 magicians looking to expand their marketing skills.

While Young looks for the key to success in marketing, comedy, and the Smoky Mountain Opry, he is still managing to book local shows for the present. This Saturday’s show at Turkey Creek will exhibit spooky tricks with a Halloween feel from 4-8pm.

“There’s going to be a lot of stuff at the festival,” Young said. “It’s going to be fun for the whole family. They’re going to have trick-or-treating at the businesses, there’s going to be face painting, I think there’s going to be a bounce house, and it’s going to be cool.”

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