He’s one of the most in-demand comedy magicians today and is part of The Illusionists 2.0 act. The Trickster aka Jeff Hobson talks magic, tricks and laughter ahead of his Dubai performance.
The Illusionists 2.0: Witness the Impossible show returns to Dubai World Trade Centre from Tuesday September 30 to Sunday October 5. Featuring the talents of seven of the world’s greatest illusionists, expect mystery, levitation, extreme card tricks and mind-reading. The line-up includes acts such as The Trickster, The Warrior, The Deceptionist, The Manipulator, The Unusualist and The Futurist. The Trickster has proved to be a crowd favourite, having successfully performed in Dubai with the 2013 version of the show.
Jeff Hobson (The Trickster), is a man of incredible showmanship, wit and glamour. His refreshing and clever mix of comedy and magic has won him fans the world over.
‘I’m a thief, I’m really the comic foil in the show. If things get too serious, The Trickster will be around to lighten up the show and make people laugh and just bring the spot of comedy that is needed in every show. In the meantime, I take some people’s belongings, which I can get in trouble for, but that’s the risk I take for entertainment,’ explains Hobson.
Hailing from Detroit, Michigan, the funnyman discovered his love for magic at seven years old when a policeman at his school gave a safety demonstration using magic tricks. Enthralled, a young Hobson began his quest to become a magician.
‘I have a vast library of books – that’s really where I learnt most of my magic. Of course, as I got older, I spoke with local magicians but the majority of what I know and do today is self-taught. I’m an only child, so I didn’t have too many friends growing up, I just hung out alone and practiced magic,’ he says.
Growing up, Hobson took inspiration from acts such as Red Skelton and Dick Van Dyke. By the age of 12, he was performing regularly with his own shows and decided to turn down the offer of college to pursue his growing success.
‘My family were very boring, they weren’t in the entertainment business, but I immersed myself in a lot of television. I wanted to be able to make people laugh and I figured that there’s lots of great magicians in the world but it’s nice to bring happiness to people’s lives too. I thought about having a regular kind of nine-to-five job, but this is the only job I’ve ever had so I wouldn’t really know how to do anything else.’
Having worked and lived in Las Vegas performing in hotels for almost 21 years, Hobson decided to join The Illusionists, touring the world with his magic comic routine.
‘An Illusionist is somebody who can bring back the sense of childhood wonder to a grown up and make them feel like a kid again. The Illusionists that are on stage are the best that you are going to see. Every magician has their own speciality and it’s not like one illusionist where you get the same style and feeling all the way through the show. You have people doing the very best of their style of magic together on stage and to me that’s magic in itself.’
Hobson has won numerous awards for his skills, including an award for Stage Magician of the Year given by The Magic Castle in Hollywood, California, a showplace for magicians from around the world.
‘I usually think about what would make me laugh if I were in the audience, so I just think of a situation that is funny, then I try to make a magic trick out of it. So instead of stealing a watch, I’ll smash the heck out of it and put it back together again,’ he explains.
Having toured across the world with The Illusionists and spent years on the Las Vegas showbiz circuit, you would think that The Trickster would be accustomed to magicians’ tricks and grand illusions.
‘I still get fooled every now and then, but usually only for a short time because there are only a certain amount of principles in magic.
So I start to figure out how they do it after a while. Sometimes I’ll go into the audience during The Illusionists show and watch, even though I know their acts just as well as they do, but I love watching professionals at work, it makes me feel just like a kid again.’
With his uncanny ability to break the ice and win over the audience, The Trickster will no doubt charm the crowds in Dubai.
From Dhs 199 to Dhs2,499. The Illusionists 2.0: Witness the Impossible presented by The Alchemy Project. September 30 to October 5. Rashid Hall, Dubai World Trade Centre, Sheikh Zayed Road,