Michael Carbonaro makes magic for truTV

CARBONARO EFFECT

Michael Carbonaro

By Robbie Caploe

Michael Carbonaro is about to embark on the second season of his truTV show, The Carbonaro Effect. The hidden camera series spotlights the comedic magician assuming different disguises and playing tricks to convince people they are witnessing the impossible – but never at their expense. We caught up with Carbonaro just as the second season of his series was set to premiere in late July to hear his plans for this season, what makes good magic, and how Penn Jillette made his day.

Cynsiders: How will this year of the show be different?
Michael Carbonaro: We will escalate stories; for instance, I’ll play a dentist and tell the patient I can hear static in his fillings. Then I’ll be able to tune into a radio station and there will be an on-air contest where the DJ can hear what we’re saying, and respond through the patient’s tooth.

Cynsiders: How do you characterize the kind of situations you create on the show?
Carbonaro:
They’re the opposite of a prank. It’s like Candid Camera was, where you rejoice and have fun with people. You get to see how they wrestle with reality. I don’t want to portray people as being stupid or gullible. The best mark is someone who doesn’t believe what he’s seeing, out of the gate.

Cynsiders: What makes successful magic on TV?
Carbonaro: Any magic is good; it’s about how the person reacts to it. When someone feels duped, it’s not fun. You want it to be a ride; I have found that people don’t want to know how it all works.

Cynsiders: What is magic’s purpose?
Carbonaro: People think that magic should provide an answer, but really, it should provide a question, which is: Is that really possible? It shows us that the world doesn’t quite operate the way we think it does — and that’s amazing. If magic is true, then anything is possible. It’s very exciting.

Cynsiders: How did you know you made it?
Carbonaro: The day that Penn Jillette (of illusion act Penn & Teller) asked me for an autographed picture for his kids. That was amazing.

The Carbonaro Effect airs on truTV on Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET.

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