S3E5: Mark Kornhauser — Casino Magician & Comedy Act
These are show notes taken from an audio interview.
To listen to the actual interview, please use the player above.
In this episode, I talk to casino magician and comedy act Mark Kornhauser. We talk about his career in magic, what it takes to perform in casino showrooms, his successes, challenges, and how hard work really pays off.
Mark Kornhauser is one of the most successful comedy acts in the world boasting 25 years plus, consistently performing in and producing shows in the most prestigious casinos in Vegas, Reno, Lake Tahoe, and Atlantic City. We’re talkin’ Harrahs, Planet Hollywood, Mandalay Bay, Flamingo, Tropicana, and Hilton, just to name a few.
He’s opened for more than a few top name entertainers like Tom Jones, Elvis Costello, Frankie Valli, Terry Fator, David Letterman, and Tim Allen.
He’s also been featured on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Masters of Illusion, NBC, FOX, Comedy Central, and HBO.
Hard work, clean living.
Working in Casinos:
• Fitting into a time slot
• How the casino venue has changed: catering more toward headliners than variety entertainers
• How he stays in the game: develops and grows new material
• Mistakes he sees people make in the casino market
• What he sees as the future of performing in casinos
Did a Le Pétomane (flatulence) act that initially bombed.
His current act with his dog Zsa Zsa.
How Does Mark Differentiate Himself?
Makes his act vastly different from anyone else.
What’s Worked Well for Mark’s Business?
Maintaining relationships with clients.
Interesting Story from His Career
Listen in to what happened when Mark ran into James Brown at a bathroom sink.
What’s Been Mark’s Biggest Professional Challenge?
Staying through the difficult times
Other Topics Covered
• Success and how it’s different for each person.
• Talks about how Doug Henning played a part in his journey.
• Listening to your audience.
• Talks about his inspiration and creative process.
• Gives us his take on magic on TV.
• You can no longer be an “expensive act,” but you can be a “cheap show.”
• Tells about his column in Magic Magazine.
Hard work, clean living. And courage.
Recommended books and resources:
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Have a place to collect your thoughts.
Also, keep a lookout for a compilation of all of his articles from Magic Magazine.
Hiding the Elephant: How Magicians Invented the Impossible and Learned to Disappear by Jim Steinmeyer
The Glorious Deception: The Double Life of William Robinson, Aka Chung Ling Soo by Jim Steinmeyer
The Last Greatest Magician in the World: Howard Thurston Versus Houdini & the Battles of the American Wizards by Jim Steinmeyer
Our Magic by Nevil Maskelyne
Whack to the Side of the Head by Roger von Oech
Kick to the Seat of the Pants by Roger von Oech
Whack Pack by Roger von Oech
The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron
Where can we find Mark Kornhauser?