I'm David Copperfield, that guy that makes stuff disappear. And appear, sometimes. For the next year, I'm doing 15 shows a week at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Magic is my dream and for the past 25 years, it's been my life.

I have a show tonight in one hour (7pm Pacific), but I'll get to as many questions as I can before then and will be back during shows for some more. I'm new here, but I will give this my best shot!

Proof! http://www.twitter.com/d_copperfield

More Proof! http://www.facebook.com/davidcopperfield

Picture Proof! http://imgur.com/xZJjQ

UPDATE - About to go onstage for my first show of the night! I'll be back around 9:00pm Pacific!

UPDATE TWO - I'm back! Just finished my first show, and I'm back to answer some more questions.

UPDATE THREE - Time for my second show! I had an awesome time and I'm extremely thankful for your support and questions. I will be back! Until then, cue the Final Countdown music and have a great week!

Comments: 5133 • Responses: 37  • Date: 

shoeler1717 karma

What's your biggest embarrassing moment on stage? Illusion or otherwise.

DCopperfield2780 karma

I've embarrassed myself so many times. About a week ago, I threw a frisbee into the audience to find a randomly selected person. A guy caught it and I told him to stand up. He was reluctant. I thought he was just shy. I encouraged him to stand up - please, stand up! Come on!

I then realized that he was disabled, and I felt absolutely horrible. I apologized profusely and I ran to him, he smiled, I hugged him, and he understood. So yeah - that was embarrassing.

paradisefound1454 karma

What's the most magical thing you own?

DCopperfield2516 karma

An island. ;)

unassumingname1241 karma

What is your favorite illusion? Where did you learn it? How do you perform it?

DCopperfield1986 karma

One of my favorite illusions is Flying. It's a dream anyone can relate to. All of these illusions take many years to develop. A lot of trial and error. Sometimes we have to change paths totally, but eventually, usually, we succeed.

The flying illusion took SEVEN years to develop - to make it really credible. I wanted to make it feel real: levitating inside a plexiglass box, levitating through hoops, flying while holding a woman from the audience.

k0mbaticus1014 karma

Forbes has called you "the most commercially successful magician in history." What advice would you give to aspiring illusionists who might want to follow in your footsteps?

Edit: oops, typed the same word twice

DCopperfield1531 karma

First, learn everything you can about the art. Second, learn everything you can about being on stage - performing. And then work hard to find you own voice - your own unique point of view. Do lots of shows. And finally - most importantly - don't give up.

WestingGame970 karma

What's an illusion performed by another magician that you find particularly inspiring or impressive?

DCopperfield1518 karma

Magicians lose the opportunity to experience a sense of wonder. Our mind is programmed to understand how things work, to be skeptical. To experience that now is a wonderful feeling, but very rare for me.

I recently saw the musical Ghost on Broadway, and my friend Paul Kieve created the magic for the show. One particular moment in that show gave me that feeling, and it was amazing to see. If you're in New York City, definitely check it out.

No_9905 karma

Hey David! I'm a huge fan! In fact, you were the one who inspired me to do magic (I even have your 15 years of magic DVD from when I visited Taiwan)! Anyway, this will be a bit more personal...

I went to see your show around new years at Vegas. When you went into the audience to perform your floating-napkin/rose-change effect (sorry if I butchered the name), I was about 8 feet away from you. I remember looking very intensely at and above you in order to try to figure out how it worked. You then waved (in a magical fashion) to your cameraman, who moved in front of me to block my view. I shifted to get a better view, you waved at him again, and he moved to block me again.

I want to apologize if I was being a nuisance, I'm very inquisitive.

For anyone who has yet to see his show, DO SO! It's bomb-diggity.

Thanks for doing this AMA David, keep on being awesome!

tl;dr David Copperfield owned my curious ass.

DCopperfield1027 karma

Thank you! Next time, I promise no magical gestures.

FunkyJive840 karma

Huge fan, saw you in good ole Flint, Michigan. Answer only the interesting questions below.

  1. Has a volunteer ever intentionally or accidentally messed up a trick?
  2. What happens to your illusions when you retire or pass away?
  3. What is it like owning your own islands?
  4. Besides yours, what is the best show in vegas?
  5. What is one illusion from another magician(s) that you cannot figure out?

  6. How do I get a free trip to Musha cay?

DCopperfield1204 karma

  1. In Greece, a pop star saw part of how an illusion was done, and then revealed in the press what he thought was the method. He got front page news. His idea was close, but we had an alternate method already prepared. So the next night, I told the audience about what happened, and we performed the illusion anyways - but with a different method. After it was over, the audience cheered. It amazed me that the audience was on my side and wanted to help me preserve the wonder.

KiubWhy800 karma

I recall watching almost ALL of your acts on TV as a kid with my parents, always loved the interactive ones.

Somewhat unrelated: Did you like the movie "The Prestige"? (2006)

DCopperfield1524 karma

Filmmakers from The Prestige and The Illusionist did research in my museum - I was very happy with the respect they gave to magic.

Tomm0509703 karma

Does doing 2 shows a night ever get to be to excessive?

DCopperfield1009 karma

I get a lot of energy from the audience. 15 shows a week is a lot, though. On the plus side, it allows for an amazing creative process. We constantly try out new material and new illusions in performances, and very quickly we find out what works and what doesn't.

jackthedog682 karma

Do you get recognized in public a lot? How do you feel about being approached by fans?

DCopperfield1458 karma

I love when people come up to me. Especially when I'm eating or in the middle of a movie. Just kidding. Actually, people are REALLY nice. I've been very fortunate. There's a secret - I can become invisible by just changing my posture. It's a trick I've learned when I want to get somewhere quick.

passitaround653 karma

Do you have any pre-show rituals?

DCopperfield1431 karma

I brush my teeth with a Sonicare toothbrush before every show.

hiddenexpression575 karma

Do you get tired of repeating the same shows night after night?

DCopperfield961 karma

To be honest, I've been guilty of that. Which is why putting new magic in the show - new illusions - is extremely exciting. At any one moment, my team and I are working on 20 new pieces, so we're constantly involved in the creative process and trying new things. Every show, though, is a bit different - the audience changes everything.

I_Lase_You475 karma

As a child of the 70's, there were only two magicians.

This guy...

And this guy.

What is your favorite memory of Doug?

DCopperfield712 karma

Doug Henning opened a lot of doors for us in magic. He was someone I admired since I was a teenager. Amazing. When we hung out, all we talked about was girls. He gave me a lot of advice about that - I was 16 years old. He was more of a ladies man than you'd think.

TheBVirus468 karma

Hey Mr. Copperfield. First of all I have to say that I have never been more excited for an IamA. I grew up watching all of your specials over and over again. My mom even remembers watching you perform at the Pagoda when your career was just starting out. I saw your show when you came to Hawai'i several years back (where you made my mom disappear at the end) and recently had the pleasure of seeing your show in Las Vegas. Before I ask you any question, I wanted to say thank you for filling my childhood with so much joy and wonder. Sitting in your Vegas show definitely transported me back to my youth.

I have two questions:

1.When I was a kid, magic was a big deal on television. There were constantly specials on that would feature dozens of magicians performing. Plus, you had a big special every year. More recently, there was a sort of shift to “street magic” like criss angel and David Blaine. As arguably the biggest name in magic, where do you see the future of magic heading? I would love to see more magic specials on television like the old days.

2.Are there any magicians working today that you are a fan of that we may not have heard of?

Thanks for doing this AMA and for bringing magic into this world!

DCopperfield532 karma

  1. You'll be seeing a lot of new things from my team in the coming years, both on television, online, and in motion pictures. It's a very exciting time for magic. I think magic in the future will be a combination of the "grand spectacular" that I've been known for, but also intimate magic done in a new, interesting way. I think that magic can motivate, transport, and inspire people better than any other artform. So I'm excited and confident in its future.

  2. There are so many talented magicians in the world. Several of them I'm proud to collaborate with on my creative team. It's sort of a SWAT team for magical things, always experimenting with new illusions and effects for the show. It is an incredible experience to collaborate with other magicians, young and old - their creativity inspires me.

Something-Special454 karma

Why do some fans think you died?

DCopperfield866 karma

Probably saw a bad show. I hope they come back though. I'm still alive!

Bret16420 karma

What number am I thinking of?

DCopperfield857 karma

  1. Am I right?

TomCook24388 karma

What was the first effect you ever performed, or the first you performed with some regularity and can remember?

DCopperfield608 karma

The first trick I bought at Macy's was a little wooden board where a quarter would appear and disappear. It took quite a bit of skill and practice - I worked so hard on that thing!

MySockHurts384 karma

How did you get into magic and what age? When were you first interested in illusions?

DCopperfield720 karma

I started as a ventriloquist. A BAD ventriloquist. That interest brought me to the magic counter at Macy's in New York City. The first magic shop I ever went to was called Tannen's on 42nd Street. I was 8 years old. That experience fueled my passion, and I was hooked.

jugglesme366 karma

Do you believe real magic exists?

DCopperfield727 karma

Ever hopeful.

Decent_Haiku_Guy320 karma

I live on a street called Copperfield Way. Just wanted to say, I've always wanted to meet you to say this. Thanks

DCopperfield1295 karma

Finally... I got my way! Sorry, that was a bad joke.

masterchessboxer319 karma

How has the Internet (and technology in general) changed how your approach toward performing?

DCopperfield608 karma

The internet is awesome! It forces me to up my game. It's created new ways for me to perform magic - I try to embrace it as much as possible. In the show tonight, I'm performing an effect that involves email and iPhone's and such. Magic and new technology have always walked hand in hand - even back in the days of Robert Houdin.

numer0u5ne55300 karma

I don't care much about magic, but I wanted to be you soooooooooo bad from 1993 to 1999 !

DCopperfield641 karma

Hopefully with a better haircut than I had!

ImJuzAwesome259 karma

Have you ever gotten injured performing? or practicing your stunts?

DCopperfield803 karma

I have, quite a few times! Most noteworthy was a show where I was doing a rope trick, and using a REALLY sharp pair of scissors. I wasn't being careful, and I wasn't looking - and I cut off the tip of my finger.

When I looked down, the tip of my finger was sitting on top of the scissors. There was blood everywhere. I looked to the audience and said "ladies and gentlemen, I think I cut my finger off." They began to applaud - they thought it was part of the show.

I got rushed to the hospital, and Mike Tyson's plastic surgeon sewed it back on. It looks perfect today, thankfully! The ironic thing - I went over Niagara Falls in a raft, I hung over burning spikes, I escaped from an imploding building - but I try a simple rope trick, and I end up in the hospital.

rec213237 karma

When studying Magic who were your mentors, did you learn by books, video or people?

DCopperfield380 karma

My idols have always been creators in the cinema - Orson Welles, Walt Disney, Frank Sinatra, Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire - they guided me on my path to combine stories with magic. I find a lot of my inspiration in movies, music, and other artforms. As far as magicians, Robert-Houdin was a big influence - not only as a performer, but a creator.

unvme211 karma

If you could collaborate with anyone, living or dead, magician or non-magician, who would it be and why?

DCopperfield445 karma

For sure, Leonardo da Vinci. I just found out from a brilliant friend that da Vinci wrote a manuscript full of magic with one of his collaborators. So validated and inspired by this.

Repair_Manmanmanman204 karma

What do you do for fun or to relax when your not doing shows?

DCopperfield361 karma

I see a lot of movies and Broadway shows.

dlenoxx180 karma

Did you ever have any celebrities help out with any stunts?

DCopperfield478 karma

Orson Welles hosted my first television special. What an honor.

sombre77173 karma

Favorite restaurant?

DCopperfield325 karma

Lots! Robuchon and STK in Las Vegas. In New York, Nobu, Mr. Chow, and The Colonial.

[deleted]110 karma


DCopperfield270 karma

So much fun. I got to test my improv skills with some of the best. Zach Braff is so talented - I loved the movie Garden State and especially the soundtrack.

bucketzzz93 karma

Let's say you never got into magic. If you could be equally good at something completely different (i.e. a sport, hobby, skill, career) what would you choose? It can be something you've never even tried!

DCopperfield165 karma

I would be a film director. It's pretty much the same thing as creating magic on stage. I've done it for television, but not on the big screen.

speedshrimp65 karma

Hey Mr. Copperfield! I always wondered, how does a magician, especially one as well-known as yourself, deal with those people that figure out the secrets behind your illusions? Is it more effective to ignore them or is there some other way that you handle these types of situations?

DCopperfield171 karma

I welcome those that try to figure out the secrets - those people challenge me to make my magic more believable, and my stories more compelling. My goal is for less people to worry about the "how did he do that" part and just dream with me.

SAT072557 karma

Do you still own your own island? If so, what's the first thing a guy does when he buys his own island? Did you throw a huge party or what?

DCopperfield75 karma

I enjoyed it for a few weeks, but then I started a huge creative process of improving, developing, and renovating the island. It's been a five year process to get to where it is now. I'm really proud of what my team has done with it.

closetedforeveralone56 karma

Do you have any tips for someone who wants to get into doing magic? What are some easy tricks for beginners?

DCopperfield135 karma

A friend of mine runs a website called www.theory11.com - an amazing community and instructional site where anyone can learn some powerful magic.

chandler5553 karma

how many times will you do an illusion before performing it on stage?

DCopperfield76 karma

A lot. But that doesn't stop me from putting something new in the show that I know is not yet perfect. As I develop a new illusion for the show, there is only so far that I can take it. From there, there's only one way to find out if it works: to try it. So we constantly add new illusions to the show to test things out. I make changes based on the audience's reaction - kind of like they do in the movie world with test screenings.

confusedben36 karma

How has Metuchen changed since you grew up here? Do you ever come back? (I was born and raised in Metuchen!)

DCopperfield38 karma

When I was in Metuchen, it was a little bit like Mayberry. I loved it. It was a small town, but it was just an hour bus ride from New York. It was a great balance for me. I was back in Metuchen last year to see some friends.

trips_over_own_feet34 karma


DCopperfield84 karma

Making dreams - reality.

otherguyoncouch26 karma

whats your favorite show in vegas besides your own?

DCopperfield42 karma

"O" by Cirque du Soleil. Absinthe was great as well.