Doug McKenzie is an award-winning magician who has performed professionally since the age of 16. Today he is a renowned entertainer, traveling across the globe to perform at trade shows, conventions, charity fundraisers, dinner banquets, and private parties. Whether he is stealing watches from Paris Hilton and former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani’s wrists unnoticed or making Trudie Styler appear from thin air, Doug’s mix of sophisticated magic and witty humor will bring delight to anyone.
An accomplished and elegant sleight of hand entertainer, Doug has performed on the same bill with the likes of Liza Minelli, Cher, Prince, Dave Matthews, Billy Joel, James Taylor, and David Blaine. He is fluent in English, German and Arabic and can be sure to charm any audience to feel the surreal.
Along with his live performances, Doug is recognized by his fellow magicians for his creative contributions to the art of magic. In September 2000, Doug was selected to work with David Copperfield to develop magic for his Tornado of Fire television special, an opportunity afforded to only a handful of magicians. Using this experience as a guide, Doug was then selected to consult and produce two seasons of Marco Tempest’s The Virtual Magician television series, a reality magic show that continues to air in over 50 countries. In addition to working on his own television production, Doug currently collaborates with David Blaine on all of his endeavors.
Q&A with Doug McKenzie
What got you into magic?
I went to boarding school at the tender age of 15 and got pretty bored (no pun intended). I picked up a copy of "Now You See it, Now You Don't" by Bill Tarr on a school trip to New York, and practiced a french drop in the ride back to school. I then fooled all my teachers, made cool friends, and dated the hottest girl in school, all overnight; and that's how i got into magic.
Who are some of your biggest influences?
Chan Canasta, Juan Tamariz, Tarko, Pit Hartling, David Stone, Lennart Green, David Blaine, and Bill Kalush
How did you get involved in working with David Blaine?
Long story short ... During my time in Business School, I worked as a personal assistant to a New York socialite to earn a little bit of extra cash. Through her crazy circle of friends, I was introduced to David during a night out. I showed David an effect I had been working on that he seemed to like, we exchanged numbers (I actually already had his ... another long story), and we became friends.
You've been all over the map. Tell us about where you grew up.
I grew up most of my life in the Middle East (Saudi Arabia and Oman). Western media really portrays a negative image of Arab culture and people, and I couldn't disagree more. Watch "Control Room" and "Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden" and then we'll talk.
What's your favorite effect to perform?
I love pick-pocketing. It's a lot more personal than a card trick, especially if you are only using 21 cards. I also love to perform anything that I've come up with (insert shameless plug for "Flicker" here). It all makes me wish I had invented pick-pocketing though.
Who is your favorite performer to watch?
I like to watch different people for different reasons. Chan Canasta, Juan Tamariz, and David Berglas are untouchable in my book for both the magic and the psychology they employ. Homer Liwag has the most beautiful coin technique I have ever seen. David Williamson for making me laugh so hard. Cyril Takayama for the timing and beats he brings from stage magic to close-up magic. James Hydrick for his own self-belief that what he is doing is real. The list goes on.
What do you see as being wrong with the industry today?
There are so many magic products for sale and most of them are crap. It's difficult to push an art form to new limits when there's so much crap for people to wade through.
What's the last trick you saw that fooled the crap out of you?
In London there is a members only club in Mayfair called Tramp. It is a fancy restaurant / social meeting place during the day and a debaucherous nightclub later on in the evening. After being introduced to the GM there and showing him a few things, he proceeded to fry me over and over for the entire evening with a very simple trick. He would casually misdirect me to look at him, and as i did, I would feel an unexplainable knocking sensation on the toe part of my shoe. He wasn't throwing anything, and there were no hidden devices in the floor to tap me (trust me, I checked). I really had no idea. It took me another trip to Tramp to finally catch on to the method, but believe me it is diabolical, extremely well executed, and would fool anybody.
What advice would you give to those that are just starting in magic?
Buy "Flicker". It will make all your dreams and wishes come true. JK. There is so much great magic hidden in old books. Only things that were worthy of being published were put out back then. Magic has since changed, but modernizing a classic can go a long way.