Growing up in Brisbane, Australia, Mike Tyler never imagined he’d be performing in front of sold-out crowds across North America — naked.
After packing venues throughout Australia, Hong Kong, and New Zealand, The Naked Magic Show is making its way to the Broward Center for the Performing Arts on its first ever, 45-city North American tour.
“We did give America a bit of a taste — just the tip, if you will — last year, just to make sure that it translated,” Tyler says of the show’s R-rated orgy of saucy humor, magic, and nudity.
Their journey began five years ago when Tyler met fellow magician and Naked Magic Show partner Christopher Wayne at a corporate event for which they were both hired to perform.
“I ended up stealing his watch, actually,” Tyler says of the trick he pulled on the unsuspecting Wayne. “He asked me out on a man-date and a bit of a bromance flourished.”
Together, Tyler and Wayne — now both 31 — concocted a plan.
“When we decided to create the world’s naughtiest magic show, we wanted to do something that was different than anything other magicians are doing,” Tyler says. “What better way to do that than get our pants off and do a naughty magic show themed around all those naughty topics?”
Tyler recalls feeling slightly awkward when he and Wayne got naked together for the first time during a photo shoot. But now, it's just another day at the office.
“You’d be surprised how comforting and liberating it is to be on stage completely naked in front of a supportive, applauding, and happy audience,” Tyler says.
The Naked Magic Show is a celebration of sexuality, and Tyler and Wayne do not shy away from taboo tricks, such as when they are both in straitjackets, or “gay-jackets” as they call them, and the one to wriggle himself free last must get naked.
Although both Tyler and Wayne are heterosexual, they are outspoken supporters of the LGBT community.
“If I was gay, he definitely wouldn’t be my type,” Tyler says of Wayne, laughing.
Tyler says that everyone has naughty, hidden thoughts and that The Naked Magic Show is the perfect place to leave inhibitions at the door and explore the wild side.
“We’re a ‘fuck you’ to regular, cheesy, old-school magic,” he says. “Our assistant is an inflatable sex doll. We have a toy rabbit and a fake dove.”
While fans exalt Tyler and Wayne’s special brand of naughtiness, some occasionally take it too far.
“The show is like a nasty first date,” Tyler says of his sometimes overzealous fans. “And they don’t realize it’s a show and not a one-on-one personal date.”
Drunk women grabbing their “magic wands” is an all-too-common occurrence, and Tyler recalls a backstage meet-and-greet where an inebriated bachelorette got particularly rambunctious.
“She was standing next to Chris,” he says. “Right when we took the photo, she not just smacked him on the ass, but tried to get a digit in — she reached around and tried to get her finger in the back door. It was crazy!”
Another time, Tyler says he was bound in a straightjacket when a woman who was brought onstage for an audience participation trick unexpectedly kneed him in the back and forced him face-down to the floor. Unable to move, Tyler admits to being a bit unnerved when she would not let him up. But to his surprise, the crowd went wild.
“Every night we get objectified onstage, and we’re totally okay with that,” he says. “When people come to the show, boundaries are blurred and it’s a really fun night, and people sometimes forget the kind of rules that exist in society — but it’s so much fun, and we’re actually having the time of our lives.”
And to answer that burning question? No, they have never gotten erections onstage.
“We’re so focused on the magic and the comedy, and the audience is like a wild rodeo and we need to be able to control that,” Tyler says. “We normally leave that till the after-party.”
Tyler promises that in addition to mystifying magic and cheeky comedy, both he and Wayne will get completely naked by the end of the night.
“Good magicians don’t need sleeves,” he says coyly. “And great magicians don’t need pants.”
The Naked Magic Show takes place July 22 to 24 at the Broward Center for Performing Arts, 201 SW Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale; 954-462-0222; ticketmaster.com. Tickets cost $45 to $55 plus fees. VIP Meet and Greet tickets available for $65.
Wendy Rhodes is a freelance writer and award-winning author. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter @WendyRhodesFL.