With his satirical wit and mind-blowing magic acts, no wonder that Michael Kent was a hit with his performance at E&H last Saturday. His talent for combining an outrageous sense of humor with non-traditional illusion acts has made him a fan favorite at colleges all over the country. Kent has the ability to connect with each person in the audience, as performers often strive to do, and he can make the audience feel as though they are participating in a bigger experience than a simple magic show. His engagement encourages the audience to feel connected with each other, even if it’s only through a shared reaction to his talents. Whether members of the audience were cracking up or sitting in slack-jawed astonishment at the sights before their eyes, a shared and wonderful experience seemed to be the prevailing theme of the event.
In his performance on September 3, Kent exceeded many expectations that tend to come with the territory of a performing comedian-magician. We have developed the magician’s stereotype of a strange man with a top hat and boring card tricks, who desperately tries to pander to today’s youth with tired old jokes. But Kent easily beat this stereotype with a performance that perfectly combines stunning magic acts with a sarcastic sense of humor.
“I just loved how casual he was with everything. It felt very personable…he didn’t feel very distant, he was directly interacting with the audience. I was really impressed,” said first year student Marie Mitchell, after Saturday’s show.
Kent’s passion for performance was obvious to many audience members while he was onstage, and the magician-comedian showed just as much enthusiasm for the college itself. “I was in Wiley last time,” he said, commenting on his last performance at E&H. “This new auditorium is absolutely beautiful, I love it. Great sound, great crowd. I loved it, thank you for having me.”
Kent first began practicing magic at the age of six in his hometown of Columbus, Ohio. He attended Ohio State University, where he studied Communications, Linguistics and Theater. After graduating, he studied at the Second City Theatre in Chicago.
In addition to performing at colleges across the country, Kent has also traveled all over the world. His tricks and illusions have charmed audiences from Hollywood to South Korea. On average, Kent performs at over 80 colleges and 29 military bases a year. Kent has used funds from some performances to raise donations for the National Association for Mental Illness.
– Taylor Watson ’16