Q&A with truTV's Michael Carbonaro

1 Oct 2015 - Elise DeVoe is a Corporate Communications Associate at Time Warner Inc.

By Elise DeVoe

The second season of truTV's hit hidden-camera series The Carbonaro Effect is well under way with magician (and New York native) Michael Carbonaro's bewildering brand of illusions. Recently, Mr. Carbonaro himself took some time to speak with us about how he became interested in magic, the new season, and how in the world he's able to keep a straight face while the rest of us are cracking up.

TW Blog: When did you first know you wanted to be a magician?

Michael Carbonaro: I began at a young age with the desire to become a special effects make-up artist. I loved monsters and horror movies. I used to go to a local magic shop to purchase make-up supplies, and I suppose I just began drifting over to the other side of the store and learning more and more magic. I love performing, and in a way performing magic is like doing special effects live!

Do you have a favorite trick so far from an episode of The Carbonaro Effect?

My favorite is the scene with the Builder Beetles in the hardware store (see the clip below). It has the perfect trifecta: an incredible trick, an incredible story, and an incredible unsuspecting person to experience it! I love watching him wrestle between believing and not believing, and ultimately watching an adult man having a childlike sense of awe and excitement.

Has anyone recognized you yet during a taping? Do you need to start wearing disguises?

Ha ha, yes! Often times someone will recognize me right away… other times they don’t ‘tune in’ so to speak until I tell them. I have worn a few disguises. It’s really great to get to play different characters.

Somehow you’re always able to keep a straight face, even when your counterparts are losing their minds. How are you able to stay in character? Do you ever break?

I have to work fast to make the show, and although it is a lot of fun, it is also a lot of pressure. In the moment, I’m very focused on getting everything to work all at once, so it’s no laughing matter… When I watch it later, though, I happily laugh like crazy.

How long does it take you to perfect a new trick? Where do you get your inspiration?

In my live stage performances, I have tricks and routines that I have been working on and tweaking for years… With The Carbonaro Effect, it’s more of a ring of fire… I use everything I know and anything I can learn very quickly and jump off the cliff and see if I can pull it all off.

What’s new this season?

This season has been about exploring deeper stories, and seeing if I can up the ante by continuing with multiple beats of magical happenings.

At the end of our Q&A, we asked Carbonaro to humor us with a lightning round. What's the first thing that comes to mind when we say…

Favorite Magicians: Penn & Teller

Favorite TV Show: Face Off  

Worst Fear: Complacency

Last Thing You Laughed At: Silly inside magic jokes with magic buddies at a diner.

Last Time You Were Surprised: When my friend Josh told me how I was an inspiration to him.

New episodes of The Carbonaro Effect air Wednesdays at 10/9c on truTV.