Jonathan Mobley was hooked after attending his first magic show.
“I loved the amazing feeling I had when I saw a magician fool me and an entire audience in my hometown of Batesville when I was only 8 years old,” said Mobley, known as Johnny Magic. “Since then, every birthday and Christmas I asked for magic tricks so I could entertain friends and family. I also saved my money so I could visit magic shops, so I always had something new and exciting.”
Now 34, the Westfield resident became a full-time magician in 2016.
“I love being a magician because it gives me a platform to connect with others and inspire them to see beyond their limiting beliefs,” he said. “For me, it’s so much more than entertainment. Magic offers joy and wonder that can only be experienced by being in the moment.”
His biggest break so far came earlier this year when
Mobley submitted a video to the producers of “Penn & Teller: Fool Us,” and was asked to appear on the show.
“Since they’re in their sixth year, they’ve seen a lot, so I’ve sent them something brand new they’ve never seen before,” Mobley said. “They said, ‘It’s amazing. We don’t know how you did it.’ I have magician friends who have been trying to get on the show for a while, so it was quite a privilege.”
Mobley filmed his appearance in February. The episode will air at 8 p.m. Aug. 26 on The CW Network. Mobley will see it for the first time with the rest of the nation.
“A lot of producers from other shows watch it, so it may be a springboard to some other opportunities,” he said. “I really want to stay performing in the Midwest. I like the kids growing up here and staying with my family. The exposure locally will help, too, because I love performing around here.”
Naturally, Mobley was thrilled to be invited to perform on the show.
“The timing was a little tricky since my wife had just delivered our second child a few days before I was scheduled to fly into (Las) Vegas,” he said. “The show producers were amazing to work with and made me feel very welcome. I also hired a magician consultant to help with the whole experience and created a new illusion for the show. I had never performed the illusion on stage before the episode. My parents also surprised me by flying into Vegas to watch me perform live.”
Mobley and his wife, Amanda, have two sons, 5-month-old Levi and 3-year-old Caleb.
Mobley primarily performs at corporate events.
“We sold our house and quit my (video production) job and we went for it,” he said.
Mobley moved to Westfield from Noblesville this summer. He previously lived in Fishers and Carmel.
“I grew up in a performing family, always on the stage,” Mobley said. “No other magicians, though, just acting and singing. Growing up on the stage in local theater helped develop my comfort on stage. I’m a self-taught magician, so growing up I read every magic book I could get my hands on.
“I would perform constantly to learn what people enjoyed. I quickly discovered how to use magic to tell stories and connect with my audience.”
Mobley enjoys sharing his skills with young magicians.
“My other favorite thing to do is to teach, so we have a magic course for kids from 8 to 12,” Mobley said. “They can buy a kit and learn watching videos by me, step by step. We make them here locally. It’s a real passion of mine. I grew up homeschooled, so I grew up in a real teaching environment.”
Mobley grew up doing improv, so there is a lot of interaction on stage. The best part of magic, he said, is the surprise factor.
“I like the audience to think one thing is going to happen and then surprise them with something else,” he said. “People love to laugh, and I have a kind of standup comedy-feel.”
There will be a viewing party from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. Aug. 26 at the Main Event, 4016 E. 82nd St., Indianapolis. The show airs from 8 to 9 p.m. on a large screen.
The event will include a 10-minute interview with Johnny Magic and a 10-minute magic show. There will be a magic kit giveaway, magic tricks for sale, photos and autographs. Food will be available for purchase.