Michael Carbonaro is an American actor, magician, and improv artist. He is known for his hidden-camera "Magic Clerk" segments on The Tonight Show, in which he tricks unsuspecting customers at a convenience store. A television series with a similar premise, The Carbonaro Effect, now airs on TruTV; it was scheduled to premiere on April 1, 2014, but was rescheduled to May 15, 2014. In 2003, he kicked off his film career starring as Mikey Falcone in A Tale of Two Pizzas, alongside Vincent Pastore and Frank Vincent, and a year later was featured in Chappelle's Show on Comedy Central. He also starred in the Off-Broadway comedy, Jewtopia, as the lead character, Adam. Following that, Carbonaro played Andy Wilson in the 2006 comedy Another Gay Movie. For his work, he won the OUTfest "Best Actor in a Feature Film" award.1 Carbonaro has also appeared on All My Children, The Guiding Light, and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Carbonaro holds a bachelor's degree in drama from NYU Tisch School of the Arts.
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I’m the hidden camera magician from truTV’s The Carbonaro Effect, my childhood heroes were Freddy Krueger and David Copperfield, I love cats. I’m Michael Carbonaro, AMA!
I’m an actor, magician, and improv artist. I’ve had recurring roles on CSI Miami, Wizards of Waverly Place, and Happily Divorced. I also do this weird thing with shaving cream: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=os2uw8uyc7s
This is probably the coolest trick I pulled off: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKWRqH-vK_w
One time I made a stupid cat video and it hit the front page of Reddit: https://www.reddit.com/r/videos/comments/1iy00w/cat_sees_owner_after_6_month_leave/
EDIT: Thank you guys for the questions! This was fun!!!! Catch me tomorrow night (Tuesday Oct 27th) on Conan! 11/10c
Has a routine gone horribly wrong and never made it to air?
Horribly? No. Some that don't have great reactions -or where people don't really notice don't make it to air...
Hi Michael, I am a huge fan of you and your show. You're so adorable! If I took you to a fancy restaurant, got down on one knee and proposed, would you marry me? :)
I'll ask my husband first
Throughout your lifetime, how many jokes about a certain pasta sauce have you endured?
All of them
Have you really messed up or been called out on a shoot?
I've been recognized..
Thanks for doing an AMA. Love the show! A few questions.
Are you finding it harder to pull off tricks without people knowing who you are?
I assume you perform the tricks multiple times and use the best reactions - have there ever been any creepy/scary reactions where people have threatened you or anything like that?
How are the scenes set up? As in under what pretenses are the people in possession of a random antique or starting out a job?
-More fun disguises for me
-No... I thought the time I smashed their car window, I might get in trouble, but no... people seem to have a good sense of humor
-Many are set up from another business, IE an antique shop owner may work with us and may secretly send one of their workers to help at 'another shop' for the day... or the workers may be day temps who are used to having different jobs each day.
HOW DID YOU MAKE THAT TURTLE COME ALIVE?? I HAVE TO KNOW!
Edit: And don't tell me deep sediment clay. I work with deep sediment clay.
It's the heat, the condensed heat, wavering through the clay.
Looking through some of his other stuff, I found this
Ok, that was a mess! It wasn't h o r r i b l e, though.
Hey Michael, love the show! Are there times you set up for a handful of different tricks and then choose which to do based on the person who comes up to you?
Do you prefer to be called a Magician or Wizard?
Your show inspired me to be a magician and I'll be auditioning at the Magic Castle next year to convert my membership from associate to magician. Do you have any advice for an aspiring magician?
Btw, I saw you win magician of the year for the Academy of Magical Arts and already have my reservations so I can see you in the Palace. Just wanted to say thanks for an awesome show and hope to meet you at the Magic Castle!!
Thanks! See you there! -Practice in front of a mirror, speaking out loud as you will.... I always call it talking to the invisible people...
Do you have any plans to go on tour and do your magic tricks? P.s. Love your shaving cream bit! First saw it on YouTube on a French magic tv show.
YES! Some tour dates coming soooooon! Can't wait to see you!!!
If you could die and come back any species of cat; what type of cat would you come back as?
Have you ever seen Mac King perform?
I LOVE Mac King!!!!!!!!!!1
Hey Michael! My family and I love watching The Carbonaro Effect! It's both mind blowing and hilarious. We love people's clueless reaction when you tell them the reason they're losing their minds is "The Carbonaro Effect". What's your favorite reaction when telling people this? Has anyone ever told you that they have in fact heard of it before? And/Or What is "The Carbonaro Effect" to you?
My all time favorite piece is the Builder Beetles from the hardware store... The Carbonaro Effect is when the impossible is wrestled into the possible.
Oh this made my night! Thank you so much for responding! For the record your little disguises make it so much more fun!
Hi, its Sarah Carbonaro,
So proud of ur work so far!
I was wondering, how has the show changed your life?
Ps. Thanks so much for what you sent to my dad, it raised a lot of money for cancer awareness at my school!
You're welcome! It's been like riding a roller coaster...
Do you think of all the ideas for the illusions on your own?
By the way, I absolutely love your show! I never miss an episode!
I have an incredible dream team of magician friends, many that I have known since I was a kid at Tannen's Magic Camp... we all sit around and playfully, sometimes painfully, come up with fun things to do.
Did you get offended when that guy called you "a 150 pound man?"
HA HA! Not really... till NOW!
Hey Michael, big fan of yours! Absolutely love The Carbonaro Effect, will you be doing any more episodes?
My main question is this. My favorite act of yours is Shaving Dream and I was curious how many times you've had to practice this essentially blind, an how long you've been doing it for? Has it ever ruined a performance getting into your eyes/mouth/nose?
Ninja edit: Did anyone keep the puppies from the Buick Certified Service commercial?
Thanks! More episodes soon! The wonder of 'eye lashes' keep the foam from hurting!
Hi Michael! Just wanted to say I love your show. I recognize a lot of the places you film at, living in Atlanta and all :) Hope to run into you one day!
My main question is, what is your biggest fear? Also, what is something you have given a lot of thought to lately?
Biggest fear is complacency. Given a lot of thought to getting a dog.
what's your favorite pair of shoes you own?
Nike sneakers... they are like stretchy spandexy... really comfy
What is your favorite classic slight of hand card trick?
Its not the one with the 'three rows'
You have lots of animals on your show. What draws you into including such a wide variety of them??
They are fun to play with, and they get great reactions!
I saw that u posted a dare to turn one of your classic David Copperfield Tshirts into a pair of underwear....did u do it? And if so, will U show us?
Ok, fine! My buddy has a great company called UWAREIT.com where you can turn your fav old Tee-shirts into underwear and other fun recyclable things! I have David Copperfield in my pants! http://imgur.com/53zTpwF
Hey Michael! Huge huge fan of your show.
My question for you would be, if you had to guess, how many tricks would you say are sleight of hand as opposed to high budget trickery and assistance?
all of the ones highlighted in purple
I was wondering if you ever preformed any big illusions? If so have you ever done a compression, or wringer illusion with yourself in it?
I was a mini David Copperfield as a kid... love illusions. No compressor or wringer...
How did you find a quarter behind my ear?
Someone discovered an old FB status of yours where you posted there should be a reality show called America's Next Top Bottom. How do you think you would fare in that competition?
I won the Italian version of the show.
How many times has someone seen right through the trick and outed you during filming?
Hi! I love your show! Me and my mom laugh so hard at all the people believing all the crazy things you do!! I notice you started wearing "disguises" this season and wondered if it was because people started recognizing you?
I am a huge fan! Are you thinking of coming out to California?
I live in California!
What is your favorite genre of music? Big fan!
Lately, it's all about The Black Keys.
Your show is mystical and hilarious. I was wondering, do people ever get upset when they realize the cool product you showed them, like the ball in the spray paint, doesn't actually work for them?Also, and more importantly, what's your favorite wig you wear?
Sometimes, yeah. Love the Biebs! (the blonde!)
First I wanted to say I'm a huge fan!
Why the heck is your cat so friggin cute?????
He practices daily.
Hi Michael, I love your show! Is there any way to learn your tricks? Do you sell a kit or book? What's your opinion on Penn & Teller?
Penn and Teller are great inspirations to me.
Any outtakes like that you could link to?
There is some in the episode called, " CAUSE AND EFFECT 2ND EDITION"
why did you decide to film solely in Georgia?
Turner is based there, and GA is really great, not to mention a 30% tax break for productions!!! More budget money for tricks!!
Hi Michael, out of fear of being too well known in the near future, will you be shooting in other countries?
am being surgically reconstructed into a 76 year old Russian woman
I love that you try to keep it pretty PG on your show (the time you dressed as a stripper who looked like a Village People video extra aside.) Do you consider that your brand, or would you branch out and do some uncensored stuff in the future?
Probably not (yes)
I love your show, you're super talented. And handsome...Do you ever utilize your magic during dates?
I have to
If you weren't a magician, what would you want to do?
Special Effects Make-up
Boxers or briefs?
Was it fun to film another gay movie and who pushed you to do the project? Ps HUGE FAN!!!!!!
It was a blast! No one pushed me... An agent in NY sent me the script and I laughed my butt off. It was one of the greatest Summers of my life.
One of my favorite things about your show is the cute animals. Are there any fun stories about the animals you've used on the show?
I slept with the cat from the carwash for the rest of the season, before he got adopted!
Have you ever been injured performing a trick? If so, how bad was it?
I kind of got some CO2 burns on my face from the scene in the Dry cleaner when I instantly cleaned my clothes by walking through the high pressure machine
Love your show! Where do you find the people for your tricks, like the disappearing car, or the art galleries, or moving tricks? P.S. Come film in Charleston, SC!
We have secret accomplices help set people up with us or hire day temps.
Are u going to be doing anymore acting in movies??? I love to see you act...would like to see more.
Yes! I'll be in the upcoming series RUSH HOUR on CBS!
Hey Michael! Huge fan here! I was wondering, would you be coming to Singapore on tour anytime soon? I would love to meet you and see your tricks in person. Love your magic and also that really cute smile you have everytime you reveal your identity! Never stop smiling xx
Thank you!!!! I hope to get to Singapore! I have never been there!
how do you come up with those stories you tell people to believe you?
I try to think of something I might believe
Do you live in the Bay Area?!
How do you find all of these businesses that will let you set up shop in the middle of their facility and interact with their customers, etc...?
I guess when we show them the show, they see that it is all in good fun?
Hello my name is Sophia! My brother and I watch your show and he is convinced your God! How did you get so good?!
I have an instructional VHS tape, called, "Getting Good and Convincing Others You are God."
Big fan! Was Shaving Dream your first big act? If not what was?
I think my first big act was performing at my junior high school Variety Show....
I work with deep sediment clay...you can't fool me.
Try working with patches that have been exposed to the sun.
Hey Michael. I have always wondered, why do people always act so weird when you tell them they are on a hidden camera magic show? Almost every time they are like "...okay...". Always wondered! Great show
I think they are still trying to piece things together...
Would you ever consider going on tour? I'd love to meet you and see your work in person!
Does it ever just boggle your mind that people don't question the "explanations" you give for how these things work? I just shake my head sometimes and wonder how you don't laugh at your own bs...
I mean... I think why its so entertaining is that people are 'wrestling' with it... its actually not that funny when they just flat out believe it.
how do those places you do magic in, allow you to do your magic?
Aren't you worried that you will become so famous that you will lose your element of surprise?
Do you have any pets? I like to imagine you practicing tricks around the house, freaking out the dogs.
I have 2 cats... Chance and Quinn
Do you have an identical twin? Some of your tricks only seem possible if there are two of you.
I do not.
Can you tell me more about the space crabs?
They are 'decorator crabs' -which are a species of crab that attach pieces of the ocean floor to themselves to camouflage...
OK. Cat question here. What is your opinion on declawing a cat?
Don't do it.
That's really awesome to hear you were hilarious good thing you were picked to be the lead in the
Thanks! Such great memories!
One time I googled his name and it suggested "twin" afterwards, but I don't remember seeing anything.
My cat stands in for me- we look exactly the same from the back.
How often do you tell people they are being pranked? Do you ever just leave them scratching their head?
Sometimes I wish I could... but I do ask everyone's permission to be show on the show afterwards.
Michael, we love the show! My kid loves magic, what trick would you recommend an 8 year old learn first??
Using, interestingly enough, tons of shaving cream
Now I've been caught
How do you come up with those goofy explanations of the magic trick? They never fail to get me. Also, love your show. Hope to see you live someday.
I don't know where they come from exactly.
What trick was actually more impressive than it appeared when shown on TV?
The 3D printed man, and the melting Ice Sculpture come to mind.
Hey michael! Do you know how to get to a place like tomorrowland? can you take me there. Can I help you change the world? Have you figured out how to time travel. Can we meet? You've opend my mind and to endless possibilities. My imagination has been on a non stop magiacal adventure ever since ive been exposed to you and the Magic youve shared with the us. You truly make me feel like ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE!
Hi Michael. Both my wife and I love your show. I have a question that seems quite obvious. How do you balance becoming super popular and not getting recognized during filming? I noticed you started using disguises and fake names but it seems like its only a matter of time until you are too popular to succeed. I sure hope not. It is refreshing to see a prank show that is so well done and classy. By the way could you mention the names Paul and Sharon (my wife and I) on an upcoming show?
Hi Paul and Sharon! Thank you!!!!!! I have secret plans... don't you worry!
How did you convince TruTv to pickup the Carbonaro Effect? I'm sure they are glad that they did!!!
I took them to a great Field
Hey Michael, I really like the show! Have you ever had anyone want you to show them something again that you were not prepared for while filming? How did you handle it?
You have to be prepared for it
Hello I love your show I have figured out a lot of your illusions. The bowling ball in the flat box is one I'm still having issues with. Is it hard coming up with new illusions, and have you ever thought of going on fool penn and teller?
Its challenging, but I have the help of great friends.