Oz Pearlman is a professional mentalist, speaker, magician, and athlete best known for his 3rd Place finish on America's Got Talent, Season 10. He was a guest on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon on April 15, 2010. He also made guest appearances on NBC TODAY Show on August 23, 2015, and three times in 2016. Oz aired on The Meredith Vieira Show on December 1, 2015 and February 8, 2016. He was a guest on CNBC Squawk Box on December 23, 2015. He appeared on ABC World News Tonight on July 24, 2009. Oz made a guest appearance on CBS’s Early Show on May 30, 2009. He appeared as a guest at Wall Street Journal's studio on April 7, 2016. Pearlman was featured on a commercial for Mohegan Sun in China. Pearlman was a guest on the national radio show Elvis Duran and the Morning Show.
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I am Oz (pronounced OH's) Pearlman, one of the busiest performing mentalists in the country. I developed an interest in magic at a young age and what started as a mere hobby became a lifelong passion. After a couple of years spent working on Wall Street, I decided to pursue my dream and become a full time entertainer. I have been dazzling audiences with my mindreading abilities and world-class sleight of hand for over two decades.
My client list reads like a who's who of politicians, professional athletes, A-list celebrities, and Fortune 500 companies some of which include Bill Clinton, Kelly Ripa, Chris Rock, Larry David, Robin Williams, Steven Spielberg, to name a few and the New York Times has declared after watching my show that "Even skeptical viewers are won over!." My television appearances have aired on both national and international networks, including recent appearances on The Today Show, NBC’s Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, CBS's Early Show and ABC's World News Tonight. My radio appearance on the top-rated Elvis Duran show in the morning was heard by millions across the nation.
Aside from entertaining audiences around the world, I am recognized by my peers and highly sought after to lecture about my original techniques in the fields of mentalism & magic. I have been invited to speak across 6 continents and over 30 countries, including a standing-room only crowd at the legendary Magic Circle in London. I've released several DVDs teaching the arts of mentalism and magic, including the blockbuster hit Born to Perform Card Magic, widely acknowledged as one of the most popular beginner magic DVDs ever released, having sold over a hundred thousand copies worldwide.
As if all that wasn't enough to keep my schedule packed, I am constantly pushing the limits of my body and mind as an endurance athlete. I have competed in many notable races including the Hawaii Ironman, Western States 100 Mile Run, Spartathlon 153 Mile Run, Leadville 100 Mile Run and Badwater 135 Mile Run. I've won dozens of marathons and ultra-marathons throughout the country, and I take great pride in my marathon PR of 2 hours and 23 minutes. I ran the San Francisco marathon yesterday (July 31, 2016).
My unique blend of mentalism and magic create an interactive experience that is redefining the very nature of a "magic show", one that truly needs to be seen to be believed!
TODAY SHOW: Oz Performs in Central Park
TODAY SHOW: Oz Stuns Hosts in Studio
I'm wrapping up at 4:30 PM PST, been awesome, Reddit users, you ROCK!!! Fire away a few final questions for me.
What magic act most baffled you when you first saw it?
guy named Troy Hooser did a coin trick when I was a teenager that BLEW ME AWAY! later learned how he did it, but relished that moment of amazement.
Hey Oz! So glad you are here! I knew you before AGT because of penguin magic, I really admire you and I loved to see you perform. I have two questions for you:
1) Are you still working with the penguin team? Why or why not?
2) Who is your favorite magician, even if they are not well known in the mainstream media? Mine is Dave Williamson
Yea, love my guys at Penguin Magic!! Have been a bit busy this last year and therefore not releasing any new material, but I'm sure to in the future. Not sure if I have a favorite magician, though in terms of creators David Williamson is PHENOMENAL and beyond hysterical, had a huge impact on me during my early years of learning magic, as did Paul Harris in a major way.
What are your thoughts on the "Now You See Me" movie franchise?
Loved the first one, super entertaining! DIdn't see the second yet, but know some people that helped consult on it. Definitely a bit of "movie magic" so you can't quite pull it off in real life, but that's what makes it fun.
Have you been approached to appear on fool us?
I wouldn't normally ask this of a fellow magician, but since you said you would be revealing secrets...was there any magic to the trick where you guessed Mel B's drink or was that as risky as it seemed?
Balls to the wall, no risk no reward and sometimes you gotta go for it when you're on TV or also in shows. Walk up to a total stranger on the street and ask them if they were born May 25th, it probably won't work the first 90 times, but for that next person and it does, you will be an absolute GOD! (not actually suggesting that, but think about how impressive it is when you get lucky and play it off well)
I was recently signed on to an entertainment team as their magician for corporate parties and events. Is there any advice you can give to getting myself started off on the right foot? Aside from knowing my material backwards and forwards.
that's the easy part. It is what you do above and beyond that makes all the difference. Be easy to work with, try to be thoughtful and thankful and beyond polite. I try to learn and remember the name of everyone I work with, from the CEO of the company that hired me to the name of the sound tech attaching my lapel microphone. Strong eye contact, a solid handshake and taking the time to make people feel special and appreciated goes such a long way. I will perform a quick routine here and there to brighten someone's day and think that the more you can customize your act and tailor it to their needs, the more they will want to bring you back and refer you to others. Congrats on the booking! Also quick pointers, always try to get more footage of yourself in action, there's no such thing as too much, ALWAYS get testimonials after the fact and work to maintain and grow relationships.
Do magicians sometimes have subdural hides or other prostheses that you consider too extreme? Any examples?
What is a subdural hide? Enlighten me please.....
What is a subdural hide? Enlighten me please.....
Was it the Charming Chinese Challenge?
No, it was a 3 coin vanish with sleeves rolled up. This was before I was familiar with all the different and varied coin g&&*&ks out there if you catch my drift. Fried me bigtime
What has been a favorite participant reaction to an act you performed?
Loud and exuberant and boisterous reactions are always fun and play best on TV. However there is something to be said for that quiet, smoldering look of deep, DEEP astonishment that you sometimes get. One that you know will be with someone for years to come as a very distinct memory that will burrow its way deep within their psyche. That type of thing really makes me enjoy my profession
What is the best dessert?
Carrot cake, of course
Jumping from finance to magic is a pretty big one! Was there a defining moment for you that urged you to make the switch? Are there ever days that you miss the world of Wall Street?
I don't miss having a day job or a boss, but there is something to be said for office camaraderie. My version of that is meeting hundreds to thousands of new people each week at shows. I still follow the stock market and world of business quite closely, as it not only intrigues but many of my friends and clients work in that sector.
What is your favorite magic/mentalism book(s)?
13 steps to mentalism by Corrinda is a must read for mentalism. Royal Road to Card Magic and Expert Card Technique were some of my first books when learning card magic. Tarbell Course in Magic is also terrific, though it might feel slightly dated, it has so many great routines that you can adapt to a modern audience. Art of Astonishment by Paul Harris is an absolute classic and filled to the brim with killer stuff.
How would you describe the difference between magic and mentalism?
Loved you on AGT by the way.
Mentalism is a specialty within magic, think of it as more magic of the mind. It requires less in the way of quick hands and much more deftness with reading a spectator. Learning how to misdirect their attention and how they think in an effort to fool & entertain them. Mentalism boils down to revealing secret information, be it their thoughts, their past or their decisions in real time, in a unique and engaging manner.
How can you explain how you guess where people have been with and whom they were with without having psychic abilities?
No psychic abilities in what I do. It is not supernatural and can theoretically be done by anyone. The key trait is hard work and a dedication to learning and practicing the craft.
Do you have a favorite book on mentalism? One that you go to for inspiration? Also what is your creative process like?
hmmmm, one distinct favorite, probably not. But there are many that I like. A book that I have always looked back on is Mentalism Incorporate by Chuck Hickok. It is so perfect in terms of crafting the theory behind being a corporate entertainer, though that is a much more specific niche. As for my creative process, it generally falls into two categories...creating for TV and creating for my actual live show. Those are distinctly different and require totally different mindsets on how to present mentalism. I usually ask myself what woudl be really cool and different and then I work in reverse from the effect to figure out a method for how to achieve it.
Who are your favourite mentalists that are performing at the moment?
Mine are Derren Brown and Atlas Brookings
Derren Brown is a God, absolutely incredible. Nimrod Harel is a good friend of mine and also truly incredible, same goes for Lior Suchard. Gerry McCambridge performs in Vegas and has a very solid show & I always enjoy watching him in action.
What made you make the switch from close up magic to stage mentalism?
Demand. As I did more and more shows, the natural evolution for getting bigger gigs (and higher paying) is performing on stage for larger groups. Mentalism also tends to pack much flatter than large magic tricks, though that's not always the case if you are creative. Mentalism allows you to shine through with your personality and character as the props don't define you, it is more about YOU. Similar to the way a stand up comedian goes on stage with nothing but a microphone, that's the most pure form. Mentalism is one step back, but starts to approach that.
did you do magic as a kid?
All the time and for everyone I met. That was one of the ways I could relate to others and make friends, as well as set myself apart. Got into it when I was 13 years old. Also lets you break out of your shell if shy as you don't put yourself out there, as much as initially put the trick out there. Almost everyone I've ever met loves magic, if performed very well and in a non-invasive or demeaning fashion.
So, you started booking for larger audiences, and the most efficient way to do them was to focus on mentalism?
Well magic takes a lot of big props usually. Especially if doing a show for several hundred people. They need to be able to SEE IT and with mentalism it is less about props and more about reactions. I can get to a gig with literally a notepad and marker & nothing else, and do a killer act for 30 minutes, even if they lost my luggage. There is a power to that. I can also customize my act to incorporate the messaging and theme of the company hiring me, it is infinitely adaptable and limited only by my own creativity.
I heard you went to University of Michigan. Favorite college memory?
Go Blue! I did indeed. Favorite memories might include playing 4 v 4 Halo at my house senior year while drinking heavily and talking shit to the team upstairs (I was usually downstairs). Nothing beats that level of intensity when you're SUPER INTO THE GAME and going nuts. We had some epic times. Sounds dorky for sure, but loved it
I was probably supposed to reference football games, but am a terrible sports fan
HHAHAHAHA, just saw the user name. ;-) you sly devil
player named kuso wasn't that good. I literallly wrote the first response not knowing who you were, I swear.
Hi Oz and thanks for spending time with us. I really appreciate that you and other mentalists like you don't make any claims of supernatural powers and such. What can you tell people who have fallen victim to scam artists such as Priscilla Delmaro or Rose Marks? What can you tell people whose loved ones may be being preyed upon by these types of criminals?
I'm unfamiliar with the specific people you just described, but it is a very tough thing to tell people that really want to believe in psychic phenomena or the ability to talk to their departed loved ones that it's a scam. They want to pay and want to believe so bad, that even when debunked they flock right back. Amazing Randi spent years and years as did Houdini debunking and yet these schemes keep right on popping up. Nothing you can really do about it.
I heard you ran a marathon yesterday. How was that?
I did indeed! A bit brutal, was in the lead until mile 25.5 then it got away from me, so ended up in second. Loved the experience though and getting to run all around the beautiful city of San Francisco!!
Where do you see the future of magic? What are the limits for what we can/will do?
People want to be captivated, so I don't think technology will overwhelm magic. They want to believe in something beyond the so-called limits or rules that govern the world and that's the key to truly amazing someone and blowing their mind. I think magic will evolve with audiences and you tune in to what impresses people and go with that.
> Politicians which include Bill Clinton
Was Ms. Lewinsky still on his mind when you performed for him?
No he'd moved on to others ;)
Who is your personal favorite magician, or one who you look up to the most?
Such a tough call, it would be like asking me what's my favorite thing to eat. I think that it all depends on my mood...for serious magic it might be Lance Burton in his heyday performing his dove act, versus if I want to laugh like crazy then maybe David Williamson just doing crowd work, or for sheer mind boggling mentalism Derren Brown. And many more if you go back, Slydini, Malini, and other legendary characters.
What would you most like to tell us that no one has asked yet?
About running ultramarathons and marathons! My other passion in life besides mentalism and magic. Any runners out there? I'm a big fan of pushing my body to its limits and love running fast and far :D
How many miles do you think you've run in your life?
hello simon.....that's an amazing question. My guess is 12 years now, multiplied by 50 weeks. hmmmm, maybe 25,000. So at least once or twice around the Earth.
Or almost as far as a horse sized duck could cover in 3 months straight
But what about a duck sized horse?
Obligatory Edit: Wooo first gold! Thanks kind stranger!
Would take a considerably longer time, but it would be so adorable to watch. I would love that duck sized horse and name him Nelson. If a female, I need more time to decide on a good name, but Beatrice is a strong contender.
Have you ever heard voices in your head? Even as a child?
No voices in my head other than my own that I know of.