Far away from the Las Vegas Strip one can find an interesting selection of entertainment at the Downtown Fremont Street Experience. Although the spectacle of the shows here may not come close to what can be found on the Strip, attending these shows, just like doing anything else Downtown, is much easier on one's wallet.
One opportunity that arose was to see the Mike Hammer Comedy Magic Show. After joining the email list "Shows For Locals," this show popped up as one that was available. Since the tickets cost truly nothing I felt like I had nothing to lose. The Hammer show is housed in the Canyon Club at the Four Queens Hotel. Unlike large Cirque shows, this is a very intimate space that also houses several other shows., such as An Evening at La Cage. The stage is small but does house the one-man show well. I entered the theatre with very low expectations but was surprised at how entertaining the 75-minute show was.
The magic featured in the show is not the spectacular elaborate effects one would see in a David Copperfield or Lance Burton show; rather it was smaller, close-up magic. The magic featured in the show is really secondary to what the show truly is-a comedy show. Mike Hammer seemed to draw most of his comedy by making fun of where people were from. Strangely, the majority of the audience seemed to be from the Midwest; perhaps this is the norm for the Las Vegas Downtown visitor. A mind-reading illusion was performed where he was able to predict the words people had chosen from a mixed bag filled with assorted words; some were later written on his body.
Perhaps one act that would be enjoyed the most on this forum is one where he used a deck of cards, split the deck into thirds and had each third shuffled by a person in a different section of the audience. He later summoned a volunteer who distributed thirteen of the cards to random people in the audience. Next he had the audience count to five as he fanned out the deck and was able to instantly memorize which cards were missing, to which he suggested he was one of the best card counters in Las Vegas.
With any magic show one can always become suspicious of plants in the audience, as some of the people in this show just seemed too good to be true. It later seemed, however, that Hammer was such a clever performer he was able to bring humor out of each situation. My suspicions of the audience plants ceased as I was chosen for one of his acts.
Mike brought me up onstage and proceeded with the usual questioning, asking me my name and where I was from, commenting that I was crazy to move to Las Vegas from a nice place like San Francisco. He then proceeded to ask me my occupation. I told him I worked in the gaming industry, moving all the money around the place, to which he replied, "So you are on the run out here?" He then proceeded to pull out a novelty giant-sized deck of cards, to which I said, "I use those all the time," to which he replied, "These giant cards? What kind of place did you work in?" He had me choose a card, placed it into the middle of the deck, and he was later able to send the card to the top of the deck. He then tore a corner off the card and had me hold onto the piece. He had me sit on the deck of cards and said he was going to extract the chosen card through my body. After grabbing a shop vacuum he stuck the hose in my mouth and turned it on. A few seconds later he switched off the vacuum and asked me if I felt anything to which I replied, "I think so." He responded, "You should be used to it since you're from San Francisco." Mike then proceeded to open the vacuum where my chosen card was inside the canister.
Overall the Mike Hammer show was very entertaining. Mike is an amazing solo performer, constantly keeping the audience laughing and impressed by his magic effects. This is definitely a show to catch if one finds oneself on Fremont Street, and is a perfect show to see before dinner.
Mike Hammer Comedy Magic Show
Tue-Sat, 7:00 PM
$17.45 (general admission), $35.00 (VIP), including tax.