Coming off his Fake Believe stand-up tour, magician and comedian Justin Willman’s new special Magic for Humans just released on Netflix.
The six half-hour episodes dive into Netflix’s first original foray into the magic space, and follow Willman as he brings his skills as a magician to the strange and misunderstood subcultures of America.
Born in St. Louis, Willman currently lives in Los Angeles, and is a magician member at the infamous Magic Castle. Since starting his career, Willman has been a consultant and writer for film/television productions like America’s Got Talent, The Goldbergs, Love, and Disney’s upcoming feature film Magic Camp.
Willman has made multiple appearances on The Tonight Show, Ellen, Conan, and @Midnight. He’s performed live at the White House for the first family, his online videos have racked up over 50 million views, and his debut comedy/magic special Sleight of Mouth premiered on Comedy Central to rave reviews. The LA Times has called him, “A new breed of comic who’s making magic cool again for grown-ups.” and Time Out says his live show, “Has to be seen to be disbelieved.”
Tell us a bit about the projects you are working on.
I have a new series out on Netflix called Magic for Humans. It’s a comedy show where I use the art of magic to demystify the human condition. My plan was to disguise social experiments as street magic in hopes of answering life’s big questions, but I think I know less now than when I started. Us humans are quite a mystery.
I also tour constantly with my live show, so unless you live in Billings, Montana there’s a good chance I’ll be in your neck of the woods at some point soon. (Call me Billings!)
With your busy schedule, what do you like to do with your downtime?
I’m lucky that my hobby became my profession. But that also means that most of my time not performing is spent nerding out on magic and coming up with new tricks. The magic brain never turns off.
I do love me some dogs though. My two rescue pit bulls Betty and Stella are an irresistible distraction. I could watch them spoon and be weird for hours. Still haven’t worked them into the act, yet.
When you go out to eat, where do you like to dine?
I’ve never met a cuisine I don’t like. I eat everything. Sushi is a staple for me, so when I’m in LA I end up at Sugarfish at least a couple times a month. Mercado in LA is the best Mexican-gourmet-witchcraft around, just typing their name makes me crave the pork. And being a Missouri boy I need my BBQ … St. Louis style of course. Boneyard in Sherman Oaks always delivers.
Do you cook?
Before I got married the only thing I knew how to cook was Trader Joe’s pot stickers. And don’t get me wrong, that’s some tasty-ass bachelor cuisine. However, my wife’s affinity for “non-frozen-foods” has led me to branch out. Thanks to our Blue Apron subscription, I’ve cooked meals that you’d swear were made by a former Food Network host.
What types of drinks do you order when out?
If I’m sitting down for a savory dinner, I usually order a Dirty Tito’s Martini. (USA! USA!) But if I’m at a bar or somewhere that might require walking (martini glasses are not my friend), I’ll order a Jameson on the rocks. If it’s after 11pm, make that a Laphroaig with one rock. I love me some peaty Islay scotch … it’s like chewing on a campfire.
Do you prepare drinks at home?
My wife and I recently started making Old Fashioneds at home. She’s way better at it than I am. If I’m feeling fancy, I’ll make Martinis for everyone. But I still haven’t figured out how to go easy on the olive juice. My Martinis always end up dirty AF.
Do you own a home bar?
We have a very petite and stylish bar cart in the dining room that displays the pretty bottles, but the real liquor source are the giant handles of vodka in the freezer. Shhh.
What is your favorite drink/cocktail?
The best magician at the Magic Castle in Hollywood is Mike Pisciotta. Posing as an unassuming bartender in the basement he serves patrons their drinks then casually begins a performance that without fail blows everyone’s minds. He’s a charming master of sleight of hand and I love nothing more than watching people watch him. He also makes one hell of an Old Fashioned that is easily as good as his second deal.
Have you ever been a bartender?
Always a bar patron, never a bartender. :(