Comedy magician Pete Firman heads to Cambridge Junction during ‘TrikTok’ adventure
Comedy magician Pete Firman is looking forward to returning to Cambridge with his new show TrikTok (see what he did there?).
Following a sell-out Edinburgh Fringe run and a 2022 tour, the “new poster-boy for British comedy magic” (The Telegraph) is back with a never-before-seen show packed with laughter and, of course, magic.
“I’m quite proud of the title,” admits Pete, whose many television appearances include The Magicians, The John Bishop Show, The Sarah Millican Television Programme, Tonight at the London Palladium and The One Show. “As a man who’s pushing his mid-40s, I felt it was quite novel to keep it on-trend with the young kids…
“But I guess it kind of encapsulates the show to a certain extent: it’s fun, magic – I mean I’m not breaking the mould, for those that have seen me before it’s the same sort of thing.
“It’s half stand-up show, half magic show and, as always, I’m trying to make the magic that I’m doing as amazing as possible and making the show as funny as it can be.”
Pete has an impressive one million followers on social media, and has attracted more than 175 million views thanks to his snappy videos, which regularly go viral.
Which came first for him, magic or comedy? “The magic, first and foremost,” he replies, “I got a magic set when I was a kid, I’m sure like most children. I got it as an eighth birthday present and it was my hobby all through childhood and it just kind of stuck with me.
“When I was a teenager, I got a part-time job working in a restaurant in Middlesbrough, which is where I’m from, and I would go round and keep the customers entertained when they were waiting a particularly long time for a meal, or whatever.
“And during that time, I did develop a style; I think the thing with magic is you impart your personality into it. I suppose it’s like anything.
“If you’re a singer and you’re singing a cover song, you’re not going to do it the same way as another person – you’re going to inject your own personality into it. It’s the same with magic, I think it’s what the performer brings to the table.
“So I always made the magic that I was doing in a light-hearted, fun way and tried to make it inclusive. I think the danger with magic is you fall into a camp where it’s like ‘I know something you don’t know, I’m cleverer than you’ but I think if you can be fun with it, and perhaps even be a bit self-deprecating, the audience appreciate that you’re not taking yourself too seriously. I think it goes down a bit better.”
Pete is a fan of magicians Wayne Dobson, Geoffrey Durham and American duo Penn & Teller – as well as the great Tommy Cooper and comedy double act Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer (“Bob Mortimer grew up in a house just round the corner from where my mum and dad live” he notes). He went on to perform in London comedy clubs while living in the capital.
“I just noticed all of these comedy clubs that were around and I thought, ‘Well why don’t I see if I can do part of the magic act in that environment?’,” he recalls, “and I enjoyed doing that but I realised quite quickly no one’s going to a comedy club to see a magician.
“So I was going to have to spend as much time on trying to make the show funny and write jokes as I had been just coming up with tricks.
“Consequently, that sort of style evolved – and from comedy clubs I’ve done several Edinburgh Festivals, several tours and just kind of evolved this style.”
Away from magic and comedy, Pete is also set to appear in the upcoming second series of Good Omens, the TV version of the Terry Prachett/Neil Gaiman books, which will be released on Amazon Prime in summer 2023.
“It’s a real departure for me,” says Pete. “They were looking for an actor that could do magic and my agent put me in touch with them.
“I did a self-tape audition and got the gig and we filmed it at the beginning of last year – it’s taken an awfully long time. I think it arrives on Amazon Prime at the end of July.
“That was a big thrill for me, totally out of my comfort zone... I’m on set, I’m working with David Tennant and Michael Sheen and doing this scene together and it was slightly surreal...”
Pete Firman will be performing at the Cambridge Junction (J2) on Saturday, September 2. Tickets, priced £21.50 (adults) and £20.50 (concessions), are now available at junction.co.uk. For more on Pete, go to petefirman.co.uk.