A candid chat with The Naked Magicians


The Naked Magicians


That’s right! They are magicians and they are NAKED! Guy Frawley chats with one half of the boldest, cheekiest double act around!

February 25 2014



The Naked Magicians officially launches tonight at the Powerhouse and for their first trick, they’ve pulled a sold out run out of their hat! I was able to catch up with Chris Wayne, one half of the titular Naked Magicians, to talk about the show, magic and male nudity.


G: How did this all get started? Your colleague Simon Paynter originally came up with the concept, but what started yours and Mike Tyler’s involvement?


C: It was over a beer one night, he told me of an idea that he had for a poster more than anything, he had an idea for a poster that he thought would make a great idea for a show. That’s sort of the order he comes up with ideas for his incredible shows. He came up with a great idea for the concept or branding of a show called The Naked Magicians and the poster was an image of a magician with a top hat covering his, ah, genitals. And he asked me to come and see if I could write something on it, I spent 4 years working as the comedy writer for B105 so I had 4 years writing experience under my belt, a belt I no longer wear. Yep, magic naked jokes. I thought about what the show would look like in my head, took it back to him and we started to workshop it from there. He met Mike Tyler through me, he’s one of my best mates, and Mike’s not only an amazing entertainer but he’s also a very good looking man! We decided he’d make a good counterpart to me and that’s how it all started.


G: So Simon got the ball rolling and you helped develop the show, when Mike came onboard what was his involvement?


C: Mike came in during the writing period and being one of my best friends we’d just sit around and talk about how we can take some of the strongest magic and the magic from our shows and make it a little bit naughty? how can we make it cheeky? How do we make it funny? And you know, it’s easy to have a laugh when you’re hanging out with your best mate. So we started just writing it together between Mike and I and once we had Simon’s blessing to start developing this concept of a cheeky, naughty magic show, we spent 6 months working on it, coming up with ideas, tuning them, fine tuning them and creating a show that was a balance of amazing magic but also naughty, sexy, funny magic. And we think we’ve hit the nail on the head with that!


G: How exciting for you all that tonight is the official launch at the Powerhouse, and the following 6 shows, are all sold out!


C: Yeah, we had to add extra shows. And we were nervous because the comedy festival is famous just for having comedians, some of the best comedians in the world come to this. And then the Powerhouse quite graciously added us to the lineup and it’s been received really well  and sold out before opening. So they added some extra shows, and they’ve now sold out too! We’re just so excited with how the show’s been received and so we want to honour that by giving people something that they, literally, never would have experienced before.


G: Talking about things that have never been seen before, when it comes to magic there seems to have been a resurgence over the past few years with the old tricks being done in a new way for new audiences. You’ve appeared to come up with a pretty effective diversion, two hot guys in the nude is going to help keep the audience looking elsewhere! How much of the show though is fresh content you’ve both created and how much of it is reworked ‘classics’?


C: Well number 1, you’re totally right, magic right now is more popular than it’s been in a long time and that’s thanks to performers like Criss Angel and David Blaine and the likes. Their strength is that they’ve made it popular again, their weakness is that it’s all TV magic. So when you come to a live show you really can’t beat experiencing it first hand; that’s a really cool thing! For us with this show, we wanted everything to be as original as possible; we wanted all of the magic to be strong. We didn’t want the weight of the show to be on the nudity, the comedy or the magic. We wanted it to all be equally strong, so what we’ve done is taken some brand new material and stuff we’d tried and tested, that worked really well. We’ve also taken some of the classics of magic and made them a little bit naughtier. A good example of that is a part in the show when Mike and I have a showdown and have to escape from straight jackets, we asked ourselves how could we make this funny and a bit more relevant? So Mike wears the straight jacket and I’m tied up in a ‘Gay’ jacket, we’ve dyed it in rainbow colours, added sequins and feathers. It’s like a straightjacket, but it’s fabulous!



G: Getting up on stage in front of 7 sold out shows is daunting enough for anyone, let alone sans clothing, how are you guys keeping in shape and preparing for the official launch.


C: I gotta be honest, we’ve been working really hard. I’ve been working out and have kept to a strict diet for the show and have lost 13kg to prepare. When I knew I had to get naked I was like, ‘Lets do it!’. Mike swims and cycles so he’s already in amazing physical shape, I had a lot of catching up to do. So for the last 6 months I’ve been on a very strict diet, I go to the gym 6 days a week. It’s been a combination of hard work and diet and I gotta say it’s one of my proudest achievements out of all of it this that I’ve lost all this weight without posting a single selfie at the gym. The reason I do it is because we really want to give the audience the best, we want the show to be funny , we want it to be magical, but also while we’re up there we want people to get a little bit excited when that point of the show comes and we lose our clothes. It’s so much harder to be a sexy naked man than it is to be a sexy naked woman. Hopefully people will like what they see!


G: Talking about stage shows with male nudity people automatically think of Puppetry of the Penis, to what extent do you think they broke the ice for you and how much of your performance was inspired by them?


C: We didn’t take inspiration from Puppetry of the Penis so to speak, but what they did do was show Australia that we like to laugh at that sort of stuff. It showed that Australians weren’t prudes and that theatre could be naughty. To point out briefly, they’re this countries biggest live export for a theatre show ever in our history, so they really paved the way. We’ve had Puppetry of the Penis and Busting Out that have done phenomenally. But we view ourselves as completely separate, yes we’re an adult show and yes we do get naked in the show but it’s incredibly separate from both those shows.


G: Do you feel that it was a bit more of a challenge for you, considering both magicians are male, as I think in Australia especially we have this strange disconnect in the media between male nudity and female nudity. Do you think there were any barriers there for you when creating the show or has it been a pretty straight forward process?


C: It’s actually been really well received. The press seem to be jumping on board and it hasn’t been too much of an issue. I suppose I don’t know what else to say, other than that it’s been really well received.


G: Well that speaks for itself doesn’t it.


C: It does! And it’s funny because I think sexuality is a big thing in 2014, the Powerhouse has been dealing with that exact issue at the moment with the Queer Film Festival. There was a poster, the poster they were using to promote the festival, and the Brisbane City Council said the image was too confronting and it was just a poster of a male couple kissing on the beach. So it’s a weird thing, Mike and I have posters up all over the city wearing nothing but a top hat covering our penises but if we were kissing all of a sudden that would be an issue, that breaks my heart a little. But I think in the context of our show it’s been really well received.


If you’re now kicking yourself that you missed out on getting tickets then never fear, you still have one last chance as a new show was announced yesterday for tomorrow night Wednesday the 26th. I wouldn’t be waiting for long though, if the past is anything to go by these new tickets will be selling fast!


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