It was magic. On NBC’s “America’s Got Talent,” judge Howie Mandel sat on stage unable to read his own name as the contestants performed their “pressure phrenology” trick. The crowd laughed, the other judges squealed in amusement, and Mandel confusingly stared at the audience.
Magicians David and Leeman (David Blatter and Leeman Parker) were lauded as fresh and youthful as the judges unanimously sent them to the next round. They didn’t win Season 9, but they gained wider recognition. They will be in Sacramento on Friday, Oct. 2, to perform at the Crest Theatre.
Parker, 31, who grew up in Wilton, described the humorous act that features what they call “pseudo-science,” card tricks and sleight-of-hand stunts: “It is taking what the perspective is of magic and giving them a different take of what magic can be.”
It’s not the tricks themselves that are entertaining, Parker said. “It is the show.”
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“I like hearing laughter or gasps of amusement. That’s why I do it,” he said.
Growing up in the rural area of Sacramento County, Parker said, “I was self-reliant. Friends didn’t live around, and I was home alone a lot.”
He was interested in taking things apart and seeing how everything worked behind the scenes, he said. “It’s responsible for my comedic voice.”
When he was 8 he saw his first magic trick at the California State Fair ended up buying a trick and learning it that night. He returned the next day to buy the rest of the tricks.
Parker said he was a shy and socially awkward child and was drawn to magic because it was a way of communicating.
“It was less scary to show somebody a trick than going up and talking to somebody.”
After graduation from Elk Grove High School, he performed sketch and improvisational comedy in Sacramento bars and lounges. At age 21, he moved to Los Angeles to pursue an acting career with Second City but discovered he wasn’t any good at acting. Eventually, he was performing at the Santa Monica pier as a side job to make cash, he said.
“That rejuvenated my love for magic,” Parker said. “I didn’t think I was good enough or had the skill to make it a full-time thing.”
About the same time, he met Blatter, a former high school philosophy teacher, and the two crossed paths again while performing at the Magic Castle. The entertainment director there caused them to begin working together after he said he liked their synergy but would book them only as a duo act.
“Right now we are about entertainment as opposed to message,” Parker said of their current act. “At some point, we want to delve into what makes us as individual artists tick.”
David and Leeman
What: As seen on “America’s Got Talent,” David Blatter and Leeman Parker present a comedic magic act. In addition, Cheryl “The Soccer Mom” Anderson performs.
Where: Crest Theatre, 1013 K St., Sacramento
When: 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 2