Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2018 | 2 a.m.
Murray Sawchuck has performed at a handful of venues since coming to Las Vegas from Orlando more than 15 years ago but the current home of his unique brand of magic and comedy is the one that feels most comfortable for the Vancouver native with the instantly recognizable shock of blond hair.
The Laugh Factory comedy club at the Tropicana was Sawchuck’s third stop on the Strip in 2012, after the Frontier and MGM Grand. He performed there for about two and a half years before moving over to Planet Hollywood, where his show shared the Sin City Theater since 2014. Months ago he moved back to the Trop and the intimate and old-school room that holds extra meaning for him.
“It is like coming home. I even got my old dressing room back,” says Sawchuck, whose first experiences with the original Laugh Factory on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles changed his career path. “Years ago when reality TV was really just starting to come up and I didn’t consider myself a comedy magician, I realized there were only one or two magicians on TV but comics were always on TV, on sitcoms and talk shows and everywhere. So I thought, I gotta learn to be funny. So on my days off I would drive into L.A. and wait in line on the street at the Laugh Factory because back then, the first 15 people on the list could do the open mic for three minutes.”
Remember, Sawchuck was already playing his own show on the Las Vegas Strip at this time and had already performed his magic act around the world and on several TV appearances. But he knew he had to continue to evolve.
He kept commuting to L.A. for months hoping to hone his comedy chops and maybe even meet Laugh Factory founder Jamie Masada. “I never met the guy. Then I did a lot of traveling and touring and ten years later a friend asks me to come check out the Laugh Factory in Las Vegas as a possible venue for a show, so I walk in and I’m wearing a baseball hat and jeans and all of a sudden a guy works around the corner and it’s Jamie,” Sawchuck says. “So I told them all the story of doing the open mics and very quickly, they welcomed me and turned around walked out. Me and [longtime assistant] Lefty just sat there wondering, do we have a show here? I guess so.”
Sawchuck’s constant drive and determination to update his act has lead him to YouTube, where his channel has more than 1 million subscribers. Although he’s toured constantly and appeared on “America’s Got Talent” and regularly on “Pawn Stars,” he says he’s most often recognized from web videos showcasing different tricks and pranks. “I’ve been seen more on YouTube in the last few years than 20 years of being on TV. Probably 50 percent of people come to see me and buy a ticket because of YouTube and they have no idea I’ve been appearing on ‘Pawn Stars’ for 10 years.”
In addition to the Tropicana show, Sawchuck is bringing his sixth annual holiday show benefitting the Friends For Life Humane Society to Summerlin at the Starbright Theatre on December 22. He’ll be joined onstage by fellow magicians Jarrett & Raja, his faithful friend Lefty, singer Linda Suzanne and special guest Arthur Duncan, the dancer known for his performances on “The Lawrence Welk Show” in the ’60s and ’70s. You can find ticket info at murraymagic.com.
Murray the Magician is presented at 5 p.m. Sunday-Wednesday and 7 p.m. Thursday and Saturday at the Laugh Factory at the Tropicana (3801 Las Vegas Blvd. South, 702-739-3626) and more information can be found at troplv.com.