John Cassidy is a comedian, magician and balloon sculptor who’s been performing on stage since he was in grade school. Cassidy’s unique style of bizarre and humorous antics has earned him acclaim as one of most original performers of today, and he is featured in the “Guinness Book of World Records” for the most balloon sculptures made in one hour. The current record stands at 747 sculptures.
Cassidy has appeared on “Late Night with Conan O’Brien,” “The Today Show” and “Live with Regis and Kelly,” and he’s performed at the White House twice.
Sponsored by the Student Activities Board, Cassidy will present at Ithaca College at 8 p.m. tonight in IC Square as part of IC Spirit Week.
Contributing writer Jack Curran spoke with Cassidy about his variety act and what college students can expect Wednesday evening.
Jack Curran: How long have you been performing?
John Cassidy: Probably a lot longer than you’ve been alive. It was 1972; I was nine years old, so it was a while ago. I guess my first show was around [age] 9.
Curran: How did you get into comedy magic and balloon antics?
Cassidy: Well, it wasn’t a conscious decision; I’ll be honest. I did it to get through college, and then I realized it’s more fun than what I was studying.
Curran: So far what would you say has been the high point of your career?
Cassidy: I’m not even sure how you would define high point because last week I caught an alligator that got loose at one of the shows, and tomorrow I’m going to be doing a thing on the White House lawn with Al Roker, so it’s just a weird life. Seriously, here’s probably the high light: I’m in the “Guinness Book of World Records” for doing balloons. Ever since I was a little kid that was the one thing I really wanted. I kind of did it as a joke, and I made it, but then a few months later this German clown beat me. Then I beat him back, and we’ve gone back and forth a few times, so any time I beat the German clown it feels pretty good.
Curran: What can people expect out of your show?
Cassidy: What I’m hoping for is that people will just laugh and have a good time, maybe forget their troubles for a little while.
Curran: In your act, how do you manage to involve all of these different elements?
Cassidy: Most of my life, I was a standard trained magician, and I used to do close up slight of hand and everything, and it’s basically evolved over a period of time. It was more fun getting laughs, and people cared more about laughing than they did about the actual tricks. How do I do it? It’s kind of weird, it’s interactive, it’s spontaneous. Things happen, and it’s not scripted, so anything can happen, so you never know where the show’s going to go, and that makes it kind of fun.