Birmingham-born magician Ben Hanlin is the writer and presenter of ITV2’s Tricked, which will air its third series later this year, as well as having worked as a presenter for CBBC. He has also recently been preparing his debut show, Trickhead, to take to this year’s Edinburgh Festival, utilising his keen eye for performance detail and cheeky-chappy demeanour.
To find out more about the man behind the magic, I asked Ben these seven questions…
1) What makes Birmingham a good city to grow up in?
Our sense of humour! The Brummies are very good at poking fun at themselves and this self-deprecating tone makes for a good starting point in comedy.
2) How do you think magic and comedy compliment each other?
At their basics, a joke and a trick are incredibly similar. The performer has to present an idea with a surprise ending. Both only work if there is an element of surprise – both work well together because a trick can have a fantastic climax and comedy can be the vehicle that gets the audience there without them losing interest.
3) Are you easily intimidated?
If you are talking physically, then yes! But when it comes to performing I’m usually pretty good at staying confident…
4) Does performing at the Edinburgh Festival feel any different to you than other gigs?
Oh definitely. It’s something for the CV. It’s a performers right of passage that I’ve been avoiding for too long.
5) What do you order in a coffee shop?
Ah this is a sensitive subject. I’ve just quit coffee/all caffeine (5 weeks clean… I just want to thank my family for their support). I feel healthier and I am now one of those Peppermint Tea drinkers… but I would so love to order a flat white!
6) Are you a good friend?
Yes… and no. I’m really lucky that I’ve had the same group of friends for a very long time. We are all very close but due to my work I don’t get to see them as much as I’d like.
7) What is currently holding you back?
Ooh that’s a great question. Never been asked that before. I suppose time. Everything I want to achieve in the next few years takes a lot of time. For example, having my own tour will take time to build up to bigger venues and take a lot of time for me to put it together. Also, TV projects I’m working on all take incredible amounts of time to evolve.