The world’s first cannabis-themed magic show is coming to Olympia


Magician Ben Zabin brings the cannabis-inspired “Smokus Pocus” to Olympia on Friday, January 28.

Courtesy picture

“Smokus Pocus” is, as far as creator Ben Zabin knows, the world’s first cannabis-themed magic show.

The one-man show, which will be held in Olympia on Friday, January 28, includes tricks based on sobriety tests, numerous bowls and bongs, and an appearance by a giant, smiling inflatable joint.

The combination of tokes and tricks came naturally to Portland’s Zabin, who launched what he calls “the world’s most dope magic show” in May and recently began taking it on the road.

“I’ve always loved magic,” he told The Olympian, adding a few lines later, “I’ve always loved weed.”

In fact, he sold things after dropping out of Emerson College in Boston, where he went to study the entertainment business as part of his lifelong quest to become a full-time professional magician.

Although he’s been performing regularly since playing at friends’ birthday parties as a child, Zabin didn’t make a living in magic until he came up with the idea of “Smokus,” which is as much about comedy as it is about wit. read and make things disappear.

“There’s a lot of laughs,” he said. “I don’t take myself seriously up there. I just like to have a good time with everyone who comes.

Many of these people are, of course, stoned. “We get people coming in with very, very bloodshot eyes,” he said.

Its website header features a waving logo of a red-eyed bunny in a hat fluttering against a smoky background.

When it was pointed out that it wouldn’t take the best magician to amaze the stoned, Zabin laughed good-humouredly, pointing out that many non-smokers attended his shows in the company of wacky friends.

“I’ve tried to structure my shows to be an hour full of really trippy stuff that will blow your mind to both the stoned and the sober,” he said. “I want it to be a really good show, not just a really good weed show.”

He was a little hesitant when asked about his drug use before the shows. “I wish sometimes I could get stoned during shows, but it probably wouldn’t be a great performance if I was super, super cooked,” he said.

But he was obviously clear-headed when he packed up his car and moved to Portland to kick off the “THC-induced magic extravaganza” (another of his catchphrases for the show).

“I knew the Northwest was going to be the place,” he said. “It’s a cannabis hub. Cannabis is embedded in the culture of Oregon and Washington.

Zabin has taken “Smokus” to Colorado and Montana, and he’s heading to Oklahoma next week, but Washington is his most frequent out-of-state destination. He did half a dozen shows at the Tacoma Community Arts Center in the fall and will make his Seattle debut Feb. 11 at the Jewelbox Theater.

‘Smokus Pocus’

  • What: Ben Zabin’s cannabis-fueled magic show, which sells out weekly in Portland, debuts at Olympia.
  • When: 8 p.m. Friday, January 28
  • Or: Olympia Ballroom, 116 Legion Way SE, Olympia
  • Tickets: $25
  • More information:
  • As well: Spectators must be at least 18 years old to attend.

Brian L. Hartfield