What naughty magic tricks did Steve Martin’s “The Great Flydini” share on “The Tonight Show”?
Late night legend Johnny Carson invited Steve Martin on The show tonight as a young comedian, before he really became a stand-up icon or a movie star. And maybe it had a little something to do with their similar interests. Turns out, both comedy stars got their start as amateur magicians.
As such, it seems fitting that Martin brought The Great Flydini to visit his friend Carson in the last month of 30 years as host. Needless to say, hilarity ensued as Martin unzipped his fly to start his show.
Steve Martin as the Great Flydini in 1992
This particular moment provides further proof of Martin’s skills as a comedian as he pulled it all off quietly. Through the comedy of facial expressions – and an unusually active, open zipper – Martin created a masterful act.
Available on Youtube, the performance shows Martin performing magic tricks, a puppet show, blowing bubbles and even answering a phone with his trouser fly.
Notably, it was during his last visit to Carson’s race on The show tonight, and he was one of the last guests chosen by the legends. Just 16 days later, Carson signed for good.
The friendship of Steve Martin and Johnny Carson
Martin certainly earned his spot as guest of honor for Carson. He told SiriusXM host Howard Stern in 2016 that he spent his early years in Hollywood on The show tonight trying to impress the host.
“The first time I went there I thought, ‘I’ll be famous,’ he said on The Howard Stern Show. “But it didn’t work out that way.”
Martin told Stern that he would only eventually come when he was invited as a guest host because he was running out of material. But he added: “With guest hosts I was successful again.”
And he formed a friendly bond with Carson as icing on the cake. He even visited the late-night host’s house for dinner parties and poker games.
“We only laughed,” he recalls on The Howard Stern Show. “The whole premise of playing poker was laughter. And then, once in a while, we would play poker.
Perhaps the notoriously private Carson took a liking to Martin because they had so much in common.
Johnny Carson and Steve Martin were both young magicians
According to Biography, Carson fell in love with magic when he was 12 years old. He bought a magician’s kit through the mail and began performing magic tricks in public as “The Great Carsoni”. He continued to improve and perform tricks for his shipmates during his time in the Navy, and even afterwards. Carson’s friend and fellow comedian, Dick Cavett, recalled forcing a meeting with Carson at one of his last magic shows.
“We kind of caught him backstage before the show, and the magicians hate it because they’re setting up their stuff,” he recalled. PBS. “He gave us this dirty look, but I pushed forward and told him we were magicians, then he greeted us and showed us some great card manipulations.” He added that Carson “was a great card man”.
As for Martin, he also got into entertainment as a magician. According to his memoirs, Born Standing: The Life of a Comedian, he worked in magic shops growing up. And he incorporated that love into his early comedy acts, which he arguably honed when The Great Flydini visited Carson in 1992.
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