This question cropped up yesterday at the party I performed at.
I arrived at the venue when the party was already in full swing. The birthday mom flitted around the room trying to put her guests at ease. She was so busy attending to everyone that for over an hour, she was oblivious of my presence.
As it’s my policy not to meet with clients before the party, I thought I understood the reason that she did not recognize me. I discovered later I thought wrong.
Just minutes before I went onstage I caught her eyes, and she smiled at me.
“Are you Leodini?” she asked pleasantly.
I said yes, I certainly am.
“You look different. I saw you two years ago at the party of my friend’s child. That’s why I hired you. I enjoyed your show very much. I want you to perform it to my guests today. But you look different. You must have aged.”
I assured her it must be my hair style. I have a different hairdo now. Two years ago, I looked like this:
Today my current look is this:
I know there is a slight difference between my before-and-after appearances, so I understood her confusion. But trust me, I told her, it’s just my hairdo.
“No,” she was adamant, “it’s not the hair. I saw a different Leodini two years ago. There must be many Leodinis, and you are one of them. You are not the same Leodini I saw before.”
Her words shocked me. I know some magicians “borrow” names of other magicians, go to a function, perform magic, and pass themselves off as that magician.
The thought crossed my mind and sent chills down my spine. I just couldn’t come to terms with the idea the birthday mom hired me because she saw someone else pretending to be me. That pretender must be very good I had this sudden urge to be like him.
The other explanation for her claim that she saw another Leodini could be the result of an obscure marketing strategy put to use by few magicians. It is so obscure I couldn’t believe there are magicians so daft they would actually use it.
Here’s how it works: instead of turning down overflow shows, a magician sends a clone to go to an event and perform as him. To be as nearly as an exact clone as possible, the clone comes to the party in the same costume as the original, uses the same props, performs the same show, delivers the same patter, uses the same performing style, etc. If everything works out fine, the client is supposed not to discover that he has hired a clone.
I said this business strategy is daft because I think it is a scam. It is downright dishonest. If a magician is already engaged on a certain date, why doesn’t he just turn down the show? Or if he wants to send someone else, why not just tell the client he’s sending a trusted associate to perform in his stead? Why make the client believe the magician is coming to perform when he will not?
What makes this practice odious is that the clone, who is usually not as capable a performer as the original, gets paid for the same amount of money for performing an inferior show. In this underhanded transaction, the client pays the fee of the original magician but gets a clone to perform at his party.
Well, the birthday mom at yesterday’s party must have heard of this obscure practice (which is no longer obscure if she had got wind of it) and thought I was a stand-in for the Leodini she saw two years ago.
I assured her there’s no other Leodini in the country. That I have no clones. I was the one she saw two years ago.
“So you are going to do today those funny interactive tricks?” she said, still trying to make sure I’m Leodini and that she had hired the show she wanted to see.
I said I would do all those fun routines and a few more. I told her my show had evolved over the past two years.