Lance Burton and Mac King are two of the best magicians I've ever seen.
I was first introduced to Lance's work by Penn Jillette, who told me that Lance did the finest close-up routine (Max Maven tells me the preferred term is "stage manipulation") in the world -- high praise from the man who works with Teller. On his advice, I went to see Lance's Las Vegas show, which by then had moved from the Hacienda to the Monte Carlo. Penn was right. Lance's opening routine, which he'd been doing since he was a teen, was remarkable. The illusions that followed, both big and small, were also very clever and perfectly executed. I enjoyed it so much that I went back several times over the next few years to share the experience with friends and family. Lance retired in 2010, and hasn't done a new show or TV special since.
I met Mac King when he was working the comedy circuit tour and came through St. Louis to play The Funny Bone. The club was (and still is) in the same building as KTRS, and I used to have its headliners drop by my midday show to talk and promote their gigs. When Mac came in, he was really funny and quick, and when I went to see his show that night, I was equally impressed with his sleight-of-hand. A couple of years later, Mac signed a contract to do his comedy/magic show at Harrah's (on the strip), and he's still there, ten times a week! When I did my show on remote from The Orleans in Vegas, Mac came over to talk some more and impress the small audience that had gathered around my table with a few tricks. I've taken and sent lots of people to see Mac, and they have all reported back that they had a great time.
Lance and Mac have known each other since they started out in Kentucky more than four decades ago. At one point, they worked together and helped each other develop their acts and fine-tune their tricks. They have the easy camaraderie of longtime friends, and it's evident in this video from a couple of weeks ago. The event was the annual gathering of the International Brotherhood of Magicians in Louisville, where Lance took the stage ostensibly to interview Mac, but quickly decided to let the audience ask questions, which led to some wonderful stories -- and a famous rope trick -- from Mac.
Make sure you watch through to the final story, about the time a woman from the audience joined Mac onstage for a trick and it didn't go as he planned. Note: while Mac is wearing a microphone, it appears that Lance isn't, so it's a little difficult to hear him at times, but you'll still know what's going on...