We had the good fortune of connecting with Jonathan Burns and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jonathan, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
I don’t think I had a choice. I remember when I went to college I started as a Computer Science major. I always liked computers and technology, but when I took my first class I quickly realized it wasn’t the right fit. The professor was bland, I didn’t relate to many of the other students, and I barely passed. The next semester I switched my major to Art. My advisor mentioned, “I’ve NEVER had anyone do that before?!” which made me think I was making the right decision. As soon as I walked into the art building I realized that was my place! My professors were colorful & fun, and best of all I was getting rewarded for being creative & unique. I found “my people!” Since then I continue to seek out creative people and find ways to turn my interests into my career.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I perform a physical comedy show that is audience interactive. I combine magic tricks, feats of contortion, and the audience into an experience that is often hard to explain to people at dinner parties. What started as a kid’s birthday party magic show is now an act that I have performed around the world at theaters, festivals, resorts, cruise ships, and on TV. Looking back to the start seems like a long hard road to where I am now, but it was also so fun that the time just flew by! My entire job revolves around me performing to large groups of people gathered together, SO 2020 forced me to stop and rethink the plan that I set into motion 16 years ago. Since everything shut down our guest bedroom has been converted into a live-streaming studio and I started working on some writing projects that I never had time for before. I still miss a live crowd reacting to my act, but taking a step back has opened up a new and exciting path toward the future!
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Scot Nery’s Boobietrap in Hollywood! This is my favorite show in LA and it happens every Wednesday night. Every week Scot curates an evening with 15 world-class performers who get only 4-minutes to impress you — each act is a different whirlwind experience from the last. It’s a feat of fun, beauty, weirdness, and love from the world’s best entertainers. Who knows, you may even see me there!.. for 4-minutes.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Shoutout to, Ryan Pilling! Ryan and I met at a magic convention (Yes! Those are a thing.) when we were teenagers. Even though we were about the same age he seemed to have figured out so much more than me already, and I still remember his advice. “Keep all of your ideas in a notebook. Even the bad ones. Don’t edit yourself.” This is such simple advice that I had never considered! Before then I was just imitating acts I had seen live or on television, but once I started writing down every creative thought or idea, most of them terrible, I changed my act from another copy into something that was originally me.
Eric Forberger Taylor Wong Allison Stock