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Amazing Johnathan

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Amazing Johnathan

Cover of Genii (2000)
BornJohn Edward Szeles
September 9, 1958
Detroit, Michigan
DiedFebruary 22, 2022 (age 63)

John Edward Szeles (b.1958-d.2022), better known by the stage name The Amazing Johnathan, was an American stand-up comedian/magician.


His act was mostly composed of hijinks, interaction with one specific audience member and a few legitimate magic tricks which often fail for comic effect. Since 2001, he has been a year-round headliner in Las Vegas. Self-described as the "Freddy Krueger of Comedy",[1] Szeles usually performs wearing his everpresent headband and his shows frequently use gore, such as pretending to suck on his own hanging eyeball, cutting his wrists, and skewering his own tongue. He is also good friends with fellow performer Criss Angel, and has helped Angel perform a variety of illusions, most notably during his three guest appearances on Mindfreak.

Szeles, who began his career performing in the streets of San Francisco,[2] first appeared on television in The 8th Annual Young Comedians Show in 1983 and later went on to become the host of the short-lived 1991 syndicated variety/game show Ruckus. He appeared on various talk and variety shows from the mid-80s to mid 2000s. His only credited performance as an actor was The Obligatory Holiday Episode of The Weird Al Show (playing the part of Uncle Johnathan). He has made several appearances on Late Night with David Lettermen, a record 24 appearances on Fox's Comic Strip Live, and has had several specials on Comedy Central including Comedy Central Presents, Lounge Lizards and more recently his own one hour special entitled "Wrong on Every Level." (November 18, 2006), He dedicated the special to his Uncle Eugene, who showed him his first card trick which "started this whole mess". His only film appearance is the 2005 documentary The Aristocrats

Szeles has also authored a how-to book on practical jokes titled Every Trick in the Book, a compilation of both classic practical jokes and plain magic tricks, along with his own original material in both categories. He was finishing up his memoirs, entailed, "Drive It Like You Stole It."

In March 2007 it was reported that Szeles was diagnosed with "a serious heart condition".[3] The performer's website identified the condition as cardiomyopathy and went on to assert that, due to a combination of weight loss and blood thinners, he was doing well and decided to postpone retirement indefinitely.

In 2008, Szeles combined two of his passions (classic car collecting and drive-in movie theaters) to open the "Amazing Underground" a members only indoor drive-in movie theatre located within his warehouse facilities in Las Vegas.

As of 2011, Szeles was performing regular shows in Las Vegas at the Harmon Theater while also taking select dates at venues across the USA and in Australia. 2011 marks Szeles' third year of performing at the Harmon Theatre and Szeles' 11th consecutive year as a full-time Las Vegas headliner. He has won "Best Comedian" award from Las Vegas Review Journal, Comedian of the Year from Nevada Magazine, Top Ten Acts in Vegas (LVRJ) and is the longest running, most successful solo comic magician in U.S history


  • The 8th Annual Young Comedians Show (1983)
  • Ruckus (1991)
  • World's Greatest Magic 2 (1995)
  • Cover Genii 2000 September
  • Criss Angel Mindfreak, Season 1 Episode 15 (2005)
  • Wrong on Every Level (2006)
  • The Amazing Johnathan Documentary (2019)

External links


  1. Pauly Shore, Part 2: The grown-up years? 1998-04-17 link 2008-11-09
  2. Best bets 1/18 2001-01-18 link 2008-11-09
  3. Amazing Johnathan to bid farewell Las Vegas Review-Journal March 8, 2007 link 2007-06-07
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