Doing magic is a literal expression in the case of Jandro, that crazy magician who carries a nervous child inside. He doesn’t just play magic games – a better term than ‘tricks’ -, he creates them.. So much so that he has won his third Fool Us trophy, an award that can only be won if you get the judges, seasoned magicians Penn and Teller, to not know how you did it.
Meanwhile, Jandro is on tour throughout Spain with his magic shows.
What is that Fool Us? Fool Us means “fool us” and it is an American television program that airs on the CW and is recorded in Las Vegas. Penn and Teller are the wizards to be fooled, to be fooled, as they say. They are the magicians who hold the record for the longest time as residents of the same theater in Las Vegas, at the Rio Hotel.
And you went there … Magicians from all over the world go to the program to do their show in Las Vegas and if, in addition to liking your number, they don’t know how you did it, the back of the trick, they say “Fool Us” and give you the trophy. And well, yeah… I’ve won it three times in a row. Cheating is good, folks (laughs).
Could the rest of the magicians break her legs for hoarding next time? I don’t think so, they are very fond of me there. The first time I went they looked at me as if to say “this weird guy who is he” and now we are friends and we do things together. They want me to come back for a fourth time, but it is complicated with a pandemic involved.
Your jovial and cheerful, almost boyish style, is it unusual there? It was one of the things that most struck Penn and Teller, who had never seen me perform, and the producers. In fact, when I went the second time I did a rehearsal, which Penn and Teller don’t see, and I was like always, with my move, and when I finished the producer came and asked me, are you going to do the running?
I thought he was asking him not to do it, but no, he said “please do it”. And I ended up running and from the euphoria Penn and Teller ended up running with me and the audience saw them running, having a good time … and that made them very funny there. And then I tell them things in Spanish, or I introduce myself with a “bona nit” or I make up words …
It has been coming up, is the next trick already in the International Space Station? Yes, ET called me yesterday who is going to collaborate on the next issue. I am thinking of an idea, but I am not based on whether it is big or small.
I was preparing one to travel there and do it on set, but it couldn’t be. So I thought I would take advantage and do the biggest trick that had been seen in that program, something that was not feasible there.
It was all based on the fact that I was very amused by car trick O card trick [truco con un coche o truco de cartas, en inglés], which was the first thing that threw them off. And I created the number around the joke.
Still grieving if the trick fails? Always, it is something that we always carry with us. The other day I met by Zoom with Penn and I asked him about fear, which is something that interests me a lot and he told me that he keeps getting nervous.
When you act you can do two things: always do the same tricks, which most magicians do, or try to do new things, create new numbers. And when you create something you don’t know if it’s going to work and you move along the line of “it might not come out.” And many of the things that I’ve done on TV or on Fool Us I have not done them before, so the level of uncertainty is very high.
Being a magician, do you lose the magic of being a spectator? You see it differently. It is like a film director who watches a movie and is thinking about the shots, the frames, the sequences, the music … instead of enjoying the movie and that happens a lot to us. But when you are surprised it is a great feeling. And when you know how they have done it, you enjoy thinking, my goodness, how well he has done it, how well thought out.
What are the essential elements in a magic trick? For me the most important thing is that it be interesting and fun, I call it R&D. If I do a very good trick, but I don’t empathize with you, you are not interested and you do not get involved, you will forget it. And it must be fun because there are tricks that are very good but the process is a bit boring, you lose your attention, you scatter and then it does not impact as much. You have to empathize with the person you are doing it for. And then I like that it is original and creative, because if not, the profession does not advance.
Does the magician have to be a bit of an actor? Robert-Houdin, a French magician who is called the father of modern magic, the one who brought magic to theaters, said that the magician has to be an actor who plays the role of magician. I do not totally agree, it is more beautiful that you do what is born to you.
I’m not good at telling stories, but for example René Lavan, who was a one-armed magician from Argentina, used to tell some wonderful poetry that got you in so much that you ended up crying. It would be absurd for me to try to play that role and absurd for him to try to run across a stage in Las Vegas. I prefer my personality to permeate what I do.
Trick is a good word? It is an interesting debate … magicians really like philosophy, psychology, terms, words … and there are those who are against the word trick because it seems to them that it lowers it, there is much more than a trick, there is a part psychological, to play with the brain and with what the public will perceive.
I don’t mind calling them tricks, but Juan Tamariz, for example, calls them games, because it’s like playing… for me they are events, experiences.
I couldn’t get out of the house in confinement, but to Pen and Teller your mind said “yes I could get out”, is that what’s behind a wizard? Totally, indeed the pun card Y car came out imagining. I visualize a lot what I want to do. I imagine myself on a stage in Las Vegas, I imagine myself there speaking English and that pun occurs to me. With your mind you can get to places to create without having to go physically.
Did your English work? Yes, because in the first and second trick I had a script, but in the end I started improvising and it was a bombshell. In the third one I couldn’t because there was no interaction, but I was very careful with the words so as not to spend time and do everything in a sequence shot, so that there were no cuts.
In a magic show there is always someone who says “I know how he did it”, does that bother you? There is that intellectual challenge and it is part of the magic. The magician has done something and you think “it can’t be, I know the physical laws and that violates them”, and you want to know how. But if you do it right they get carried away. But the analytical mind is always there trying to know … nothing happens, it is part of the normal.
The good thing is that you dress the trick with other emotional and psychological elements, something fun… they don’t get to analyze so much.
He said “every time I invent a trick I lose a hair”, is he going to go to Turkey for more tricks? Are you looking for a contact in case they do a two-for-one? When you can travel, we go, you go for articles and I go for tricks (laughs).
Are you asked a lot at friends’ gatherings to do tricks? Less and less, because every time I go out less. As I am always acting or with my children, I don’t go out there much as a disco or pub and if I meet my friends I am one of them.
I’m not your typical heavy wizard. There is a Woody Allen movie, Scoop, he is a magician and he plays the role of a heavy magician and everyone throughout the movie is asking someone to take a letter. And being a heavy wizard is counterproductive. When you are with friends you are not the center of attention.
How do your children manage that their father is a magician? It is not a common profession. It is that they do not have a common father, but since when they were born I was already like that, it is normal. When children start to experience everything new they see it as something magical, and in the drawings, everything is full of powers, so for them it is normal.
Have you ever used your magical abilities on a day-to-day basis? To do illegal acts, are you asking me? Do you want to go there? Do you want us to go in there? (laughs) I’m a magician, not a politician. I am so stupid that I have not done it, but I know friends who may have disappeared a pack of gum from a gas station … but there if they catch the trick you do have a problem.
How did you start in magic? By Juan Tamariz, 30 years ago. I had the typical magic box, but that was when Juan Tamariz’s fascicles came out, one per week, 72 weeks. Almost a year and a half. It was at a good time in my life and I learned magic how it has to be done, valuing it and seeing that it costs a lot.
Now you want a magic course, you click on the internet and you have it, but you don’t learn anything, because you don’t learn the basics. You need to understand how fiction works, the processes, which are not just tricks. Now tell a boy that he wants something that he will have in 72 weeks …
Now you learn a trick on YouTube and you do it, but you do not understand why it works and that is the important thing in magic, the basis to be able to create, learn how to go ahead of the viewer and you do that by studying the great thinkers of magic. .
Are you linked a lot with magic? It is more associated with being bald … and I’m going to leave it there, because if I tell the truth I’m going to disappoint many people. I prefer that it be thought that I have had a life that I have not stopped and I am not going to confirm or deny.
Is magic a world of companionship or competitiveness? There is as in all professions. In movies you always see wizarding squabbles, but my best friends are wizards. Yunke is my best friend and he is a magician of great illusions and we have done many crazy things together. And with those who do the theater tour they are friends and colleagues. Yesterday I had dinner with a magician, tonight I have dinner with another… we help each other a lot because we respect each other a lot.
There are many who do not respect you and are behind, but that happens in all professions.
I had to ask them a question and they unselfishly helped me or Juan Tamariz who helped me for the first issue of the Fool Us, there is much better vibes than people think.
He is already acting, where can we see him? Everything is being reactivated now, we are doing Descabellado, which is a theater show and we have many dates and places. And another smaller but fun show called La Magia de Jandro, I give creativity lectures, creating TV formats, I’m writing a children’s play… I like to do a bit of everything.
Why do you have to go see magic? You have to go see things in general, whatever you want. But a good magic show, if it is good, is very rich in sensations, tension, laughter, tears… a good magic show is when the spectator comes out better than he has entered. You have to go see things that excite you.