Spotlight on Magician/Comedian Kerry Pollock

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I want to welcome Magician/Comedian and owner of the Hilton Head Magic Comedy Cabaret to the BTS Entertainment Corner. I’ve had the pleasure of working both of Kerry’s clubs and the new one located on Hilton Head Island, SC, is amazing!! Here’s a quick bio on Kerry before we get started.

“Kerry Pollock has been headlining casinos and cabarets for nearly three decades.  He is a favorite at the world famous Magic Castle in Hollywood appearing in the Palace of Mystery on a regular basis and has enjoyed numerous television appearances over the years.  Described as “Funny Not Filthy”,  Kerry’s clean original approach to the art has contributed to a refreshing and very entertaining full evening show.”

A former engineer and founder of Creative Entertainment Solutions Inc., Kerry has acted as creative consultant for top names in the magic industry such as David Copperfield, Penn & Teller, Lance Burton, David Blaine, and Criss Angel, to name a few. See below for Teller’s review of Kerry Pollock.

“Kerry is a world class magical designer and illusion inventor, specializing in wireless electronics which incidentally work faultlessly.   Kerry is ingenious, trustworthy, and a true gentleman – and one of the most powerful and charming performers I know.”
                                                               Teller, (Penn & Teller)

1)  Well, let’s start from the beginning, what got you started in magic and inventing?

I was always fascinated with magic ever since I was a kid. In my teens I got heavily into close-up sleight of hand with cards, coins, etc., and became rather proficient at it. When it came time to have to earn a living, however, I kind of fell away from magic for a while and wound up taking a job as a design engineer. Mostly tool and die work as well as machine design. This, while obtaining my captain’s license for boat chartering and parasailing.

During this period (age 25 or so) I had some clients out on my boat for a day and then dinner at a popular dinner-nightclub in the Cleveland Flats. This, you might say, was my “break” into show business. While waiting for our food to arrive on a very crowded outside deck, I had unintentionally gathered a crowd around our table of 20 to 25 people within a few minutes. Upon being tapped on my shoulder from behind, I was greeted by the owner who I actually thought was going to ask me to leave for creating this minor mayhem. However, he offered me a job instead… performing in their lounge once a week.  Well, of course one thing led to another and I started working comedy clubs, casinos, ships, corporate gigs, the usual stuff paying my dues. Actually, I never really perceived it as paying my dues. I was making a living doing what I loved.

While on the road with days, weeks, and years in hotel rooms, I taught myself computer electronics and software coding to develop a remote controlled sound system because I got tired of bouncers and bartenders missing my queues. In those days you handed them a cassette and hoped for the best. Since the first system I built I have been through about five iterations. Cassette – CD – DAT – Mp3 – PC  all remote controlled and programmable.  I also developed my own brand of DMX software and hardware for lighting.  This was the genesis of Creative Entertainment Solutions, most of which is custom effects and controls for professional magicians and variety acts.

2) It was great to work your club and spend some time with you discussing life and entertainment. You are an “idea man” and really see things through. Can you expound a little on your philosophy of entertaining? What really makes you tick as a performer?

When I first started performing I really had no philosophy, or direction for that matter.  As I mentioned earlier, it was mere happenstance that I even got into this business as I already had two unrelated small businesses keeping me busy. That being said, there was never any significant pressure on me to succeed creating the “nothing to lose” mentality that allowed me to relax and treat performing as more of a fun side job. And that’s exactly what is was to me. Not by design, but after my performing career picked up and I started to analyze what was working for me, I realized the three most important factors for an entertaining show. Be relaxed. Be yourself. Enjoy yourself.

3) You’ve built an incredible club that I really believe is part of “the show” and your wife Kelly is a talented lady who also plays a big role. How did the design of the club come about?

Over thirty years of performing on the road, in all types of venues, from small comedy clubs to large casino showrooms and everything in between, I have always enjoyed the more intimate and upscale cabaret style showroom. I want the audience to feel that they are somewhere special before the show even begins. So Kelly and I put a lot of thought into the decor, seating design, lighting, etc., as well as our choice of pre-show music.  My goal was to have comfort and continuity throughout the entire evening. Another important factor in the design is sight lines due to the magic and variety that we provide. There is not  a bad seat in the house.

4) You’re known all over the country, if not the world, for your designs and inventions. Tell us about your favorites or the ones that stand out to you? 

Wow, there have been so many over the years; not sure I really have any favorites. The majority of my work in that area has been custom props and controls for other magicians around the world that I should probably not discuss too much due to the nature of the work and confidentiality. I would say though that the product that stands out most, I believe, is my remote controlled sound system mentioned earlier. This is the only product/invention that I have that improves the performer’s entire show, not just one trick or routine.

5) We spoke about your plans to buy a yacht, not only to live on, but to offer some very unique entertainment opportunities. Let the readers know what you’re up to on that front.

I have always loved the water and boating. I had acquired my captain’s license in my early twenties and have always entertained the thought of living on a yacht later in life. As I now find myself “later in life,” Kelly and I are enjoying shopping around for a nice motor yacht.  Our plan is to perform intimate close-up magic shows on the boat, maybe on a weekly basis. Guests would enjoy cocktails and appetizers hosted by Kelly and I and then a private close-up show limited to only 10-15 guests. We may even work in a brief dolphin cruise before the show.

6) Any suggestions for the magicians and comedians out there?

Be in the moment! Auto-pilot is for airplanes and boats. You cannot expect an audience to be involved in your show if you are not yourself involved. Believe me, the audience will know! This seems like it should be obvious to performers but not always so. Also, be aware of the audience, their response, and adjust accordingly. You are essentially employed by them. And finally, be thankful. If you are truly thankful, you are in the right business.

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Comedian Brian T Shirley has been in the Business for 20 + years. His act is derived from growing up poor, divorce, the USAF, partying, relationships, infomercial's, sports, and more. He has performed all over the U.S., Canada,The Bahamas and Japan. He also works Country Clubs and corporate events all over the U.S. He has done special engagements such as a tour of Japan to entertain the troops, opening for Huey Lewis and The News, The "Laughter for Love" benefit for Va. Tech, & a Country music festival for Dodge trucks. Brian has performed @ The Jokers Wild Comedy Club inside the Atlantis Resort on Paradise Island,The Bahamas & for Carnival Cruise Lines. Brian is also a philosopher.he's written 2 books of wisdom &wise sayings called "Make Love Not Warts", and "Four Score and Seven Beers Ago..." (Which recently won the "Amazing Book Cover Art Award" in a contest sponsored by LeRue Press) BRIAN"S THIRD BOOK , "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Club" contains short stories about his life on the road as a professional comedian. Brian has created and hosts a WEB Series about being a stand-up comedian on the road called "BTS On The Raod" which can be seen on Youtube, American Hearts Radio WEB TV Network every Saturday @ 8 PM EST and in the online magazine No Strings Attached-E News. Brian's a weekly guest host on a segment called "BTS Entertainment Corner" on Janice Hermsen's radio program "What's The Story" every Friday @ 2:30 PM EST on www.americamattersmedia.com Brian also co-hosts a monthly radio show on The Lina Jones Diamond Network called "The Lina and Brian Hour". Brian has done Voice over work for the award winning WEB Series "U.S.E." (2014) and the feature film "Inside Ben" (2016) and he's a main character in the animated feature "Professor Gravitron Saves The Universe" (2016).