Okay, so I’m with the majority here. This show is funny. I’ve been watching David Blaine’s Street Magic since the beginning and waiting with anticipation as new eps come out. And the stalwart casting of Mitch Stilpa as David Blaine and Mikey Day (Kath & Kim) as Idiot One and Michael Naughton as Idiot Two is the bread and butter of this show. The three LA comedy vets make up Groundlings-trained Those Lil Rabbits, who’s channel on YouTube is definitely worth checking out. This show is like comfort food for me, ham and cheese, I know what I’m coming for and I know I’m gonna like it. But then they go and try to fix what ain’t broke. (Sorry ‘Zaoza,’ you seem like a person, but you gotta go.)
But before we get into that, let’s go back to what we love. First of all, the single shot technique is sheer genius. As low budget a production as this seems, there is some serious work going on behind the scenes. First of all, rehearsal, I have to believe they do a lot of it, because they do not miss a beat in the entire single shot of each ep. So kudos to all of them, and their director, David Morgasen, who definitely has work cut out for him.
Second of all with their mise en scene and staging as in episode two (above) when one of the idiots is lifted into the air and placed on the garage (hysterical), or in three when the car is replaced with a miniature version, then again with its life size version, all before our very eyes (or at least just off camera – which takes some serious skill and preparation). Ep three (below) also has the changing of one of the idiots’ hats to different sizes which had me crying with laughter, then Mitch doing a fast and seemingly miraculous wardrobe change that you just have to see to believe.
The performances are great too. Stilpa’s David Blaine is so bizarre and lifelike it’s both frightening and hilarious. And though I’ve never seen the actual Blaine do it, his mysterious gaze into camera after each illusion has me in stitches EVERY TIME. That’s a trick in and of itself. It’s also very funny that each time he approaches them it’s all new to him, but the boys remember him from the last time he ruined their day. And the boys’ performances as the Blaine-beleaguered (and what I can only assume is) gay couple just going about their day be it shopping, fishing, or…shopping, never miss a joke. The writing is simple, but clever with the boys’ constant refrains of “What the F?!” and “Big whoop!” which I can only imagine is interspersed with a lot of good improv.
It should also be noted there are a few errant versions of the show, like the one of just Silpa’s Blaine, doing things like ‘magically’ making a trashcan rise (as a garbage truck raises it) and pigeons disperse (as he runs toward them). And then there are the French ones. The guys flew over to France to shoot two online commercials for a French subscription music site, ZaOza.com, featuring a rival magician “Zaoza” brought in for the fourth and fifth installments, who incidentally is the website’s spokesman.
Zaoza just doesn’t do it. He could be funny I’m sure, I mean, it’s not his performance, it’s just that it messes with the format too much. Suddenly, Stilpa’s Blaine is less confident, and instantly unfunny as a regular Joe. I liked him when he was perfect. That’s the joke of Blaine, guys, when Blaine is on, he does unbelievable, otherworldly things. He’s better than us and it’s frightening and amazing. And as in real life, when Blaine becomes fallible, it’s boring and kind of depressing. [Ed. note: The french episodes were written by the Zaoza team (owned by Vivendi) and aren’t part of the official three-episodes from ThoseLilRabbits.]
Now, in the end I guess the question remains, how long will the joke last if they just kept going the way they were, the three leads intact? Who knows? But I was good at three. And four and five are still funny before Zaoza appears, so I’m thinking there are a few comfort food, oldy-but-goody Street Magics left that will leave us laughing. Guys, please, don’t mess with my ham and cheese like that, leave frenchy for another sketch and bring back just the boys for a couple more.
Until then, there’s always Human Giant’s “The Illusionators,” a spot-on spoof of Criss Angel’s Mindfreak.