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Tricks and laughs: Trio to perform magic, comedy in holiday show

The Holiday Magic Showdown will feature Nick Paul, Simon Coronel and Scott Pepper. (Courtesy of The Stage at Santa Ana Star)

Performing on stage was inevitable for Nick Paul.

When he was growing up, he saw his dad perform as a ventriloquist.

That, along with his love for comedy and magic, is what led him to the stage.

For the last 18 years, Paul has performed his hybrid of comedy and magic around the country.

He will head to New Mexico to perform as part of the Holiday Magic Showdown on Saturday, Dec. 7, at The Stage at Santa Ana Star.

Paul will be joined on stage by Simon Coronel and Scott Pepper.

The event is a head-to-head battle of magic and comedy. The audience gets to vote for a winner at the end of the night.

“The idea for the show was created by me and Simon,” Paul says. “We do a bunch of these types of shows during the year.”

Paul is based in Los Angeles. He has appeared on “Conan” and is currently a consultant for the Netflix series “Magic for Humans.”

Coronel is a world-renowned illusionist, and Pepper has 25 years in performing and was featured on the CW’s “Masters of Illusion.”

“For me, I’m a big fan of comedy, and I approach it like stand-up comedians like Steve Martin and Mel Brooks,” he says. “They are idols of mine. For me, it’s not about the magic trick. It’s about how you make the audience feel, because that’s what they take home. If I succeed at that, my job is done.”

Paul says people crave live entertainment.

He ways that’s why for his solo shows, he carefully curates an idea with a beginning, a middle and an end.

“I leave room to maneuver some,” he says. “We take suggestions from the audience, and that helps keep the show fresh and in the moment. I try to have set beats and jokes, but there are moments where improvisation is key.”

The show at The Stage will run about 75 minutes.

Paul says there were be a series of rounds that will include all three performers. Each will also perform a solo set.

“We get a song suggestion from the audience, and we have to perform it,” he says. “In one part of the set, we borrow objects from the audience and we have to come up with a trick. The winner is chosen by the audience, and that person gets a novelty check.”

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