Comic illusionist draws laughter, amazement

On Saturday evening, Geneseo's hottest Late Knight event was a performance by well-known comedian and magician John Hopkins, whose hybrid performance captivated his small crowd.

Hopkins sleight-of-hand tricks combined with his charming stage presence and relentless sense of humor made his one-hour show in the College Union Ballroom an enjoyable event that left audience members as intrigued as they were amused.

Hopkins' jokes stemmed from the familiar self-deprecating subject matters of a failed marriage and small-time fame, but he added to physical comedy to make the routine less predictable. At one point he faked accidentally cutting his arm off with a knife while getting into an intense story about his ex-wife.

With a scream, he ran around the audience yelling in feigned pain while shaking a very realistic looking forearm, which seemed to be flawlessly attached to his elbow.

Most of Hopkins' jokes were composed of witty observations about the crowd and occurrences onstage. For example, during one of his first tricks, he mocked the observational skills of freshman Russell Larson.

Hopkins explicitly put a red ball under a cup and asked Larson to locate it. Expecting a trick, Larson continually guessed that the ball was in Hopkins' hand or up his sleeve, only to be proven wrong as the magician simply removed it from underneath the cup where it had remained the entire time. The few times that Larson then guessed that the ball was underneath the cup, Hopkins would let it drop from one of his hands.

Much to the audience's amusement, Hopkins added a twist to his manipulation of the expectations of the viewers. Hopkins tried to explain his illusion by claiming to use two balls, only to pull out a small red ball from his hand and a baseball from inside the cup.

Hopkins' success was largely due to his continuing insistence on interacting with the audience. Rather than just performing for the students, he tried to perform with them.

Besides Larson, many other viewers were also asked to come onstage and participate in the show, such as freshman Mike Miechowski and junior Alyson Childers, who participated in a card trick that ended when Hopkins suddenly pulled "their card" out of his mouth.

Overall, Hopkins' comedy/magic act proved entertaining to his crowd. In fact, a small group of students even remained behind after the show to watch him perform some special tricks and explain some of the ones he had done onstage.