"My First Performing Job. "
by Tony Hassini
After three and a half years working for Tony Corinda at the magic shop, I decided to put together an act and work at night clubs at nights, while still working at the magic shop during the day. I asked Tony Corinda to help me put together an act, which he graciously helped me with in every detail, including designing my business card.
At that time, I was armed with a slick business card (which had a top hat, bunny, and cane, as well as my name and phone number) and I was ready to go out and conquer the world. The next day, I stopped at a local night club in Piccadilly. I still vividly remember walking up to the night club manager handing him my business card, telling him I'm a magician, and asking him for a job. He politely asked, "Which other night clubs have you worked before?" I told him that I didn't work any night clubs. And in the same breathe, I told him that I worked in a magic shop, where I demonstrated tricks over and over again and that I am very good. He said, "I'm sure you're very good. But it's not the same. We hire performers that have previous experience working in night clubs. So I'm sorry. I can't hire you."
I left that night club and I decided that I will keep trying all the night clubs until I get a job. So I went to the next night club. Unfortunately, without any previous experience, they too politely kicked me out. So I kept going from club to club, each time being turned down.
Now that I ran out of night clubs, I decided to go back to the first night club and try again. I walked in and told the night club manager that I came back to apologize for all the nasty things that I said about him under my breathe as I was leaving the club that morning. Then I said, "You see, you were right about not hiring me without my having experience. After I left here, I went to all the other clubs and they all told me the same thing you told me. So I came back to tell you that I was sorry for all the nasty thoughts I had about you."
The night club manager laughed and said, "No need for an apology. I would have done the same thing, if I were in your shoes." I thanked him and began to walk out. As I was reaching the door, I turned around and said, "By the way, what is your slowest night?" He said, "Tuesdays." I said, "Will you let me come and do a free show for you? This way, I get experience." He said, "Okay."
I went back that Tuesday night. And because it was a very small audience, I did all my close-up tricks right in the hands of the spectators. And everyone was totally amazed, as well as the night club manager. Then I asked him if I can come back Wednesday and give him a free show then, as well. He agreed to it. After a couple of weeks of me working Tuesday and Wednesday nights free, the manager offered me a paid job for Thursday and Friday nights.
Guess what? I went back to every night club manager who had turned me down. I told him the same story about coming back to apologize. Then on my way to the door, I asked them if I can do free Tuesday night shows. Of course, that led to Wednesdays, which led to the many paid jobs that started my professional career as a magician.