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Magician Michael Carbonaro gets redditor to apologize after making video

By Benjamin Lichtman, Contributor

May 3, 2016 | 4 min read

Everyone enjoys a good old fashioned magician-hidden camera controversy. Michael Carbonaro, who stars in truTV’s, The Carbonaro Effect, was accused of creating fake clips staffed by actors and actresses, rather than by random people.

If you haven’t seen the show, the basic premise is that Carbonaro sets himself up in a number of locations and plays a variety of tricks on unsuspecting patrons. Carbonaro does a terrific job with the show, combining the curiousness of the tricks with a slight comedic touch. Clips from the show can be found on YouTube, including some of my favorites, like “Outrageous Guessing Game,” “Crabby Transformation,” and “Amazing Self-Tying Shoelaces.”

The aforementioned controversy surrounds a couple videos, in which some sleuthing Reddit and YouTube users pick out clips, which appear to be fake. One of those is a prank in which Carbonaro, posing as shipping store employee, opens up a very flat box, which then reveals a bowling ball. A video, posted to YouTube, shows the original, and then displays some text, slows the video down, and posits that the sound and video don’t match up.

The video appears to be compelling, but Carbonaro responded with a video of his own. That video displays the actual footage, which shows that the patron didn’t actually see Carbonaro initially doing the prank (she was looking away). Carbonaro then quickly, without the patron noticing, closes the box, resetting the prank, waits until she turns, and then does it again (this time she notices). The evidence is conclusive, and even prompted an apology to Carbonaro.

Another video, posted to Reddit, titled “Crabby Transformation,” referenced above. was also accused of being fake. A reddit user notes that a glove seems to appear and disappear in a matter of seconds. In response, another user, who claims to edit clips on the show, explains the suspicions by noting how difficult it can be to get good shots with spontaneous reactions.

While it’s probably not the desired reaction to the show for both Carbonaro and truTV, the fact that people are talking about the show, and discussing its merits, means that they’re doing something right. The show airs Wednesdays at 10.

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