They say all good things must come to an end, but that doesn’t mean we have to be happy about it. After an unmatched 35-year career, comedian/magician The Amazing Jonathan is calling time at the end of 2014 and retiring – but not before one last tour. The legendary performer is gracing the stage at The Wilbur for one last Boston performance on Friday, April 18 at 7:30 p.m.
With a fan base that spans generations, The Amazing Jonathan has earned global recognition as one of the most original performers out there, with a bevy of Comedy Central specials under his belt. He’s performed for two Presidents and even helped Merv Griffin create the game show “Ruckus”, in addition to his hundreds of television appearances throughout his career.
So what does it take to make someone with such success decide to close the book on touring? No, it isn’t the exhaustion of traveling from city to city, or boredom at having performed for so long. Sadly, health concerns are behind The Amazing Jonathan’s decision to retire, as keeping up his usual pace just might be the death of him.
“I have to stop,” Jonathan recently told the Boston Comedy Scene Examiner. “I have a heart failure condition and unless it gets better I’m forced off the road.”
While his impending retirement is bittersweet, it’s not just any performer who can boast a hugely successful 35-year career that afforded them a residency in Las Vegas for more than a decade. Fans of the magician will no doubt be saddened by the news, but of course, Jonathan’s health is the priority. The announcement, however, has resulted in fans expressing just what The Amazing Jonathan has meant to them – even if it does make him feel a bit old.
“Everybody’s been coming up and they’re saying they’ve been watching me since they were a little kid,” Jonathan cites. “That’s the new thing. I’ve got to get used to that one. There have been enough people that were little kids so it’s a long time. I guess it’s just a good thing. Longevity is a good thing. I guess it’s time to retire but I mean I still like doing the show. It’s just that it’s getting harder to do because of this condition, but this month I’m doing every weekend; I mean, two weeks ago in San Diego I had a hard time making it through the shows. My body started to lock up and stuff, but then I did it this weekend in Orlando with no problem at all and that was great. I mean, this is the farewell tour. I’ve announced that and it’s great all the fans are coming out and saying goodbye and telling me how much it meant to them. It’s pretty cool to hear all that.”
While The Amazing Jonathan won’t be performing regularly after this year, it certainly doesn’t mean the veteran performer will truly slow down anytime soon.
“I have a podcast I do every week, which is at burnunit.tv. I do the podcast and then it’s just a matter of trying to take care of all this medical stuff and get healthy again and maybe, who knows, maybe I’ll get back out there. But yeah, I’ve got other projects. Last year in downtown Vegas, I built a really cool haunted house but there are other projects I can do aside from being on the road.”
One of those projects happens to center around Jonathan’s vast collection of classic muscle cars and other automobiles.
“I grew up in Detroit, and I never even gave cars a second thought until I started playing out here. Then I just bought one, then another, and then pretty soon within ten years I had twenty seven cars, and I have them all in a giant warehouse that looks like a drive-in movie theater. I had it hooked up to the computer so I can watch anything I want, anything Netflix offers or anything. It doesn’t matter what. I mean I can get anything at the touch of a button, but I made it look like the drive-in movie theater I used to work at when I was a little kid in Detroit. I recreated it perfectly. I had an artist come in and paint the walls. Everything looks exactly like it did.”
The Amazing Jonathan has received The Las Vegas Review-Journal’s coveted "Best of Las Vegas" and “Best Top 10 Show" awards and has been named “Comedian of the Year” by City Life Magazine. Winner of the International Magic Award for "Best Comedy Magician", Jonathan can be heard and seen as the host of his new video podcast called "Burn Unit”, which is his hilarious, politically incorrect talk show featuring celebrity interviews, outrageous acts, and lessons on how to do cool tricks.
Don’t miss your last chance to catch The Amazing Jonathan live in Boston on Friday, April 18 at The Wilbur. Tickets range from $29 to $39 and are available at The Wilbur box office or online. The Wilbur is located at 246 Tremont Street in the heart of Boston’s historic Theater District.