“I really am living the dream,” says Michael Carbonaro “The Siegfried and Roy Las Vegas residency dream.” He’s not lying either. On his first day on the Las Vegas Strip, Carbonaro came across a bonafide Las Vegas icon. “My first day in Vegas, I bumped into Donny Osmond. I now just want to be like Donny Osmond for the rest of my life. He’s the coolest, sweetest man I’ve ever met.
Carbonaro recalls meeting Osmond almost as if it were just a dream. It, however, was most certainly not. The two happened to be doing press at a local Las Vegas television station when “right in the middle of my interview, they introduced me and he came running out! He’s like, ‘I saw this guy! You’ve got to check him out,’” Carbonaro tells the story. “He’s super cool. I mean, I got the stamp of approval from Donny Osmond on day one! I mean…” He pauses then says, “Maybe that’s why the crowds have been so good.”
More likely the crowds have been good because Carbonaro has spent almost two decades wowing crowds in two different entertainment realms. He’s been acting since the early 2000’s in a wide variety of roles from Chappelle’s Show to Guiding Light. However, he is probably best known for his hidden-camera magic tricks on his show The Carbonaro Effect.
It was with The Carbonaro Effect that he would get the attention of Las Vegas magicians Penn & Teller. First becoming friendly with Teller and then coming center stage with Penn because of his kids. “I found out his kids watched my TV show. So he took a different peek at me,” he says. “Then, out of nowhere, Teller was in LA and he was like ‘Hey, listen, we are going to Australia for seven weeks and our theater is empty. Wanna play it?’ And I was like yes!”
And that is no lie.
Soon, “Penn & Teller Present: Michael Carbonaro: Lies on Stage” at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino would be Carbonaro’s home away from home for seven lucky weeks.
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“The crowds have been really awesome. So energetic that there’s people coming out with their kids. I’ve got couples out there. They’re enthusiastic, they’re excited. And I’m just beyond belief,” says Carbonaro. “I’m like, ‘Wow, so this is just not what I expected at all.’ So I’m thrilled.
The show itself is full of magic and is freaking hilarious. There is a ton of audience participation (more than this writer has seen in most magic shows in Vegas). And, as a bonus, the show is incredibly family-friendly. One big highlight of the show is a prank in which Carbonaro makes people disappear. Don’t worry folks, he does bring them back, although Carbonaro says jokingly, “We just decided to make, you know, to add an additional fee to actually bring them back. We find that it has really increased our overhead and our sales.”
“Penn & Teller Present: Michael Carbonaro: Lies on Stage” is performed Thursday through Sundays. That leaves a lot of play time for Carbonaro in Las Vegas. Playtime that he has taken full advantage of. “One of my favorite things I have ever seen in Las Vegas is the Omega Mart. I’m such a huge fan,” he says with such admiration. “ I’ve been there twice already. I’m going to take my mom when she comes out to see it.”
Another place he loves in Las Vegas is about as old school as they come.
“I go to the Peppermill. Hey, look, I’m a local. I know what’s up at the Peppermill.” As for shows Carbonaro likes he says Carrot Top’s show is amongst his favorite. Clearly, Carbonaro has good taste.
“A magician is a noble liar because we tell you that we’re lying. So it’s honest lying, which is entertaining lying.” And this writer can tell you, that’s no lie. His show is hugely entertaining.
Speaking of entertaining, his show The Carbonaro Effect lasted five seasons on TruTV. Does he have an interest in bringing it back? Probably not since he is already working on another show that is in development now. But he is quick to add, “I’d never say, never.”
“Penn & Teller Present: Michael Carbonaro: Lies on Stage”
Penn & Teller Theater
Rio All-Suites Hotel and Casino
Thursday through Sunday at 8 p.m.
Now through Sunday, July 10
Who is the most successful magical act in Las Vegas?
David Copperfield still reigns supreme as Las Vegas’s top magician. Copperfield has been a mainstay of Vegas for decades and continues to be a top attraction to this day.
Has Michael Carbonaro been on Grey’s Anatomy?
Yes. If you spotted magician Michael Carbonaro on the hit ABC show Grey’s Anatomy, you have eagle eyes. Carbonaro played the role of Dominic Zicaro in the 2012 episode “Have You Seen Me Lately?”
Is the Carbonaro Effect still on television?
The magic prank show, The Carbonaro Effect, is officially listed as “on hiatus” since the COVID pandemic hit in 2020. Slated to return in November 2019, the program’s fifth season was delayed and, when COVID hit, it was put on the shelf. As of 2022, fans are still awaiting its return.