Friday, August 28, 2009

Don't Try This Trick at Home, Kids

Sorry to tell you ladies, but he's taken.
A cigarette-puffing magician is planning to lick his 40-year habit with a stunt that's sure to make his audience gag - by turning himself into a human ashtray.

Richie Magic, 53, plans to set a new record tomorrow by snuffing out 200 lit cigarettes in his mouth and chewing them in front of a Queens magic shop.

He intends to quit smoking after the mouth-charring event at Rogue Magic and Fun Shop in Elmhurst at 8:30 p.m. He wants the stunt to burn a message in the minds of teens.

"I want them to know that if you smoke, your mouth will look, feel and smell like a human ashtray," said Magic, 53.

The record-breaking attempt comes just weeks after the illusionist and sideshow stunt man set a record for stuffing 20 lit cigarettes in his mouth in 29 seconds - an act that he now calls "just a snack."

After retiring from a 26-year career as a Westchester County correction officer, Magic devoted all of his time to his act, which had been his hobby since he was 10 years old. He legally changed his last name to make it official.

"It was just easier that way," Magic said. "People see my name everywhere."

As he became more popular in the circuit, Magic saw that kids were looking up to him as a performer.

"A lot of kids ask me to mentor them," Magic said, and added that he didn't want them to pick up the habit that has tormented him his entire life.

"But when I tell them not to smoke, I'm a smoker," he said.

Tired of being a hypocrite to aspiring magicians and street performers, Magic decided to make the record-setting event his quitting day.

Nervous about kicking a life-long habit, Magic admitted that practicing for the event has made him a bit anxious to quit.

"I've eaten over 2,000 cigarettes this month," he said. "It's disgusting."

Barbara Magic, 49, looked away as her husband practiced by cramming a pack of lit Marlboros in his mouth on Tuesday in front of the magic shop. A smoker for 25 years, she plans to take her last puff at the event, too.

"I don't know if I can watch the whole 200," Barbara said. "I'm a little scared for his safety."

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