BY ARIEL HERNANDEZ
Middle Village double threat Rene Clement, a magician and comedian, will be named “Magician of the Year” by the Parent Assembly #1 of the Society of American Magicians at the 108th “Salute to Magic” show in Queens next month.
In 1971, at age 19, Clement, who had an interest in card magic, was introduced to “Salute to Magic” by a family friend who had seen the show being advertised on daytime television.
“That year, the Magician of the Year award was given at Hunter College,” Clement said. “There were magicians performing in the lobby; it was like a preshow to the show. It was so entertaining and I was amazed. That’s what sparked my interest in doing magic with cards. So to be awarded all these years later, it’s kind of surreal.”
Clement’s magic career began at age 4, when his father showed him that he could remove his thumb and reattach it.
“It’s a trick that every boy has seen either his father or grandfather do,” Clement said. “I remember saying, ‘Daddy, do that thumb thing.’”
Since his first encounter with magic, Clement’s fascination grew. He enjoyed watching Mark Wilson in his “Magic Land of Alakazam” and later received a Remco Sneaky Pete magic set for Christmas. Although his interest in magic diminished as he grew older, Clement’s desire to entertain remained.
“Ever since I was young, I loved making people laugh and smile,” Clement said. “It’s important to laugh.”
During Clement’s teenage years, he performed and helped write comedy skits for a small community theater group.
However, at age 17, his interest in magic returned when he was taught a simple card trick. Around that time, Danny Tsukalis, a demonstrator at Macy’s, would do magic card tricks that mesmerized Clement. After purchasing a card set from Tsukalis, Clement set out on a quest to learn how to do the tricks. He then branched out to perform stand-up and stage magic and learned to incorporate both his comedy and magic skills.
After graduating from Long Island University in Brooklyn, Clement worked 33 years for JP Morgan Chase Bank, from which he has since retired and dedicated his life to his passion for entertaining.
Clement has been performing his comedy and magic for more than 40 years and made numerous television appearances—on NBC’s “Today Show,” “Fox & Friends” and “The Kong Show on TV”—in addition to performing at clubs and venues around the New York area, including events at Lincoln Center and the Felt Forum at Madison Square Garden.
Not only has Clement been hired to entertain at private business meetings and corporate events throughout New York, but he has frequently appeared at charity shows and special events.
The “Salute to Magic” show will take place at the Queens Theatre on April 8 at 8 p.m. The show will feature four well-known and award-winning international and American magic entertainers who will provide family magic effects with plenty of comedy, audience participation and mind-boggling illusions as well as magic tricks with birds, card manipulations and music.
Tickets are available at the box office for $50. For more information, call 718-786-0064.
Reach Ariel Hernandez at (718) 357-7400 x144 or firstname.lastname@example.org