'Doc' Dixon blends magic, showmanship, comedy

Magic & More for a Cure What: Benefit for JDRF Western Pennsylvania ChapterWhere: 7:30 p.m. Feb. 17Admission: $15Where: Mary Lou Campana Chapel and Lecture Center at the University of Pittsburgh at GreensburgDetails: magicandmore.eventbrite.comSign up for...

'Doc' Dixon blends magic, showmanship, comedy

What: Benefit for JDRF Western Pennsylvania Chapter

Where: 7:30 p.m. Feb. 17

Admission: $15

Where: Mary Lou Campana Chapel and Lecture Center at the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg

Details: magicandmore.eventbrite.com

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Updated 11 hours ago

Magician Chris “Doc” Dixon's first national television appearance ended with him being escorted off the stage by two bouncers.

Luckily, that won't discourage him from appearing at the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg on Feb. 17 in an all-ages comedy/magic show to benefit the JDRF Western Pennsylvania Chapter.

The Hempfield resident's ignominious exit was part of the “Stage 56 Bar Tricks” segment of the Late Late Show with James Corden on CBS, in which four people each perform a party trick. Judged by audience applause, winners earn the right to drink at an on-stage bar.

The audience cheered a guy shooting a basketball into a net on his head, another guy flipping seven spoons simultaneously into separate cups and a Texas gal rolling up a frying pan into a burrito shape.

They booed after Dixon, with a little sleight of hand, linked what Corden described as three knot-shaped “regulation bar pretzels covered in a slight bit of urine.”

On his website, the magician says he knew he would be voted off as soon as he met the other contestants: “Juggling and strength exhibitions climax with ‘Look what they did!' Magic, at least in this very brief context, ends with a “How in the @#$ did he do that?”

But playing along is part of being a professional entertainer.

Dixon, who bills himself as a “MagiComedian,” says he has plenty of other tricks up his sleeve for the JDRF show: “I'm bringing my chainsaw, psychic rabbit and a deck of cards.”

Dixon says he likes to tease audiences with the prospect of his mind-reading rabbit, Butch.

“People see that and think, ‘What's that?' ” he says. “If you say you're going to saw a lady in half, everybody knows what that is.”

Intrigued as a child by card tricks in the movie, “The Sting,” Dixon later embarked on a career now spanning 30 years of performing at clubs, resorts, corporate events, trade shows and even the White House Easter egg roll. He's a regular at special Kennywood events.

Dixon first linked up with JDRF at the October 2016 One Walk fundraiser at Pitt-Greensburg, where he entertained participants prior to the event.

A comedy show will be a first for the organization, says development coordinator Ashley Novacic.

“After (the walk) in October, he called me with this concept and, needless to say, our staff loved it,” Novacic says. “It's so out of the box and nothing like anything we'd done before.

“When considering where to hold this fundraiser, it was a simple choice to reach out to the school,” she adds. “It works out really well, because it's a central location for our families in Westmoreland County. Many of our families in the area are big fans of his.”

Dixon also has a personal reason for getting involved.

He and his wife are both foster and adoptive parents, and he says, “Our lives are pretty much kid-centered.

“One of my magician friends in New Jersey has a son who has type 1 diabetes,” he says. “Being dads is a big part of how we see ourselves. I wanted to do something more than just say, ‘Hey, I'm here for you.' ”

Novacic says that local Girl Scout troops also have signed on for the show.

“The girls are assisting with overall promotion of the event, making baked goods for the guests and collecting canned goods for the Westmoreland County Food Bank,” she says. “One of the Girl Scouts actually has type 1 diabetes, so it's a really sweet and sincere gesture to see the support of her peers.”

Show proceeds will benefit “research that is leading to better treatments, prevention and one day, a world without type 1 diabetes,” Novacic says.

Shirley McMarlin is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 724-836-5750 or smcmarlin@tribweb.com.

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