Michael Finney, a magician in a million.

I am a huge fan of Michael and his unique style of Comedy Magic. He is easily funny enough to be a top stand-up comedian and performs magic that is so smooth and strong that even if he didn’t say a word his act would take him to the top of the list in the magic world. Fortunately he has chosen to walk the tightrope that is Comedy Magic and combines them as smoothly as any performer I have ever seen.

I have known Michael for over 25 years now and he was the pivotal reason that I had the courage to break away from the magic world and start my 11-year excursion into comedy club territory. His generous advice and encouragement was and still is much appreciated.

Last week I had a chance to see the other side of Michael, it was just as impressive. I attended and performed at the 14th Annual ‘Michael Finney’s Dry Heat Classic,’ the golf tournament is held in Phoenix, Arizona and raised nearly one million dollars for children’s charities. It has great golfing, fantastic food, true camaraderie and a couple of the best comedy and variety shows you will ever see.

Now I could spend the entire blog just reporting on the magicians who graced the stage at the Talking Stick Resort, however I am going to save that for another entry. This one is about Michael and his lovely wife Lori who have very obviously poured their hearts and souls (not to mention endless hours) into creating an event that hits the bull’s-eye in every way.

The Michael Finney Foundation created and runs the event. After all the events that Michael has performed at over the years; he must have been taking notes! With a deceptively casual manner, Michael avoided the mistakes that so often spoil gatherings like this. The stage and sound system were of the very highest quality. There was live music exactly where and when it was needed and a hospitality suite that felt like a private club.

One of the first things you notice at the ‘Dry Heat’ was the respect and pride that the local community feels about Michael. He doesn’t just live in Phoenix, but rather he is a very active and vital element in the city. Everyone is aware of his commitment to the charities he supports, but there is never a sense of ‘Look What I’m Doing’ that so often accompanies charity events. His quiet sincerity speaks volumes without a word needing to be said.

Quietly in the background was Michael’s wife Lori Soohoo. Watching them work the front and back rolesinterchangeably was of particular interest to Susan and I. We have worked like this for years and enjoyed watching their intuitive skills combine as they quietly got things done, with a minimum of fuss or flurry. Magicians often have their wives as onstage partners, believe me, this kind of behind the scenes partnership is just as difficult as ‘box jumping’ and all the more exacting as it goes on in the background and underneath the surface of their relationship.

The strong sense of family and patriotism that Michael feels was passed on to the audience and a very palpable addition to the mood of the event. This was an event that not only benefited a great cause but also made it fun to do so. During the event a one minute video was shown featuring the children who would benefit from the cash raised; and how. It brought a tear to many of the eyes around me, including myself. Just one minute, not a downer or a guilt maker, just a very simple reminder of how the fun that we were having was able to benefit those less fortunate than ourselves.

Bravo, Michael, I always knew that you were in the very top league as an entertainer, but for three days I got to take a peep behind the colorfully dressed performer with the larger than life persona and see the big-hearted gentleman, who would probably laugh it of if I called him the humanitarian that he most certainly is.

It was my pleasure and delight to join you in the Dry Heat of Arizona and be a part of the proceedings.

~ by Nick Lewin on August 5, 2010.

One Response to “Michael Finney, a magician in a million.”

  1. nick…what a beautiful piece you wrote an michael. you know, i have even a greater respect for him and his wife. he sounds like a first class gentleman. how lucky you are to know him personally and to be a part of his great event.

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