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Lost Magic Decoded Premieres Tonight: Meet the Millionaires’ Magician Steve Cohen

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SK: You’ve said the bullet catch was the most difficult thing you’ve ever attempted. It definitely seemed that the mental preparation for such an intense trick was extremely difficult. Is there anything you’ve ever done that has been more difficult in your career?

SC: The two most difficult things I’ve ever done in my career was to perform a one-man solo show on stage at Carnegie Hall, which I did earlier this year, and the bullet catch. It was so important to me to get everything just right for both. You only get one chance to debut at Carnegie Hall, but I really could have died with the bullet catch. I will never attempt that stunt again. My life was seriously threatened during that performance, and looking back at it, it makes me cringe.

SK: Understandably. Speaking about being in Carnegie Hall, do you ever experience any kind of stage fright when you go on?

SC: I’ve done my current show over 3,000 times over the past 12 years at the Waldorf Astoria. When you’re a master of something you don’t feel fear anymore. You walk out relaxed, and it’s like breathing or riding a bike. The only time I feel fear is if I’m not prepared for something. And I think that is the reason most people feel uncomfortable in front of an audience is that they’re not truly prepared. They may have practiced a lot for their speech or their performance, but they haven’t done it enough times to feel truly relaxed and have mastered it.

Once you’ve truly mastered something there is no need for stage freight. You just go out and you know that you can accomplish what you need to do, and the audience senses that you are in control and they’re on your side.