The Amazing Johnathan

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John Edward Szeles
Amazing Johnathan (left) with Robert Swirsky (center) and Psychic Tanya (right).
Born (1958-09-09) September 9, 1958 (age 57)
Detroit, Michigan
Medium Magician, Stand-up, Actor
Years active 1983 - 2014
Spouse Anastasia Synn (June 7th, 2014–present)[1]
Sandra Bowing (1995–2000) (divorced)

John Edward Szeles (born September 9, 1958), better known by the stage name The Amazing Johnathan, is an American stand-up comedian/magician. His act is mostly composed of hijinks, interaction with one specific audience member, and a few legitimate magic tricks. From 2001 to 2014, he was a year-round headliner in Las Vegas. Self-described as the "Freddy Krueger of Comedy",[2] Szeles usually performs wearing his everpresent headband and his shows frequently use gore, such as pretending to suck on his own hanging eyeball, cutting his wrists, and skewering his own tongue. He is also good friends with fellow performer Criss Angel, and has helped Angel perform a variety of illusions, most notably during his three guest appearances on Mindfreak.


Early career[edit]

Szeles, who began his career performing in the streets of San Francisco,[3] first appeared on television in The 8th Annual Young Comedians Show in 1983 and later went on to become the host of the short-lived 1991 syndicated variety/game show Ruckus. He appeared on various talk and variety shows from the mid-80s to mid 2000s. His only credited performance as an actor was The Obligatory Holiday Episode of The Weird Al Show (playing the part of Uncle Johnathan). He has made several appearances on Late Night with David Letterman, a record 24 appearances on Fox's Comic Strip Live, and has had several specials on Comedy Central including Comedy Central Presents, The Lounge Lizards and more recently his own one hour special entitled Wrong on Every Level., He dedicated the special to his Uncle Eugene, who showed him his first card trick which "started this whole mess". His only film appearance is the 2005 documentary The Aristocrats.

Johnathan had huge success in Australia, becoming a household name due to his many well received performances on Channel 9's "Hey Hey Its Saturday".[4]

Szeles has also authored a how-to book on practical jokes titled Every Trick in the Book, a compilation of both classic practical jokes and plain magic tricks, along with his own original material in both categories. He is currently finishing up his memoirs, entitled, "Drive It Like You Stole It."

Recent years[edit]

In 2008, Szeles combined two of his passions (classic car collecting and drive-in movie theaters) to open the "Amazing Underground" a members only indoor drive-in movie theatre located within his warehouse facilities in Las Vegas.

As of 2011, Szeles was performing regular shows in Las Vegas at the Harmon Theater while also taking select dates at venues across the USA and in Australia. 2011 marks Szeles' third year of performing at the Harmon Theatre and Szeles' 11th consecutive year as a full-time Las Vegas headliner. He has won "Best Comedian" award from Las Vegas Review Journal, Comedian of the Year from Nevada Magazine, Top Ten Acts in Vegas (LVRJ) and is the longest running, most successful solo comic magician in U.S history.

Personal life[edit]

In March 2007 it was reported that Szeles was diagnosed with "a serious heart condition".[5] The performer's website identified the condition as cardiomyopathy and went on to assert that, due to a combination of weight loss and blood thinners, he was doing well. After 13 years of performing at various Vegas casinos, in December 2012, Szeles called it off. Bally's lack of advertising and promise to "cross promote" him with their other properties never happened. Szeles walked out of the one-year deal and decided to never play Vegas again. He toured for all of 2013 playing "The Improv" circuit and then was hit with news about his heart condition again. It was back and was much more serious this time.

He announced that he would finish doing his show in Toledo for the general public and then for members of The Magic Castle on June 30 - July 1, 2014. His final shows were sold out and he received standing ovations each night.

He currently does a weekly video internet talk show called "Burn Unit".[6]

In front of an audience on ENT speaks, on November 5, 2014, he stated that he had little time left to live.[7]


  1. ^ Robin Leach. "The Amazing Johnathan weds Anastasia Synn at A Special Memory Chapel in Las Vegas". Retrieved 12 February 2015. 
  2. ^ Blowen, Michael (1998-04-17). "Pauly Shore, Part 2: The grown-up years?". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 2008-11-09. The Amazing Jonathan, the self-proclaimed Freddie Krueger of Comedy, is at the Comedy Palace at Grill 93 off Route 93 in Andover tonight and tomorrow night. 
  3. ^ "Best bets 1/18". Los Angeles Times (Orange County edition). 2001-01-18. p. F.2. Retrieved 2008-11-09. A San Francisco street performer in the '70s, the Amazing Jonathan... 
  4. ^ "'The Amazing Johnathan' reveals he is dying". minisites. Retrieved 12 February 2015. 
  5. ^ Weatherford, Mike (March 8, 2007). "Amazing Johnathan to bid farewell". Las Vegas Review-Journal. Retrieved 2007-06-07. 
  6. ^ "Amazing Johnathan's Burn Unit". Retrieved 12 February 2015. 
  7. ^ "ENT Speaks Amazing Johnathan". YouTube. 5 November 2014. Retrieved 12 February 2015. 

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