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School Of Laughs

Welcome to the School of Laughs podcast. I am your host, Rik Roberts.

My goal is to help you get bigger, better, and more bookable as a comedian. Use the search tool at to find episodes on your favorites topics within comedy.  Be sure to subscribe and follow us on Facebook and Twitter

Questions? Email us at 

Mar 24, 2016

Stephen Bargatze joins us today. If that name sounds familiar it may be because you saw him in Las Vegas, caught him at Opryland, perhaps he visited your school or maybe because he is the father of Nate Bargatze.

Regardless of whether you knew him before or not, you will love his generous and insightful interview.

Stephen ran away from home in his teens, escaping an alcoholic father and other family issues. After being bit by a dog he was left with a bit of a lisp that also forced him into a bit of shyness. A few chance encounters reshaped his entire life and he headed off in a much better direction.

With encouragement from a clown - yes, a clown, Stephen began to learn magic and perform shows. Later on he left the makeup behind and let his comedy and magic stand on its own.

Today he shares with us his story and some great insights into the world of magic. We cover many things, including...

  • How Ronald McDonald changed his life
  • How being singled out by a drama teacher played a role in becoming accepted
  • Why it took a year to talk to his girlfriend
  • Why he wanted to get fired from his Opryland gig
  • How he used a log flume to make  huge splash in his magic show
  • What he learned from Robin Williams about performing
  • How magicians buy and share tricks
  • Having other magicians call you to ask if they can do your trick on TV
  • How utilizing jokes help magicians engage the crowd during the process of magic
  • Why “playing dumb” can help endear an audience to you
  • Why having a DVD called “I hate kids” kind of backfired
  • His friendship with two other magicians who all grew up in the same area in Louisville
  • How he is able to use magic to engage and influence school kids to make better decisions
  • How him and his wife compete to get a joke in Nate’s routine
  • And a lot more. Really, a lot more!

You’ve got to listen to Stephen Bargatze describe some of his tricks and hear for yourself. You’ll quickly learn why he has been able to spend decades doing what he really loves.

For a primer, check out this video clip with Dick Butkus called the “Straight Jacket of Death."

Or visit his web site:

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