Blessed Be! Blessed Be!

Oh, thank you Jayyyyysus!

Brother Madison is SAFE!

I received the blessed news in the email from Ellusionist on Wenesday.

So the "authorities" concluded that no one was likely to kill someone over talking a little smack about Erdnase. Oh, thank god. Thank god Law and Order: EATCT was on the case. 

You may remember I first touched on this "controversy" back on March 6th.

And then, on March 7th, Ellusionist sent us all a very sobering email telling us the product would have to be pulled... for Daniel's safety. You see, apparently gangs of magic nerds were threatening to KILL Daniel Madison!!!!

The email, if you haven't read it, is a god-damn classic. Now, what they should have done is sent out a quick email that said:

Due to recent threats against Daniel Madison and an ongoing investigation into those threats we are removing Erdnase x Madison indefinitely from our product line-up and removing all references to it from our social media. If you have any information about the threats made please contact [some level of  law enforcement that deals with cyber threats]. Thank you.

Instead, they sent out an email that was just pretty much another ad for the set (including a screen shot of the positive reviews it had received), and then shrouded it with hammy, melodramatic nonsense like this:

What started as a campaign with an outspoken member of our community has turned ugly.

As a first in Ellusionist history, one of our team has received death threats.

More than one.

More than one? Yeah, that's what the S at the end of threats would indicate. "I ate apples. More than one." You can just stop at, "I ate apples." 

We’ve been asked by local law-enforcement to cease campaign activity in the event that it provokes an attack.

Plans were made for YouTube LIVE game-shows, more videos and contests, but we’ve pulled all of these.

We loved our campaign, but we don’t want to risk Daniel’s safety over a few sales.

On creative calls last week, we joked about #MadisonGate.

Nobody is joking now.

I am, bitch!

It may just seem that I'm just goofing on this corny marketing scheme, but I do think this has broader implications to performers. You see, what Ellusionist attempted to do was the "magician in trouble" plot. But they attempted to do it in real life. And, predictably, they made the exact same dumb mistake magicians make when they try to pull off the magician in trouble in performance. They continued to speak in a presentational tone, but upped the drama.

"Pay attention as I crush each bag, except the one that holds your watch. We'll see how I do in a matter of... time

Oh, what folly! Oh dear nooooooooo. It appears I have crushed the bag with your watch in it. 1000 pardons, kind sir. This brings great shame to me and my family."

That's a bit of a stretch, but you get the point. People think, "I need to amplify the impact of this dramatic moment by acting dramatically."

No. If you want it to feel real then what you need to do is drop all pretense and break the pattern of your established communication style.

"Pay attention as I crush each bag, except the one that holds your watch. We'll see how I do in a matter of... time

[To himself] Oh shit, shit. [Says something to someone off stage.] Just a.... [starts examining the other bags] [To himself] Oh come on, Karl, what the hell. [To the audience.] Just a moment here. Obviously we've had a bit of a mishap. A mistake. A...uh... mishap. I think we're going to take a momentary break. Are we? [Looks offstage] No? We're going to go to the next piece? We're going to go to the next piece. Sir, please meet me and my crew after the show. I apologize. We'll take care of this.

Uhm... okay... so... right.

I was recently traveling through the dark and mysterious forests of Vietnam."

Then, at the end of that bit, when you pull the watch from your butthole (It's a Pulp Fiction inspired magic show) you might actually surprise people.

The short email I mentioned above could have come off as real. The highly dramatic marketing email they sent instead just came off like a total goof.

It didn't help that they tried to include some "evidence" of the awful abuse Daniel was receiving with these screenshots.

These "unknown numbers" as the email describes them, were given to the police.

Notice any problem with these images? Besides the dopey writing, I mean.

If these are unknown numbers, why would Daniel have an image of the person associated with the number that needed to be blacked out?


The March 7th email ended with them asking you to forward any information to them so they could relay it to the police. Because... you know... that's how investigations work. 

"I found these cum-soaked panties in the woods."

"Well... go give them to the rape victim so she can give them to the police."

But now Ellusionist has made the brave choice to re-release the project! Finally! Just what we needed! A magic project devoted to Erdnase!

As I mentioned at the beginning of the post, this is their statement from the email:

"To address the controversy, authorities concluded the threats weren't likely to be actioned upon, and we feel 'keyboard warriors' took the release to new heights that this industry won't bow down to."

Those were the results of the six-week investigation? "These threats aren't likely to be actioned upon." That seems like something you would determine before you investigate for six weeks.

And they're especially unlikely to be acted upon because they never existed. They were made up. People may have thought saying "I'm better than Erdnase" was dumb, and I guess maybe someone could have been mad. But no one was like, "I'm going to murder that person!" Other than someone on Ellusionist's payroll. 

I routinely talk about how much Erdnase sucks. (20 Jerx Points to the first person who takes a shit on that book.) Nobody really cares because no one takes this stuff that seriously. I routinely correspond with, and this site is supported by, numerous Erdnase-philes. 

And what a bummer that that's the big denouement for this story. "These threats aren't likely to be actioned upon." I need a disappointed slide-whistle sound.

I wish I could have been in the room when this idea came up.

Brad Christian: We need to come up with a campaign for the Erdnase x Madison set. No 13-year-old in his right mind gives a shit about Erdnase. How do we change that?

Employee 1: How about some YouTube LIVE Game Shows?

Brad Christian: Fuck that noise. You're fired.

Employee 2: How about we try and set a world record for the largest balloon launch and all the balloons say "Erdnase x Madison" on them?

Brad Christian: Oh christ.

Dumbest Employee: How about we say someone is threatening to kill Daniel Madison because they're so furious at him?

Brad Christian: Hmmm... I like it. It's a storyline that would appeal to your average 13-year-old, or a full-grown moron (our target demo). Yes...yes...I like it. Penn and Teller have admitted that, at first, they fabricated the hatred towards themselves for publicity and then dumb magicians decided they genuinely were upset. Maybe we can fabricate some hate towards Daniel and some idiots will actually decide to be bothered by it. And it gives a chance to pull it from the market and re-release it a month later. Essentially giving us two releases for one product. Let's roll with it!

If it sounds like I'm bashing them, I'm not. I love that they're doing stupid shit like this. I think it's fun. It's just my job to point out the nonsense of it all. At least it's my job until Ellusionist hires me for their marketing team. I'm here for you Ellusionist. You need me, E. Isn't Chris Ramsey gone? According to the Kickstarter page for your How to be a Magician set, Chris was the funny one.

That's a pretty sad state of affairs when Chris Ramsey is the funny person in your group. That would be like if Mungo was the "hot" one in the Catillac Cats.

No! Cleo was the one you wanted to bang.

No offense, to Chris. He seems good natured enough, but not the person I'd look to to bring the "funny." He's not exactly Eddie Murphy. Hell, he's barely as funny as Audie Murphy.

But either way, if he's not around anymore, why not bring your pal Andy on to fill the void? I've worked on marketing projects much bigger and more successful than this one. And I can connect with the kids with my hip references to the Catillac Cats and Audie Murphy.

We'll roll this blog right onto your site and I'll just make fun of Rick Lax all day. Whatever you want.

Think about it. We'll come up with some good audience-centric ideas about redefining magic for the 21st century rather then indoctrinating another generation into worshipping some bore-fest of a book by some phony gambler and fetishizing the lamest aspects of this craft.

And finally, here's a classic from when I was asking folks to destroy an Erdnase for a chance to win a free JV1. PLEASE DON'T MURDER CHRIS SLATER!