Nathan Burton has been entertaining audiences on the Las Vegas Strip for more than a decade. His afternoon comedy magic show at the Saxe Theater inside Planet Hollywood is fun for all ages. We sat down with one of Las Vegas' top magicians to talk about his success in the Entertainment Capital of the World.
You’ve been a magician since you were four years old. At what point did you begin to incorporate comedy into your routine and how important is one to the other?
“I did my first show when I was in kindergarten class. I was trying to be serious but some of the tricks messed up, so I think the comedy started then, without me knowing it. But then, I kinda went through a phase where you imitate your idols, like David Copperfield, and kind of copy them in such a way and find your own niche. I’m kind of funny - at least I hope I am - so I try to incorporate some of that comedy into my show and it just happened over years, when I was 16 and 17, and I started adding more and more.”
You’ve been lauded as the best daytime show in Las Vegas. What are the biggest differences between day shows and night shows and why do you think you have done so well with a daytime slot?
“We’ve always worked in the afternoons, and I think it’s a perfect thing to do before you go out on the town, whether you’re going to a nightclub, or whether you’re going to a show or nice dinner. You can come see our show at Planet Hollywood at 4 o’clock and have a great time. Especially in the summer, when it’s hot. You can cool off and see the show.”
You’ve been a staple at Planet Hollywood for four years. How much do you like the resort as a show venue?
“I love working at Planet Hollywood. We’re in the center of the Strip. Everything is around us. No matter where you are staying on the Strip, you’re close to our theater and it’s just a great location and I love working here.”
What makes Las Vegas the perfect city for your show and what do you think about the incredible roster of entertainment that can be found nightly here?
“Las Vegas is the Entertainment Capital of the World. Especially if you’re a magician. Almost every dream of a magician is to perform in Las Vegas. If you’re a singer or dancer, Broadway in New York, but if you’re a magician, Las Vegas is that top place you want to be in. The best of the best perform … In a four-mile radius, you have all of the best magicians in the world, the top 10 magicians, and I’m lucky enough to get to perform in the same city as all those guys.
“There’s over 100 shows in Vegas, from comedy to headliners to singers to magic. No matter what you like, there’s a show that you’ll probably really enjoy here.”
What’s the craziest story you can share that happened during one of your Las Vegas shows?
“I had a kid say the “F” word on stage. I asked him, “What does Elvis say“ because they put on Elvis glasses and I’m looking for “Thank you very much,” and if they don’t know, I help them out. And I asked the kid, “What does Elvis say,” and the kid just said the “F” word and the place went nuts. … He was like 8 and the parents just slowly shrunk down in their seats because they were so embarrassed.”
You’ve been performing in Las Vegas for a long time. What do you like to do in Vegas when you aren’t on stage?
“I’ve been performing in Las Vegas with my own show for over 11 years and I used to go out to see all the nightclubs and the shows and now I have a 17-month-old son named Ryder ... so I get to hang out with him and now I get to take him to do fun stuff ad and experience the Vegas side for kids. I’m really enjoying that. He loves going to Shark Reef and just doing the kids stuff.”
Any other favorite Las Vegas shows, restaurants, or activities you enjoy and recommend to friends when they visit?
“Everybody asks, “What’s the one show I should see?” And really, you’ve got to do it by category. So like if you wanna see magic, if you wanna see comedy, that kind of thing … If you wanna see comedy, I love Carrot Top, I think he’s awesome and funny. If you wanna a big showgirl show, one of the last ones is 'Vegas – The Show.' It’s in my theater. It’s a huge show with like 30 showgirls and singing and dancing; it’s like the old-style show. If you wanna see a Cirque show, I think one of the best ones is “O” at Bellagio because my sister is a stage manager there. I think that show's the best.
“There are lots of great shows. So much to do. Great restaurants … no matter what day of the year it is, even Christmas or Thanksgiving, there’s stuff open and we work on holidays so there’s always something to do in Vegas.”