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Magician Gary Darwin is back after a life-threatening episode

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Gary Darwin: Magic collector
Photo: Justin M. Bowen

Local magician, magic collector and magic club founder Gary Darwin is back in action. He just had a leg amputated, but the guy’s in characteristically good spirits. On the plus side, he jokes, he’s lost weight, and after he gets fitted with a new prosthetic, he’ll have one hell of a place to hide the proverbial rabbit.

Good to know his sense of humor is intact following a potentially life-threatening ordeal: Eight weeks ago, Darwin, a diabetic, stepped on a screw. A giant water blister formed, then a blood blister, then a bad diagnosis—the doc said he’d be fine with an antibiotic—and then an ER surgery.

The operation slowed Darwin down for a couple of weeks, but now he’s back to his collecting, his research and his comedy writing.

“Currently, I’m working on 30 books,” Darwin told me. “101 Death Jokes, 101 Rope Jokes, 101 Rabbit Jokes—”

His best rabbit joke? “How do you catch a rabbit? Hide behind a bush and make a noise like a carrot.”

Last week also marked Darwin’s return to Wednesday night magic club at Boomer’s Bar.

“I was in pain, and I was supposed to stay in bed,” Darwin said, “but I just had to come. Hopefully the nurse will give me permission to come back next week.”

Darwin says he only got through the pain with the help of his fellow magicians:

“When Lance [Burton] heard I was in the hospital, he came over and slept on the floor beside me. All night long. He followed me to surgery. And when I got out, there were 20 magicians in my room to misdirect me from the pain.”

Once he’s healed and walking again, Darwin knows exactly what he’s doing first: “I’m going to IHOP.”

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