Always Amazing *Closing Night Film*
Saturday, March 10
Doors 9:00PM | Show 9:30PM
Always Amazing is a film that documents the rise of talented magician/comedian The Amazing Johnathan, the unlikely fraternal friendship that Johnathan develops after meeting an awestruck 12 year old boy while on tour and the unfortunate terminal diagnosis that brought these two back together for one last run of shows.
Stand up comedian Steve Byrne has been privy, as a friend, to the adventures and misadventures of Joel Ozborn and The Amazing Johnathan for years. When he learned that Johnathan was coming out of retirement for one last run of shows and reuniting with Joel, Steve thought no one knows this story better than himself and decided to document not only their reunion but the backstory of their unorthodox friendship.
The film begins with Johnathan’s career ascent, from bombing at his high school talent show, discovering and honing his act as a magician and comic while working as a street performer in San Francisco and the one showcase that launched his career at the famed Hollywood Improv.
While on tour in Australia, Johnathan meets Joel Ozborn, a young boy who is starstruck at the performer from the states. An improbable bond is fortified over the years, as Joel becomes an employee, apprentice, alibi, confidant and brother/son/friend to Johnathan. Once Johnathan establishes a residency in Las Vegas as headliner, the trappings of Sin City become overwhelming, leaving a divorce in the wake and will ultimately test the strength of their friendship. The eventual parting amongst the two become inevitable, as Johnathan comes out of the fog stronger and richer than before. Joel, matures into a world wise man and the comedian he’s aspired to be since he first saw Johnathan all those years ago in Australia.
As life goes on, Johnathan is told by doctors he has a year to live due to his terminal diagnosis of cardiomyopathy. In the time that follows, Johnathan is living life knowing he’s on borrowed time but after outliving expectations by 3 years, Johnathan decides he’s going to hit the road, one last time to see if he’s still got it.
Johnathan puts forth, if he’s going to do it, he’s going to have Joel along for the ride. This decision forces these two emotionally introverted men to look back on their friendship and confront the ups and downs of their experiences together.
Always Amazing is ultimately the story of two comedians, who on paper shouldn’t be friends or even acquaintances and the rough waters, smooth sailing, they’ve navigated over the years and the nostalgia of hitting the road one last time together to realize they remain as close as ever.
Following the screening, hear from Steve Byrne, Joel Ozborn and The Amazing Johnathan in a Q&A discussion about the film!
Starring: Johnathan Szeles, Joel Ozborn, David Copperfield, Penn Gillette, Penny Wiggins, Jaimz Romero, Erica Vanlee and Anastasia Synn.
Directed By: Steve Byrne
Run Time: 78 Minutes
AMAZING JONATHAN The Amazing Johnathan is an eccentric entertainer whose bizarre humor and unscripted antics have earned him worldwide recognition as the most original and successful comic magician in history. His career has spanned 35 years, entertaining two generations of fans.
The Amazing Johnathan has performed for two presidents and has appeared on hundreds of television shows, including Comedy Central’s “One Night Stand,” “Lounge Lizards,” “Premium Blend,” and his own one-hour special, “Wrong on Every Level.” He has also appeared on HBO’s “Young Comedians Special,” “Late Night with David Letterman,” “World’s Greatest Magic,” A&E’s “Mindfreak,” as well as a game show called “Ruckus,” which he co-created with Merv Griffin.
In 2001, Johnathan stopped touring and took up residency at the world-famous Golden Nugget, taking Las Vegas by storm and breaking box office records. Not since The Rat Pack had anyone done the numbers Johnathan did. He was given one of the most lucrative deals ever signed in Vegas, and for 13 years he was one of the biggest draws on The Strip.
In addition to being named one of the “Top Ten Acts in Vegas” by The Las Vegas Review-Journal, Johnathan has also won the prestigious “Best of Las Vegas Award.”
In 2014, Johnathan began feeling dizzy and out of breath. After consulting his doctors, Johnathan announced to his fans that he had 12 to 15 months to live. His ailing heart had gotten much worse and was beating at only 15 percent. He quickly announced his retirement, performing his final shows at The Magic Castle in Hollywood. After thousands of fans had said their final goodbyes, Johnathan vanished from the scene, spending the next few years relaxing at home with his wife Anastasia and their daughter in between hospital visits.
Then Johnathan pulled off his best trick—he didn’t die. The expiration date came and went, and Johnathan began feeling stronger. He even left his wheelchair and walked again, much to the amazement of his friends and family.
Although his heart is still severely damaged, most of the impairment caused by the lack of circulation has healed almost completely. Therefore, he has recently done a few abbreviated private shows to get his chops back. Fresh off the success of those shows, Johnathan is inviting fans to see his first full-length performance in almost four years on January 14th at the Foxwoods Casino. So don’t miss the amazing return of The Amazing Johnathan!
STEVE BYRNE has risen through the ranks of the comedy world to become one of the industry’s most innovative and sought-after performers. He has evolved throughout the years into an extremely versatile entertainer that delivers on a day-to-day basis. Hailing from Pittsburgh, PA, Steve Byrne was born to a Korean mother and an Irish father.
In early 2017, his 4th stand up special Tell The Damn Joke premiered on Showtime.
Byrne was the star and creator of Sullivan & Son, a half hour comedy on TBS along with Vince Vaughn’s Wild West Productions for three solid seasons.
It all began after winning the 2006 TBS’ cutthroat competition. As his popularity began to expand, Byrne was featured in his very own half-hour Comedy Central Presents which was voted as one of the best specials of all time in the Comedy Central Standup Showdown. His third hour special Champion debuted on Netflix in May 2014 to rave reviews and his two previous specials, Steve Byrne’s Happy Hour & The Byrne Identity were two of the top rating specials on Comedy Central.
Byrne’s acting resume includes feature films like The Dilemma, Couples Retreat, Four Christmases and The Goods: The Don Ready Story. His television resume aside from starring in three season of TBS’ Sullivan and Son include ABC’s The Middle, Chappelle’s Show, The Howard Stern Show, NBC’s The Real Wedding Crashers and standup appearances on TBS’s Conan, ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live, CBS’s The Late Late Show, BET’s Comic View and a total of 10 appearances on NBC’s The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.
A true international comedian, Byrne has performed to sold-out crowds around the world. He has been a featured comic at the Just for Laughs Festival (Montreal, Toronto and Chicago), HBO’s US Comedy Arts Festival in Las Vegas and the CanWest Comedy Fest in Vancouver. He has been part of several national comedy tours including The Sullivan & Son Tour, The Jameson Comedy Tour, Vince Vaughn’s Wild West Comedy Tour, The Kims of Comedy, The Camel Cigarettes Sin City Tour, and his own national Myspace Comedy tour. Byrne even had the honor of opening for esteemed musical acts such as Kanye West, Mariah Carey, Modest Mouse, Puddle of Mudd, Spoon, Rev. Horton Heat and many more. As a big supporter of the US troops, Steve also headlined several USO tours in Afghanistan, Iraq, Japan and Guam.