Ricky Jay

Episode 156

20th January 2015

This week’s guest is the sleight-of-hand master Ricky Jay. He was one of the first guys performing magic at comedy and rock clubs in the 60s and is now one of the most renowned illusionists in the world. Jay is the subject of a new documentary. It’s called Ricky Jay: Deceptive Practice. Later on in the show the jazz pianist and composer Vijay Iyer will reveal the song that changed his life and Jesse will tell you about the record cover he found on eBay that opened up a whole new world.

Episode notes

Magician & Sleight of Hand Artist Ricky Jay on the Nature of Deception

Is there such a thing as honest deception? Ricky Jay thinks so. Jay is one of the finest practioners of magic and sleight of hand in the world, and began performing as a child in Brooklyn. He learned the elements of performance from his grandfather, who was also a magician, and from his mentors like Dai Vernon and Charlier Miller.

He talks to us about magic as the family business, the times his work has made people angry, and why deception isn’t always evil.

Ricky Jay: Deceptive Practice will kick off the new season of American Masters on Friday, January 23, 9-10pm on PBS (check local listings).

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Photo: Matthew Eisman/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Vijay Iyer on “The Song That Changed My Life”

Pianist, arranger and composer Vijay Iyer describes the pop song that lodged itself into his consciousness and changed his life.

The Vijay Iyer Trio has a new album, Break Stuff, out on February 10. They’ll be out on tour supporting the album this winter and spring.

For more from Vijay, check out our interview from 2012.

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The Outshot: Jay Mitchell’s Bahamian Funk

An awesome album cover leads Jesse on a journey to the little-known Bahamian musician Jay Mitchell.

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In this episode...

Associate Producer
Associate Producer


  • Ricky Jay
  • Vijay Iyer

About the show

Bullseye is a celebration of the best of arts and culture in public radio form. Host Jesse Thorn sifts the wheat from the chaff to bring you in-depth interviews with the most revered and revolutionary minds in our culture.

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Associate Producer

Associate Producer

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