Chris Cox, the lanky, brilliant ‘Award Winning Mind Reader Who Can’t Read Minds’ is as cheery and exuberant an interviewee as he is on stage. Before speaking to him, I was feeling unwell – he perked me up again, a lovely comic medicine. Cox has a wonderfully upbeat manner that makes everybody like him; his shows have had rave reviews, garnering serious praise from many. He’s described by Time Out as ‘doing tricks that would make Jesus proud’. Essentially, then, he’s a miracle-worker – bloody impressive for someone who’s only 28. Where did it all begin?
“I was one of those annoying kids that got a Paul Daniel’s magic set for my sixth birthday. Then we went to Cornwall one holiday and I got a video of Pen and Teller. I watched it over and over – it blew my mind! I’m friends with them now, we go for dinner when they’re in London. It’s weird, but amazing. I studied psychology at college – I was interested in the mind, finding out how that side of things worked, and I started doing the Edinburgh Fringe around the same time as Tim Minchin. He really inspired me. He’s constantly surprising his audience, and he made me work so much harder; he knows how to give an audience the best magic.”
Is it hard to keep the old ego in check? He is avidly admired by fellow perfomers; Ricky Gervais has said he’s “brilliant”, and he’s been hailed as the “new Derren Brown”. It’s quite the accolade for a young ‘un.
“It’s weird and great. It’s odd – you perform because you want to be liked, and if people like you…I have to not let it get to my head. But then the good reviews help people find out about you and come to your show. When I heard Ricky Gervais’s distinctive, screechy laugh at my show and I thought ‘I did that’ – well, that was pretty cool. I hugely admire him, it was an incredible feeling. I want to walk around quoting my good reviews! But I won’t.”
You can’t begrudge him wanting to boast a tiny bit; he’s got the goods to back it up. And he has adoring fans, too – they even bring him snacks. “Before I go to bed, I like to eat cheese and crackers. It’s lovely. Anyway, I was in Edinburgh last year and I couldn’t find Jacob’s crackers anywhere, and I said so on Twitter, and this lady turned up to my show with a box. Brilliant.”
I wonder if he’s had any other strange experiences with over-zealous followers? “No…apart from the crackers. I worry when they ask for a kiss it will turn into something more inappropriate.”
Perks of fame? “Hah, yeah – I suppose so! I’d probably just go for it anyway.”
Funny, charming, and seriously talented – Chris Cox is magic.
Chris Cox will be performing his award-winning show, ‘Fatal Distraction’, at E4’s Udderbelly Festival in London’s South Bank Centre in May and June. For tickets, go to https://www.underbelly.co.uk/Chris-Cox. To find out more about Chris, go to http://magiccox.com/.