Scott Silven, master illusionist and host of At The Illusionist’s Table, is stirring up magic in this week’s On The Couch. Originally from Scotland, Scott usually spends his days traveling the world, providing audiences with world class sorcery, however for now, he’s set up residency at New York’s McKittrick Hotel. Guests can enjoy a three-course meal and all the while Silven pulls off increasingly mind-blowing, mind-reading tricks.
What do you consider to be your best asset?
Insatiable curiosity, driving an innate desire to connect with others in a deeper way.
What was your proudest moment?
Moving from Scotland to NYC, getting my first New York Times Critics Pick, an headlining The Sydney Opera House all in the same year. It was a culmination of many dreams being woven together in a strange and remarkable way.
What is your favorite drink?
White Negroni. Complex and sublime.
What is your favorite food?
What is your favorite condiment?
Momofuku Chili oil. From ice cream to scrambled eggs, it elevates everything.
What is your current obsession?
The City by Michael Heizer. A land artwork 50 years in the making. Extraordinary.
If you could give up one of your vices, what would it be?
Spending too much time underground, in the shadows, in NYC’s best cocktail bars.
What is the one professional accomplishment you long for most?
Having created a work that continues to inspire long after I’m gone.
What is the one thing you waste too much money on?
Eating out almost every day. I find it impossible to hold back in NYC.
What is the one activity you waste too much time doing?
Making coffee on a vintage (1967) Olympia Express coffee machine. It’s a Sisyphean task to produce the perfect cup, but I really can’t stop.
What do you consider to be the single greatest threat to your health?
My insistence on doing a minimum of 500 shows every year.
What’s the single best trait you inherited or learned from your parents?
What’s the single worst trait you inherited or learned from your parents?
Humor at almost always inappropriate times.
What in the world most thrills you?
Travel. I’m incredibly lucky to tour the world every year. Landing in a new place every week and having the opportunity to meet new artists and immersive myself in the local culture is always inspiring.
What current trend in popular culture most irritates you?
The need for instant gratification. We don’t just want content. We want it right now. I still want to be seduced by storytelling and led on a journey.
What was the most embarrassing moment you’ve ever
experienced on the job?
An audience member asked if we could set up a secret marriage proposal as part of the show. When the magic moment arrived his partner promptly declined. On stage. In front of 2000 people.
What is your favorite place in the world?
The Scottish Highlands. The myth and mystery of the place runs deep and continues to find it’s way into my work.
What is the most important trait you seek in a romantic partner?
Do you prefer the company of dogs or cats?
Everything I know I learned from dogs.
What would have to happen to make today the best day of your life?
Friends and family from past and present coming together for a meal cooked by my grandparents.
What is your personal motto?
Have courage, be bold, let the story unfold.