It’s been a while since you may have seen Taylor Martin on WFYI, but he did not disappear. He's just been making a few things disappear. The magician who performs under many different personas had a lot of downtime during the pandemic, as we all did, but he has been touring again this year and is returning to the Indy Fringe festival this week. The annual festival continues through Sept. 3. Taylor sat down with WFYI’s Ray Steele on Morning Edition.
Taylor Martin: Thank you, sir. Good morning.
Ray Steele: Talking about the pandemic, your career almost disappeared, didn’t it?
Martin: Well, the only show I had in the summer of 2020 was a funeral for a friend. He asked me to do a magic trick at his remembrance. So, I did for him and his wife. But after that, yeah, the whole year was gone. It was good that I'm now old enough to get Social Security. And I had a wife with tenure. So, she's getting a retirement. So, we did okay, we buttoned down, and because I'm not driving and everything, it worked out fine. Having that downtime, and having probably a lot of time to think.
Steele: What made you want to come back to performing?
Martin: I'm an entertainer. That's the bottom line. I can't stop entertaining. I make people smile and make people laugh and make people think. And I was encouraged by Teller of Penn and Teller, you know, we are the luckiest guys on the planet because we get to do what we love to do. And people were asking me when you can do magic again. I mean, I had fans writing me from all over the country and countries, I should say, because of Canada. And I was pretty close to saying now why do all this? Well, it's my life. And I'm not happy unless I'm actually performing, and that's the absolute truth. You know, I'm pretty crazy that way. But I think people who have something they do for a living, they never go to work. They just do it that I just can't stop. I'm going to die with my wand in my hand.
Steele: Let's talk about the Indy Fringe Festival. You're an Indy Fringe original, I believe.
Martin: I was there in 2005. I've been there for every Fringe except for two, I believe. But even then, I produced one and the other one, I was in charge of the street entertainment, which I was horrible at. But we have just the most amazing time and Fringe to me, is the pure essence of theater. And my show is a second volume of the show I did two years ago called Tasty Bits. I was not going to be in the Fringe this year. And I was going down to meet the new, wonderful new director of fringe, Miss Jennifer, and as I was in the office, she said, we want to ask you something. You want to do a show. I said what? Well, Les Kurkendaal, who did America's first black drag queen - The Black Swan - last year, that show is getting a full production in Hollywood. And so, he had to pull out. So, they had four shows that were just convenient to me and I said yes. And my wife said, “You should have seen that smile on your face.” So, I put the Tasty Bits Too, more stories to be told which is at The District Theatre for four performances.
Steele: You're doing a show as Taylor Martin, and not as another character.
Martin: Well, there's going to be my characters in it. I'll be doing a singing telegram, which I was one of the original Merry Minstrels in Indianapolis and I did over 10,000 singing telegrams. I'm going to talk about meeting Aaron Copland and Frank Zappa in the same week, which was really fun. Also, the other thing I'm talking about is my fans. I didn't realize until like the past week and a half how many I have here in Indiana, and it's just so glorious to be at 70 years old and being able to still do this stuff. I've seen people 10 years younger than me, and they've got heart problems and everything else. And I'm just lucky, as lucky as can be, to be doing what I do. So, there you go.
Steele: Taylor Martin, it's always great to see you appreciate you stopping by.
Martin: Thank you, Ray. Appreciate it. Have a great day and a better one tomorrow.
Taylor Martin’s Indy Fringe show is called “Tasty Bits Too.” Information is available at IndyFringe.org.