David Kwong: Magic Word Nerd


Friday, May 24, 2013

David Kwong is one of a new breed of magicians associated with “alt-magic,” a performance scene emerging in Los Angeles, New York, Madrid, and Tokyo. “We’re not wearing the sparkly suits anymore,” Kwong tells Kurt Andersen. “The scene is rooting everything in sleight of hand and a simple return to the theater.”

Kwong’s niche is word games and puzzles — a self-proclaimed “word nerd,” he also constructs crosswords professionally — and he wows audiences with routines using Scrabble tiles, the periodic table, and dinosaur trivia. But Kwong is no stranger to the mainstream, working with David Copperfield (Kurt compares it to Sufjan Stevens performing with Nickelback), and serving as a magic advisor to films like The Incredible Burt Wonderstone and the upcoming Now You See Me. He taught Jesse Eisenberg the snap change card trick, and Woody Harrelson hypnosis. Harrelson reports that he successfully hypnotized Mark Ruffalo, but Kurt is skeptical. “That’s what Woody says,” replies Kwong. “They’re both actors, so who knows.”

Bonus Track: Kurt tests David Kwong's Scrabble skills — from A to Z

Video: David Kwong's Nerdy Magic

    Music Playlist
  1. Mister Magic
    Artist: Grover Washington, Jr.
    Album: Mister Magic
    Label: Motown
    Purchase: Amazon
  2. Magic
    Artist: The Cars
    Album: Magic/I Refuse [Digital 45]
    Label: Rhino/Elektra
    Purchase: Amazon
  3. Raconte - Moi Une Histoire
    Artist: M83
    Album: Hurry Up We're Dreaming
    Label: Mute US Corporation
    Purchase: Amazon


David Kwong

Produced by:

Sean Rameswaram

Comments [4]

David from Studio 360

Hi Li, glad you were interested in the segment with David Kwong. You can hear his Scrabble list by listening to the stream of this week's show [http://www.studio360.org/2013/may/24/] -- it comes in at the very end of the hour, before the credits.

UPDATE: We've posted the trick as a separate clip above. Enjoy!

May. 27 2013 07:34 PM
Li from Falls Church, VA

I was cooking when I was listening to the show but assumed I could get the Scrabble list off the website...I listened to the segment with David Kwong again but NO LIST! Any way to get it???

May. 27 2013 05:39 PM
Robert Stone from Alexandria, VA

Great Scrabble list at the end. One correction, though. PFT is not playable, although PHT, PST and PSST are.

May. 26 2013 04:51 PM

Why did David Kwong spell blue as blew?

May. 26 2013 01:28 PM

Leave a Comment

Register for your own account so you can vote on comments, save your favorites, and more. Learn more.
Please stay on topic, be civil, and be brief.
Email addresses are never displayed, but they are required to confirm your comments. Names are displayed with all comments. We reserve the right to edit any comments posted on this site. Please read the Comment Guidelines before posting. By leaving a comment, you agree to New York Public Radio's Privacy Policy and Terms Of Use.