Joe Rogan Experience #1527 – David Blaine

Key Takeaways

  • David Blaine loves doing magic because it brings out the inner kid in everyone:
    • “At the core of everybody, there’s like an innocent kid somewhere, maybe he got really far lost, and magic just pulls that out of people”David Blaine 
  • David learned to hold his breath for long periods of time because kids at the YMCA could swim faster than him and David realized that if he could hold his breath longer, it would make him a faster swimmer
    • Holding your breath is all about your tolerance to CO2 buildup, not lack of oxygen
      • “If you relax and efficiently keep your oxygen and not make the CO2 build up more extreme, you can actually hold more efficiently” David Blaine
  • The longest he’s held his breath was for 20 minutes and 2 seconds. His heart rate dropped to 8 beats per minute!  
  • When David was a young magician, he would go to fancy restaurants in New York City and ask if he could perform tricks for guests. There, he learned that how you interact with people is more important than the trick itself:
    • “You start to understand the psychology of the magic is way more important than the tricks”David Blaine 
  • David’s new special is called “Ascension” and premieres on YouTube live on August 31. He plans to hang on to a bunch of balloons and float up to around 25,000 feet. He’ll then let go and skydive back down.

Intro

  • David Blaine (@davidblaine) is an illusionist, endurance artist, and extreme performer. He is best known for his high-profile feats of endurance and has set and broken several world records. His new special “Ascension” premieres on YouTube live on August 31 
  • Host: Joe Rogan (@joerogan)

Books Mentioned

Getting Into Magic & Stunts

  • David grew up in Brooklyn, raised by a single mother 
  • David started playing with cards when he was 5; he just liked playing with them and carried them everywhere he went
    • One day, a librarian saw David playing with his cards and taught him a magic trick. David then showed the trick he learned to his mom and she was blown away by it. Her reaction inspired David to learn more tricks to impress his mom.
      • Sometime after that, David discovered a book in the library about Houdini and became extremely curious about the famous magician 
  • David learned to hold his breath for long periods of time because kids at the YMCA could swim faster than him and David realized that if he could hold his breath longer, it would make him a faster swimmer
    • Holding your breath is all about your tolerance to CO2 buildup, not lack of oxygen
      • “If you relax and efficiently keep your oxygen and not make the CO2 build up more extreme, you can actually hold more efficiently” David Blaine
        • When David was training for his breath-holding stunt, he trained with Navy SEALs to learn how to get over his fear of blacking out 
          • David says blacking out is actually euphoric. He’s blacked out between 20-30 times.
            • The longest he’s held his breath was for 20 minutes and 2 seconds. His heart rate dropped to 8 beats per minute! 
  • David says that with just 20 minutes of breath work, he could teach Joe how to hold his breath for 20 minutes 

Cheating At Craps & Getting On TV

  • Just like how you can learn how to count cards to win card games, you can learn how to throw dice to win at crabs
    • David knows someone who practiced throwing dice for 10 hours a day for a decade. That guy now travels the world playing crabs and makes a great living doing so.
  • One of the hardest parts of being a magician is constantly having to come up with new tricks
  • When David was a young magician, he would go to fancy restaurants in New York City and ask if he could perform tricks for guests. There, he learned that how you interact with people is more important than the trick itself:
    • “You start to understand the psychology of the magic is way more important than the tricks”David Blaine
      • David had to learn how to be close enough to show the trick but so close that he made the guest uncomfortable, he also learned which tricks would get the best reaction 
        • “By doing all this, I started to really figure out how to get reactions from anybody really fast” 
  • David loves doing magic because it brings out the inner kid in everyone:
    • “At the core of everybody, there’s like an innocent kid somewhere, maybe he got really far lost, and magic just pulls that out of people”David Blaine 

David’s Incredible Stunts

  • David once stood in a block of ice for 63 hours; he says it was his hardest stunt:
    • “The most difficult one was the ice by far, the ice was a monster” – David Blaine
      • He couldn’t sleep because he was standing up and couldn’t lean on the ice because he would get frostbite. At hour 55, David started hallucinating.
  • He was also buried alive for a full week with no food and 6 tons of water on top of him so he couldn’t get out
    • He learned to fast so he easily went without food for the whole week
    • The hardest part of the stunt for David was peeing while people could see him from above
  • David fasted for 44 days while being locked inside a plexiglass box, suspended 30 feet in the air, in London. He only drank 4.5 liters of water a day. 
  • David also tried to hang upside down for a stunt called the Dive of Death, but when he had to use pee, the catheter didn’t work as planned and David peed all over himself
  • David’s new special is called “Ascension” and premieres on YouTube live on August 31. He plans to hang on to a bunch of balloons and float up to around 25,000 feet. He’ll then let go and skydive back down.
    • To do this stunt, David had to get to a hot air balloon and skydiving license. To get his skydiving license, he did 15 jumps a day.
  • David has two more crazy stunts he wants to accomplish in his life. He doesn’t reveal what the stunts are but says that all of the names of his stunts will spell out his full name.
  • David loves doing stunts because he turns his body into a prop for the show:
    • “I like to use the body as the prop so I like to figure out how to do things where like your body is magic” – David Blaine

David Performs Magic On Joe’s Podcast

  • At 32:00, David does a dice trick where he asks Joe to shake dice and put it down without looking at it. David is able to predict the top number on the dice twice in a row.
  • At 1:35:00, David lets Joe push an ice pick all the way through his right bicep
  • At 1:58:00, David swallows a frog. At 2:04:00, David brings the frog back up and Joe verifies it’s a real frog.
    •  Fun fact: David once swallowed 10 frogs for an act.
      • “I’ve never ever injured or hurt a frog” – David Blaine

Additional Notes

  • David has gone swimming with humpback whales
  • David enjoyed reading Deep by James Nestor and learning about coral reefs
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Notes By Alex Wiec

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