Cirque du So-lame

How Did the Word ‘Faggot’ Sneak Into Criss Angel’s Terrible Las Vegas Magic Show?

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Over-hyped illusionist Criss Angel, whose Las Vegas Cirque du Soleil residency has has been marred by scathing reviews (which he so deserves), now has new reason to be ashamed of his act: He’s incorporated gay slurs into his show.

On Dec. 10 at Believe, Angel performed one of his regular stunts: Identifying the word an audience member has written down on a card, which is then placed in a sealed box, whereupon Angel “somehow” perceives what the word is and announces it to the audience before opening the box and showing the card. Except the word one attendee had written down? “Faggot.”

Cue the outrage. Reports the website GoldPlatedDoor.com:

Angel claims that thanks to a special bond between himself and the audience member (homophobia?) he has scribbled that word in a sealed box on a whim. To prove this, Angel has the sealed box lowered, and the audience member’s spontaneously imagined word is then spooled out on paper in large hand written letters for the entire audience to read.

This is not a very original trick, by the way. Penn & Teller do a similar trick except that they use a punchline strategy to control the range of words without limiting the choices enough to ruin the illusion of mind reading. And, I would bet my cats (not that Penn or Teller would want my lovely kitties) that they don’t prep their audience at all. In fact, the audience member’s total surprise at seeing the punchline written out is part of Penn & Teller’s performance.

Angel’s version of the trick, according to one source who used to be involved in the show, from the start had a lot less grace than Penn & Teller’s take: “He [Angel] would always prep the random person by asking for ‘no bad words.’ I don’t know if he still does this.” As a side note, when you consider that a “random” person is “prepped” at all you get an idea of the limits of Angel’s skills on stage when compared to his peers. Plants are much easier when they are paid actors working in harmony with television editing.

Regardless, when the audience member, prepped or not, warned about language or not, picked a term synonymous with gay bashing, Angel could easily have improvised a way to avoid what happened. Consider: Would he have allowed a racial slur to be displayed for the audience, or a slang word that refers to a specific part of a woman’s anatomy? No way. Not a chance. This word seems not to have triggered those alarms.

This is a very bizarre situation, because technically, it was not Angel who chose the word, but the audience member. And Angel — who sometimes gets kissed by men — “merely” picked the word out of the audience member’s head . As the report goes, Angel did not say the word aloud, as is customary, but did unroll the card and showed it to the audience.

After being called out on the incident, Cirque released this statement:

On December 10, an inappropriate word was selected by an audience member as part of the premonition illusion in CRISS ANGEL Believe. It was made clear to the audience that the word is not one that is used or condoned by Criss Angel or any of the artists in the show, and the emphasis on the word was deflected during the illusion. Audience members are typically not pre-briefed as to the words they can use. Since the occurrence, a protocol has been put in place in case the situation should reoccur.

But that was only after Cirque, according to GoldPlatedDoor.com, insisted “Angel himself did not say the word from the stage and they suggested that the audience member was British and meant cigarette.” Uh huh.

And if you’ve seen any Cirque show, you know there’s a huge ensemble cast of performers. Many of whom, you guessed it, are gay. Certainly they aren’t pleased. But also certain? They aren’t talking to the press. Not that they’re sitting tight. “Some dancers in the show were so offended,” reports the site, “that they demanded an apology from Angel, which the magician characteristically refused to offer. I was told, the dancers even considered staging a walkout and complained to Cirque management about Angel’s behavior.”

As if audiences needed another reason to avoid seeing Angel’s show.

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37 Comments

  • Jack

    “Angel himself did not say the word from the stage and they suggested that the audience member was British and meant cigarette.”

    A cigarette here is a ‘fag’. Never, under any circumstances anywhere in the UK, is a cigarette called a ‘faggot’. Ever.

    Anyone who buys that pathetic explanation should volunteer to be sawn in half.

  • ron

    Bunch of over-sensitive queens. The audience member was being subversive; testing the show to see how deeply it is fixed. I would have written “N*ggger”.

  • Jack

    @Ron – yeah, really subversive, the way you’ve censored and mis-spelt it!

  • unclemike

    “Nagger” is subversive?

  • naprem

    There was an episode of the very gay-friendly sf/f show Supernatural titled “Criss Angel is a Douchebag.” Unless and until he uses those abs to score a gay-for-pay porn job, I concur with the sentiment.

  • terrwill

    Explantion: FAIL. That the show is not fixed is as much of a lie as the one that Rush Windbag is straight! Angell WANTED to utter the word, why so???? There are only two alternatives regarding this “illusion”

    1- It is real, and if he suddenly discovered the audience member actually did put down the word on his own, he could have done what he would have done had the word been “nigger” , “kike” or “spic”…….He would have said sorry but I can’t utter that word in public, so as not to offend any audience members….next…….

    2- It is a fake, in which case unless he wanted to utter the word “faggot” he would have used an alternate word.

    Once again, we are the only group in which you can still slur in a public fourm and not lose your position. Had he said any of the slurs in my #1 his show would have been cancelled……..

  • Loyal_Katley

    Criss wasnt the one who said the word “faggot”. Once before Criss did the same trick and someone said the word “Holly” all they are trying to do is get Criss to make a fool of himself, and Criss probably did say sorry, Also, Perez Hilton, keeps saying s–t about him and its really pissing me off, and he haves rude and not necessary pictures on there, cant someone do something about it!!?? Also Im on Criss’ side with everything, and who ever said the one Faggot then well they made the mistake, Criss shouldnt have to take the blame for something that someone else chose to write something down!!!

  • B

    “But that was only after Cirque, according to GoldPlatedDoor.com, insisted ‘Angel himself did not say the word from the stage and they suggested that the audience member was British and meant cigarette.’ Uh huh.”

    They need to hire a better excuse guy – the slang-term used in
    the UK for “cigarette” is “fag”. My guess is that Criss Angel simply couldn’t figure out how to handle the situation. He probably didn’t want to repeat something offensive but didn’t want to look like he was covering up a failure. So he split the difference by showing the card without reading it to the audience.

    It may show poor judgment, but he had only a few seconds to react and it was probably a situation he didn’t anticipate.

  • alan brickman

    It’s also slang for a cigarette…guess no one watched “South Park” recently….

  • alan brickman

    Man is Criss ripped….

  • vdanker

    Criss Angel ranks right up there with Dane Cook and Sasha Cohen.

  • YCKTR

    Ummm…of course he (Criss) knew that the chosen word was Faggot. It’s a…wait for it…trick! Meaning it was set up from the start with every aspect of the outcome controled and preconcieved.

    Verdict: FAIL.

    Criss Angel is the biggest douche since David Copperfield anyway…so no big loss.

    !

  • Zack

    On a side note: Can we all make a New Year’s resolution to stop using the term “fail”? In my opinion, it’s about as annoying a term as “wassup”.

  • FakeName

    On a side note: Can we all make a New Year’s resolution to stop using the term “fail”? In my opinion, it’s about as annoying a term as “wassup”.

    I am intrigued by your ideas and wish to subscribe to your newsletter.

    Seriously, “fail” is so over and “epic fail” is even worse.

  • hephaestion

    It’s time to close this Angel fucker down.

    He will soon be history.

  • John Michael

    The term ‘fail’ is 2005. I don’t even care how camp it is to say that something is some year. The truth speaks for itself: 2005 was the year that those not in the internet know started picking up the termm fail from those in the know. Now it’s just a representative of those insecure people who thrive through having a majority behind them – people who still think the majority thinks that ‘fail’is cool to say.

    My roommate used to like to use that word. He was also someone who liked to suck me off and then during daytime would do whatever he could to undermine me.

    Humans think like that from time to time, but we all know we can be better. Can you?

  • Grgg

    It’s almost as if people NEED to have someone to rag on. Why do slurs always have to undermine a minority, be it racial or sexual?

    And just one other question: We’re getting angry about it, yes. But why are there so many of us that just smile and pretend it didn’t happen? I recently watched a live comedy show where the “faggot” jokes were plentiful, and the gay celebrities in the audience just sat there grinding their teeth and faking a smile.

    Isn’t it time for us to stop being politically correct and allowing people to crap all over us???

  • YCKTR

    “The term ‘fail’ is 2005. I don’t even care how camp it is to say that something is some year. The truth speaks for itself: 2005 was the year that those not in the internet know started picking up the termm fail from those in the know. Now it’s just a representative of those insecure people who thrive through having a majority behind them – people who still think the majority thinks that ‘fail’is cool to say.”

    I find it hysterical that you would dare throw around words like ‘insecure’ while also trying to convince us that you are cooler and less ‘majority’ than other people because of your “733t” language skills.

    Lemme guess, you’re one of those people who swears s/he was on the ground floor of every trend or popular concept (I was totally into the Jonas Brother when they were underground dude). You do realize that most people disengage from those conversations not because they feel inferior, but simply because they find it irritating, right?

    !

  • Not_GLAAD

    Somebody call GLAAD. Quick, so they can send a Press Release and then ask for more donations.

    GLAAD wastes $20 million a year. Stop.

  • Blake B.

    Gay men who defend hetros when saying faggot or “that’s so gay” make me laugh. You do realize there IS a connection between our plight, and being defeated, and gay bashing, and homophobia with acceptance and a flippant attitude toward homophobic behavior/language…if you don’t, then you probably use terms like “straight acting” to describe yourself and I probably should slowly walk away from you and this convo.

    Homophobia is the last form of discrimination accepted, applauded, and embraced in society (sh8t you can’t even call a cast member on “Bigest Loser” fat! fag?….BUHAHHAAH! Hilarious!)

  • greenluv1322

    Here’s a funny story about the word nigger. When my sister was in the fifth grade and I in the fourth a white boy said to her “Nigger, nigger, black as shit.” My sister told the teacher who was also our aunt about the incident. As punishment our aunt required that the white boy write the definition of nigger 500 times. Which in those times early eighties was something about “a stingy person or something like that.” So I think that jews are probably nigger and blacks niggas so please get your slurs correct…racist! Thanks bunches!

  • Roisia

    Whats the big deal. He cant control what his audience writes. It in no way shows his stance or beliefs on the subject. It shows the stance and beliefs of the member of the audience who wrote it.

  • What?

    Do any of you morons ever stop the think that the slur itself is powerful enough to stand on it’s own?

    Do you not realize that how often you yourselves use it makes it seem acceptable?

    Do you not realize that throwing out racial slurs as seen in the comments makes us look like hypocrites?

    Grow up, get real, and stop using slurs in the first place. You really just look like whiny idiots without a clue. This argument has no credibility coming from any of you.

  • MissMame

    I want him to call me faggot and use me. Does anyone know how well endowed he is?

  • Sandra

    Trust me Criss’ penis is small.

  • AlanInSLCutah

    I find it funny (well, not really) that it seems everyone wants each other to fail in life, to lose all credibility for their choices that others don’t agree with (whether important or not), to make them be the victim for everyone to pounce on. It is simply pathetic how everyone constantly points out issues with each other, even with their inability to stand up to their own unattainable standards. rather than just accepting things for how they are and looking for the good in things, people choose to focus on what will eventually hurt someone and bring us all down bit by bit. Fucking pathetic.

  • alan brickman

    Hawt and bottom would have been more appropiate….

  • Stacia

    Trust me, Sandra is right.

  • RichardIII

    Do tell ladies, how do you know about Mr. Angel’s endowment?

  • Deb Draisin

    As YCKTR pointed out, Angel knew what the word was going into the trick. The correct thing for him to do would have been to select another subject – surely he could have used his “powers” to “deduce” what was written before following through with the trick.

    Angel’s version of damage control is clearly limited by his ego (note that the article referred to him as frequently unapologetic.)

    The odds are very against that word having been written by some old British dude referencing some obscure form of meat – the intent is obvious.

    I’m disappointed; my adopted adores him.

  • B

    In No. 31, Deb Draisin wrote, “As YCKTR pointed out, Angel knew what the word was going into the trick.” What YCKTR pointed out is just a guess. Obviously it is a trick, but what you don’t know is how and when someone feeds the word to Angel. It’s possible that he doesn’t know until after the card is put in the box – maybe there is a false bottom or something that lets an accomplice look at the card while the box is sitting on a table.

  • schlukitz

    No. 10 · alan brickman

    It’s also slang for a cigarette…guess no one watched “South Park” recently….

    The expression I always heard was “Gimme a fag”, not a faggot, which is a bundle of sticks or wood.

  • FakeName

    Obviously it is a trick, but what you don’t know is how and when someone feeds the word to Angel.

    Irrelevant. He knows the word before the word is revealed. Whether it’s a matter of minutes or seconds, he still knows and has the option not to allow it to be revealed.

  • L.

    How did the word ‘faggot’ sneak into his show?

    Very good question. Maybe he reads Queerty, where said word is liberally used in titles and posts? Who knows?

  • schlukitz

    Comments like those by John No. 35 get posted with impunity.

    Meanwhile, those of us, who have not offended or insulted anyone on this site, continue to have our posts moderated by Queerty, for no reason that I am aware of.

    Straights, Gay-bashers and shit-stirrers get the red carpet laid out for them, while those of us for whom this site is supposed to be dedicated get moderated or banned.

    Nice going, Queerty. Good to see that your heart is in the right place.

  • jemtrish

    @Stacia:How can someone suppose to be that Chris Angel Mind Freak is a gay person, it’s totally rumors and have no clue for it.
    make your own website design

Comments are closed.