JOPLIN, Mo. —
Traditionally, NBC's "America's Got Talent" has not been kind to magicians, portraying them as bumbling fools or mistake-prone amateurs. But because Eric Dittelman is an expert mind reader, he sensed when the show's mood changed to a friendlier outlook.
Actually, he picked up on the change from having watched the show since its first season.
"I had watched the show from the beginning, so I knew what I was getting into," Dittelman said. "Piers Morgan had the reputation of being not so kind to magicians, but when Howard Stern came on, I knew he was a fan. It would be a good opportunity to actually try the show because he'd be rooting for us."
Dittelman auditioned in 2012 for season seven of the show, where he became a semi-finalist.
He will perform next week at Missouri Southern State University.
Always harboring an interest in magic, Dittelman also got involved performing with improv and sketch comedy troupes while going to college. At the same time, his interest in magic shifted to its more mental areas.
"I was fascinated with the psychological aspect," Dittelman said. "And it allowed me to show my personality a bit more."
After graduation and starting a career as a middle-school chorus teacher, he decided to take a jump and dive into full-time performances.
He worked with the best in both mentalism and improv, working with Banachek in Las Vegas and with The Second City in Chicago.
College campuses are one of his favorite places to perform his brand of humor and mind reading -- he has performed college shows across the country.
"To me, college shows are on par with comedy clubs," Dittelman said. "They are more raw, and you get to really try things out that you wouldn't necessarily get to do in the corporate sector."
His show Tuesday will feature many of the same types of feats seen on "America's Got Talent" and more.
The only difference is what audience members think of, he said.
"It's a very interactive show," Dittelman said. "You can't read minds without having minds to read. I use a lot of people."
Want to go?
Eric Dittelman will perform at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Webster Hall, on the campus of Missouri Southern State University.