The Hippo


Jul 4, 2020








Five favorites
Favorite Book: Autobiography of 
Harry Houdini
Favorite Movie: Houdini (1953)
Favorite Music: 1970s oldies
Favorite Food: Lobster
Favorite thing about NH: Opportunity

BJ Hickman

By Ryan Lessard

Explain in one sentence what your current job is.
I’m a magician traveling mostly throughout New England and occasionally in other parts of the country with an audience participation-comedy-fun magic show for all ages.

How long have you worked there?
I have been a magician most of my life, since I was 10 or 12 years old. … When I first started doing shows [it was] for other kids in school. I stuck with it and have done magic shows for 40 or 45 years at a lot of fairs and festivals. I’m speaking to you now at the parking lot of the Deerfield Fair, because I’m in between shows, and it’s one of my favorite places to perform because I grew up in Manchester and there’s a lot of people that go to this fair from the Manchester area.

How did you get interested in this field?
Like a lot of little boys ... I got interested and there used to be a little magic shop, Jack Booth’s Magic Shop in downtown Manchester. I learned a few tricks there and my dad introduced me to some other magicians in the local area. A couple of them took me under their wing and let me attend their shows to work as a helper. Eventually, I started doing a lot of shows on my own and have done programs throughout New England.
What kind of education or training did you need for this job?
It was kind of learn on your own, as you go, from other magicians. I went to Keene State College [and] didn’t really know what I wanted to do. ... I got interested in broadcasting at the local college radio station and eventually two or three other stations. But I gave up my real job in radio broadcasting about 20 years ago to do magic full time and it keeps me busy. … I’ve attended several conferences and conventions and training sessions and [am] always learning new tricks.

How did you find your current job?
I’m proud to say I’ve never worked a day in my life. I’ve always enjoyed performing magic shows, and when I was in radio broadcasting I really enjoyed that. When a lot of people are hoping the day goes by faster, I wish it would slow down because I just enjoy every minute of it. … I’m very into concentrating on advertising and promoting. … I found out a long time ago, there’s a lot of marketing and communications involved, which is what I studied in school. 

What’s the best piece of work-related advice anyone’s ever given you?
The best advice I’ve gotten is to be a regular guy and work with people when they book you to do a show, whether it’s at a school assembly program, or a fair or festival or even a birthday party. … At least in my case, I’m not a big star and I don’t expect anyone to treat me that way.
What do you wish you’d known at the beginning of your career?
I wish I had known and not feared that one could make a living at what I enjoy doing most. I wish I had given up my real job sooner.

What is your typical at-work uniform?
Well, that changes over the season to a jacket and tie to just a shirt and tie depending on where the show is and what the event is. Half the time, I’m working out of the house, [so] it’s just jeans and a T-shirt.

What was the first job you ever had?
I cleaned up the Fanny Farmer candy store in downtown Manchester. 
— Ryan Lessard 

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