kottke.org posts about ericknaus

Forever young

posted by Jason Kottke   Mar 23, 2009

Known as The Great Zucchini, Eric Knaus makes $100,000 a year with a two-day work week entertaining children in the Washington DC area. He's got a knack with kids.

The Great Zucchini actually does magic tricks, but they are mostly dime-store novelty gags — false thumbs to hide a handkerchief, magic dust that turns water to gel — accompanied by sleight of hand so primitive your average 8-year-old would suss it out in an instant. That's one reason he has fashioned himself a specialist in ages 2 to 6. He behaves like no adult in these preschoolers' world, making himself the dimwitted victim of every gag. He thinks a banana is a telephone, and answers it. He can't find the birthday boy when the birthday boy is standing right behind him. Every kid in the room is smarter than the Great Zucchini; he gives them that power over their anxieties.

He's also got a gambling problem and can't keep anything else in his life organized. I know it's long, but this article is fascinating.