Mystery, comedy burst like rabbits from hats

Magicians Dr. Magogo, aka Mike Bent, Steve Kradolfer and David Oliver amaze, mystify, amuse and even disgust at the Mystery Lounge, the Tuesday show at the Hong Kong Restaurant’s Comedy Studio in Harvard Square. (Photos: Ken WInokur)
Magicians Dr. Magogo, aka Mike Bent, Steve Kradolfer and David Oliver amaze, mystify, amuse and even disgust at the Mystery Lounge, the Tuesday show at the Hong Kong Restaurant’s Comedy Studio in Harvard Square. (Photos: Ken WInokur)

Dr. Magogo took his place on the makeshift stage.

“It is a pleasure for you to see me tonight,” he sagely pronounced with an odd, perhaps Eastern European, accent. Tasseled fez askew on his head, the doctor proceeded with his gruesome antics, including a demonstration of his newly patented pet crematorium (it oddly resembled an Easy-Bake Oven), a raffle for a “real dead body” and a psychic cockroach that nobly put its life at risk to read an audience member’s mind.

As the featured guest on the Mystery Lounge’s Halloween show, Dr. Magogo, aka Mike Bent, brought an appropriately eerie quality to last Tuesday’s show — and a good hint of what awaits visitors to the lounge at any time. The lounge is a weekly event that brings a touch of magic to the lineup at the Hong Kong Restaurant’s Comedy Studio.

Regular performers include Steve Kradolfer, Joe Howard and David

Oliver, all professional magicians. But don’t expect only rabbit-out-of-the hat tricks from these guys. “This is not your father’s magic show” is their motto, and indeed they all strive to create a unique sort of magic show that seamlessly integrates illusion and comedy to titillate audiences.

The group started nine years ago when these performers and friends decided to do a show, “Magicians and Spirits,” at the Green Street Grille.

The show was meant to be a break from their regular performances, a place they could try out new tricks on smaller crowds. “It was a sort of a bowling night for the guys,” Kradolfer said.

When the group lost their first venue in 2002, Bent contacted the

manager of the Comedy Studio, Rick Jenkins, who immediately saw the opportunity to add another variety of comedy to his already diverse lineup. The Mystery Lounge at Hong Kong was thus born and has since generated a cult following in those who enjoy the rare mélange of magic, comedy and Chinese food.

Each Tuesday kicks off with preshow entertainment at the Hong Kong Bar at 7 p.m. before heading upstairs to the Comedy Studio for some real live, up-close and personal magic. Last week Kradolfer wowed the audience by magically transferring playing cards from the seat of one volunteer to another aided only by a glowing pink wand. Howard promised to show the secrets to his rope tricks, but only baffled the audience with each succeeding impossible knot. Oliver conjured dove after dove from thin air before dancing with a floating orb.

And Dr. Magogo … well, Dr. Magogo grossed out the audience with his macabre humor and parlor tricks, all in good fun.

Mystery Lounge is every Tuesday night at 8 p.m. on the third-floor Comedy Studio of the Hong Kong, 1236 Massachusetts Ave. At 7 p.m. there is a “Close-up Magic Show” at the Hong Kong Bar. Call (617) 661-6507 or go to thecomedystudio.com.

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