The Passing Zone, a juggling variety act, has made the top 10 on “America's Got Talent,” twice and has appeared at the Comedy and Magic Club on multiple occasions, but when they return to the famed club in Hermosa Beach on July 23 and 24, they plan to have a new trick up their sleeves.
Known for comedic hijinks with various juggling apparatuses, The Passing Zone, featuring Hermosa Beach's Jon Wee and Owen Morse, added a card trick to their repertoire for their appearance on “Penn & Teller: Fool Us,” which is expected to be aired Aug. 12 on the CW Network. “Fool Us,” which is in its sixth season, is a competition show where magicians from around the globe attempt to fool the magic duo to earn an appearance on their Las Vegas show.
Wee said creating the card trick was a “lot harder than we thought it was going to be.” They consulted some of their magician friends on “can this be done, can that be done?”
“The changes were significant enough where we had to start re-practicing everything,” said Wee. “There were some days were it was working only half the time. The show was a week away and it was not working as well as we needed to so we were performing every chance we could get.. it was definitely a process.”
The Passing Zone has performed on the confined stage at the Comedy and Magic Time for many years and Wee says they hope to perform their new trick at the venue.
“That stage is about the smallest space we can perform in... we have other bits we do on bigger stages but there's only so much we can do there,” Wee said. “But luckily most of the things people want to see we can do there.”
Wee and Morse met at the International Jugglers’ Association while they were still in college in 1986. Their first show together was the Sawdust Art Festival in Laguna Beach on the Fourth of July weekend in 1988.
They soon realized how important comedy was to their routine and something that sets them apart from most juggling acts.
At their first ever comedy club date in 1990 at the Comedy and Magic Club, a booker for “The Tonight Show” with Johnny Carson was in the audience to see comedian David Spade,who had just started his first season on “Saturday Night Live.” Wee said the booker was not impressed with Spade, but he liked The Passing Zone. They made their “Tonight Show” debut a few months later, when they were 24 years old. Carson liked them so they made a second appearance.
The experience helped launch a career performing with legends such as Bob Newhart and Bob Hope, and winning numerous awards over the years.
The Passing Zone made the top 10 in the first season of “AGT” in 2006 when Piers Morgan, Brandy and David Hasselhoff were judging. They returned in 2016 and made it to the live rounds with the backing of judges Simon Cowell, Heidi Klum, Mel B and Howie Mandel. Bianca Ryan won the first “AGT” at 11 years old. In 2016, Grace VanderWal won AGT at 12 years old.
Return to CMC
The Passing Zone has had a handful of headlining shows since their last appearance on “AGT” and they will pop-in occasionally for the clubs “10 Comics a Night!” weekend shows.
“We always feel honored they have a lot of variety acts there, but very few of the variety acts headline,” Wee said. “So to be in that headliner spot as a variety act is a fun thing and we've always been pleased that they trust us to put us in that spot.”