Comedian, actor, magician--Derek Hughes does it all. It had to start somewhere though. I started magic when I was 10, the St. Paul native and now L.A. resident recalls. I traded a chemistry set for a magic kit with a buddy from fifth grade. This magic kit was awesome. There was this trick where you turned a penny into a dime, and man, that was it for me. I think it was probably all about commerce as a 10-year-old. It wasnt until he was invited to the Aspen Comedy Festival, however--where he saw some of the countrys top comics--when he hunkered down and started concentrating on his standup. Today he describes his act as a mish-mash of both comedy and magic. I got a compliment from a booker at a club once, Hughes says. After a week he said, I just want to tell you man Ive seen a lot of magicians do bad comedy and a lot of comedians do bad magic---you suck at both. No, thats not what he said. He said, Youre good at both. But the mish-mash is only for his headlining dates. When Hughes returns to the Twin Cities this week to feature for Greg Warren, hell leave his comfort zone and do all standup. Standup is where I really feel more excited as a creator, he says. When Im opening for someone for a week, I really take advantage of the opportunity to risk really falling on my face and trying to explore that standup comedy voice.
June 15-19, 7 p.m.; June 18-19, 10:30 p.m., 2010