Magician and comedian the Amazing Johnathan, whose standup special was a Comedy Central staple in the Nineties, announced he was retiring in 2014 due to a heart condition. At the show, he had a year to live but was still doing a limited number of gigs as recently as last year. The film will screen in select fingers and hit Hulu on August 16th.
The new Hulu film, The Amazing Johnathan Documentary, follows him both through his struggles and the acrimony he feels when people doubt whether or not he really had a debilitating condition. A trailer for the film opens with someone speaking in voiceover never to trust a magician and another shot of filmmaker Ben Berman reminding the comic, whose real name is John Szeles, that he wanted to “stick to the truth.” Szeles is taken aback by this.
The rest of the trailer show footage of Szeles in the Eighties and Nineties, as well as his heartbreaking “final show” in which he tells people he’s dying. “Weird Al” Yankovic, Eric Andre and Judy Gold all provide commentary. Through it all, people wonder whether or not it’s a joke.
“Why are you even asking me that?” Szeles asks in one uncomfortable scene. “Are you disappointed that I’m not dying?”