The Amazing Jonathan Has Died

By Doug Norrie | 3 months ago

the amazing jonathan

A true comedic legend has passed away, a man who had a career that spanned decades with one of the more irreverent and unique standup acts you will ever see. The Amazing Jonathan (John Edward Szeles) has died, announced by his wife and confirmed through The AV Club. He was 63 years old and apparently had suffered a critical heart condition, first diagnosed all the way back in 2007. According to his wife, The Amazing Jonathan passed peacefully surrounded by family and loved ones. 

The Amazing Jonathan had a career that played for many years and was known for a very specific style of comedy that combined elements of magic and physical jokes. It played unlike many other acts you will see with the comedian using sleight of hand and conventional magic in ways much different than you will see at kids’ birthday parties. He was loud and rambunctious, making sure the crowd was involved at almost all times, even singling out audience members as part of longer-running gags, or bringing them up on stage as part of a “trick” or bit. 

The comedian’s style was singular, giving off memorable performances sometimes on the back of just his sheer energy, silly gags, and a maniacal style. The Amazing Jonathan got his start back in the 1970s on the streets of California where he would perform magic tricks laced with an almost Kinison level of angry/ party energy that juxtaposed well against the simple illusions he was pulling off. This led to a steady comedy career on late-night shows and comedy lounges where his act definitely drew crowds. The comedian made 24 appearances on Comic Strip Live and had a number of Comedy Central specials as well. You can check out some clips of his comedic stylings below:

The Amazing Jonathan went on to have a long career in Las Vegas with one of the longest-running solo shows in comedy history. It was a testament to his particular style, using gags and well-placed magic show elements to put on a show that was almost timeless. Juxtaposing birthday-party like magic with a hard-partying persona, the comedian had a distinctive style and it’s easy to see why he was able to maintain such a long career. These types of laughs played across almost any crowd with the comedian bringing almost constant energy to his show. 

The Amazing Jonathan was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy back in 2007 though he did continue to perform in Las Vegas during that time. For years, the condition was treatable and manageable though in 2013 things did worsen and he effectively retired from his Las Vegas run. He briefly return to the stage in the following years and Hulu released The Amazing Jonathan Documentary detailing his later years, his standup, issues with drug use over the years, and his struggle with his heart condition. 

The Amazing Jonathan is survived by his wife Anastasia Synn. His style will live on and we truly lost one of the most unique comedians there was. He will be missed.