Award-winning comedian and magician Charles Lowell is a "chip off the old block" — hence the nickname "Chipper."
"My dad was originally a clown on the Ringling Bros. back in the '60s and, later on, was managing various shows," Lowell says. "My mom was an aerialist. She would do trapeze, Spanish web, and she also did what's called the 'iron jaw' where she would literally hang by her teeth."
What: 'The Chipper Experience'
When: 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 27
Where: Craterian Theater, 23 S. Central Ave., Medford
Tickets: $22-$28 and $15-$21 for ages 18 and younger
Until he was 15, Lowell, his brother and parents toured about 10 months a year with the circus, performing in all 50 states, as well as Australia, New Zealand and Europe.
Lowell studied via correspondence classes, assisted his mom with her acts and rented his pet dog to the clowns in exchange for chocolate Cadbury eggs.
At "home," the Lowells were "the Addams family of the neighborhood." Lowell's mom frequently practiced her stunts from trees in the backyard, and once, neighbors called police, saying she'd hung herself.
Out of this lifestyle, Lowell developed a terrific sense of humor and often would poke fun at the various skill sets of his comrades. After college, he became a full-time funny man while his brother is a mortician.
Lowell will present his fast-paced, fun-filled, family-friendly show, "The Chipper Experience," at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 27, at the Craterian Theater, 23 S. Central Ave., Medford. Also look for the antics of guest magician Danny Cole, who has twice won Stage Magician of the Year at The Magic Castle in Los Angeles.
"If you blink your eyes, literally, you'll see him change his costume completely or sit down on a chair that's not there," Lowell says.
Lowell is a family man, and "The Chipper Experience" is a family show, free of any political jabs and adult situations, he says.
Onstage, Lowell performs hilarious feats of hocus-pocus, juggles, predicts the future, peels off his own skin and interacts with the audience. All of this is interspersed with gut-busting comedy in the form of ad-libs, one-liners, slapstick, improvisation and Looney Tunes-style physical acting.
"In some ways, the comedy is a misdirection for the magic, and the magic routines are a perfect vehicle for comedy," Lowell says.
Ironically, Lowell pokes fun at magicians, such as David Copperfield and Criss Angel, throughout his act.
In this age of the Internet, Lowell says he is forced to think outside the box to keep a smarter audience on its toes.
"There are no birds or bunnies, but you'll definitely see things appear and disappear and some wonderful mentalism effects where people have no idea how I predict places they are thinking of or cards they are thinking of," Lowell says.
"I also bring prop trunks out, so there is a constant barrage of things that either come out for the sake of comedy or magic."
And then, of course, audience interaction and participation always provide an extra degree of amusement. Don't panic, Lowell never brings anyone onstage who doesn't want to be there.
Tickets to the show at the Craterian cost $22, $25 and $28; or $15, $18 and $21 for youths ages 18 and younger. Tickets may be purchased at the Craterian box office, 16 S. Bartlett St., Medford, and www.craterian.org or by calling 541-779-3000.
"Everyone seems to enjoy the show at their own level. It's a nice opportunity to bring everyone out — boyfriend, girlfriend, grandma, grandpa and the kids — but it's not a kiddie show."