Rick Lax began studying the art of deception at five years of age. Which is a fancy way of saying, Rick’s parents bought him a Toys-R-Us magic set when he was in kindergarten. Unlike most boys, Rick didn’t trash the tricks after a week; he practiced, performed, and only stopped for the occasional piano lesson. (This, too, was the parents’ doing.)
Rick performed magic and music throughout grade school: He served as Andover High’s Marching Band Drum Major, wrote and directed a musical called Coffee Break (which featured Andover’s principal playing a narcoleptic landlord) and performed the first half of Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue by memory. Then Rick’s mind went blank and he had to walk offstage to get his sheet music and finish up.
At 18, Rick attended Michigan State University. He performed with the State Singers, proudly served as Vice Chairman of the MSU Freshman Class Council…and then quietly transferred to the school’s rival, University of Michigan. There, Rick majored in Political Science and was certified in the program’s affiliated honorary society (Pi Sigma Alpha). During this time Rick also played cowbell for the band Tally Hall.
After graduating, Rick joined MENSA to write an exposé of the so-called High IQ Society. It didn’t get published, but only because it wasn’t good.
At 22, Rick moved to Chicago and attended DePaul University’s College of Law, on academic scholarship. He completed an internship at the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office, graduated, passed the bar, and wrote about it in his (actually published!) memoir: Lawyer Boy: A Case Study on Growing Up (St. Martin’s Press, 2008).
Then Rick drove to Las Vegas and wrote his second book: A deception-themed memoir titled, Fool Me Once: Hustlers, Hookers, Headliners, and How Not to Get Screwed in Vegas (St. Martin’s Press, 2011). A third book soon followed, I Get Paid For This: Kicking Ass and Taking Notes (Huntington Press, 2012).
While in Vegas, Rick’s passion for gaming and competition emerged. He won the first-place $20,000 prize a Downy-sponsored scavenger hunt. He made the final table of the first-ever International Maf World Cup championship. He got kicked out of Gold Coast for card counting…and then returned, disguised as an octogenarian, to resume his play.
At 27, Rick refocused his attention on his first passion: Conjuring. He published original close-up tricks in MAGIC Magazine, worked as an illusion consultant for David Copperfield, and teamed up with Justin Flom to create and produce the TV show Wizard Wars. The program aired on Syfy, and received high ratings and critical praise.
These days, Lax works to educate the public about the psychology of deceit. Whether on Fox News or in WIRED magazine, Lax offers up a unique perspective on the world of trickery and lies. Lax also creates tricks for Penguin Magic, the biggest magic shop in the world. And, yes, he’s hard at work on his next TV project.