Comedian, magician, ventriloquist and all-around funny man, Andy Gross, was performing at a night club when he started receiving alerts and texts on his phone.
An iPhone video he shot with his daughter featuring the performer split in half and sneaking up on unsuspecting parkgoers was taking off on YouTube.
First, the video racked up 7,000 views, then 25,000 views, soon it was 100,000.
“My Dad called and said he was brushing his teeth and heard a familiar voice on a video playing on CNN,” Gross said from his home in Los Angeles. “I was getting so many alerts, I had to turn off my phone.”
The “Split Man” video has since been viewed nearly eight million times online, and gave a huge boost to Gross’ career, helping him book shows around the world: Dubai, Paris, Barcelona and more.
On Friday, Jan. 10, Gross brings his hilarious and mind-bending show to the Tybee Post Theater, to thrill audiences and split a few sides.
Now with over 100 million combined views of his comedy videos, appearances on The Ellen Show, “Beverly Hills 90210,” Las Vegas, and nearly 150 live performances a year, Gross is going full throttle as he builds on his success ahead of a new cable comedy special set to wrap by summer.
“I think people just recognize good stuff, and with the Internet and things today, you just never could have done that 10 years ago,” Gross shared. “Maybe I’m not a household name, but most people have seen those videos on social media and it’s really helped me a lot.”
Andy Gross’ live acts contains a mixed bag of live magic tricks and illusions, hilarious comedy routines, and ventriloquism and voice-throwing, spiced with ample audience participation.
“I’m going to call some people up on the stage for sure, do mind reading…everything from borrowing people’s $100 bills and turning it into a $1 bill,” Gross joked. “A lot of odd, strange things to keep the audience on the edge of their seat.”
A life in comedy was certainly a pivot from Gross’ first career as a professional racquetball player.
By age 15, Gross was the youngest professional player in the sport to win a record number of racquetball tournaments. His success brought him to California where he competed and enjoyed life in L.A. But by age 25, the national popularity of the sport was declining and Gross needed a backup plan.
He had always been interested in magic and ventriloquism, thumbing through his parent’s TV Guide to see when the next ventriloquist would appear on the Johnny Carson Show.
Gross ordered a cheap ventriloquism pamphlet through the mail, and by age 12 was throwing his voice to call himself out of class on the school’s loud speaker much to his classmates’ entertainment.
In Hollywood, the only place Gross says a magician or ventriloquist could land a gig was in comedy clubs, if you weren’t funny, you’d get booted off the stage. Gross began working jokes into his routine and was soon getting called back to perform.
“Before long, they were asking if I could host a show, and then headline a show, and I never looked back,” Gross said. “Comedy clubs, cruise ships, Las Vegas - thankfully I’ve never had a real job. I love what I do.”
Gross says things are rolling as he continues to tour the country to perform and prepares to film a new comedy special. Though it’s his first time to perform on Tybee Island, Gross has performed at corporate events in Savannah before and says he adores this part of the country for its southern hospitality and warm audiences.
“People say ‘is he a comedian? A magician or a ventriloquist?’ and really it’s a mix of everything. I try to keep it fresh,” Gross said. “I hope they are just laughing and having a good time.”
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