Last night I saw Jay Johnston performing and the guy absolutely killed -- he was hilarious. BUT...more than funny -- that stupid monkey-shaped pieced of fur and plastic he was playing around with appeared to be ALIVE. There wasn't anybody in the audience who didn't know exactly what that monkey was (fur and rubber) but there wasn't anybody in the same audience who didn't believe the stupid thing was ALIVE.
Yes, I know the guy's really proficient (yeah, I used to watch "Soap"), and not every vent has that level of ability. But to so ably con an audience into suspending their disbelief -- to enlist their aid in fooling them, and make them feel good about the collusion -- well, that sets a benchmark. I'll consider myself a competent Magician when I can pull off that kind response to my Magic.