An Interview with Todd Robbins

Robbins is known for a variety of sideshow acts such as sword swallowing, Human Blockhead, and glass eating, including wine glasses and light bulbs. Robbins estimates he has eaten more than 5,000 light bulbs throughout his career, sometimes consuming up to 21 per week.

Robbins has been featured on more than 100 television shows, which include multiple appearances on David Letterman, Jay Leno and Conan O’Brien; Masters of Illusion; and the NBC special Extreme Variety. He was a featured guest on Criss Angel Mindfreak and is also the main subject of the 2005 documentary American Carny: True Tales From The Circus Sideshow directed by Nick Basile.

Robbins is one of five partners in the longest running off-Broadway show, Monday Night Magic.

He starred in an off-Broadway show Carnival Knowledge which ran from 2002 to 2004 and featured Robbins eating light bulbs and swallowing swords. It was also nominated for a Drama Desk Award. He also served as dean of the sideshow school in Coney Island, where for $600 he would teach about the history of sideshow acts as well as instruct the students how to swallow swords or lie on a bed of nails.

In 2008 he toured as part of a stage show called Hoodwinked with Bob Arno, Banachek and Richard Turner.

In 2009 Robbins was featured in a Ripley’s Believe It or Not! cartoon panel noting that he had “chewed and swallowed over 4,000 light bulbs.”

In 2010 Robbins starred in Play Dead, written by Robbins and Teller of Penn & Teller, a “throwback to the spook shows of the 1930s and ’40s” that ran September 12–24 in Las Vegas before opening Off Broadway in New York at The Players Theatre.

Todd Robbins has worked for Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! and was also a ringmaster at the Big Apple Circus.

He has been associated with the Big Apple Circus for more than a dozen years (performing in various roles including the ringmaster) and can often be seen playing piano with Woody Allen’s jazz band at the Cafe Carlyle. Todd currently performs regularly at New York’s longest running Off-Broadway magic show, Monday Night Magic.

In 2015, Robbins began hosting a TV series on ID network titled ‘True Nightmares’ in which he presents 3 strange but true characters known to history as nightmares that came all too true.

In 2019, Robbins began hosting and producing a weekly showcase of stage and close-up magic in New York City called, “Speakeasy Magick”, at the McKittrick Hotel.

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