Brian Brushwood

Brian Brushwood
Birth name Brian Allen Brushwood
Born (1975-01-17) January 17, 1975
Fountain Valley, California
Medium Live, Television, IPTV, MP3
Nationality American
Alma mater University of Texas at Austin
Genres Magic (illusion)
Subject(s) Confidence tricks; Fire eating
Spouse Bonnie Brushwood[1]
Children 3
Notable works and roles Scam School
Weird Things
Night Attack
Hacking The System with Jason Murphy
Website Brian Brushwood: Bizarre Magic

Brian Allen Brushwood (born January 17, 1975) is an American magician, podcaster, author, lecturer and comedian. Brushwood is known for the series Scam School, a show where he teaches the audience entertaining tricks at bars so they can "scam" a free drink from their friends. In addition to Scam School Brushwood co-hosts the podcasts Weird Things with Andrew Mayne and Justin Robert Young, Cordkillers with Tom Merritt and Night Attack with Young. Brushwood was also a regular guest on the This Week in Tech podcast. Brushwood performs his Bizarre Magic stage show across the United States and is the author of six books. Brushwood has appeared on national television numerous times including on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, CNN and Food Network.


Brushwood was born in Fountain Valley, California, later lived in Colorado, Norway, and as of 2014, Texas.[2] As a child Brushwood received a magic kit on Christmas Day one year.[3] During his time as a student at the University of Texas at Austin Brushwood rediscovered his interest in magic, performing his first paid shows by filling in for another magician whose schedule was too full.[1] This interest in magic led Brushwood to perform a 45-minute magic show as his senior thesis.[1]

As an undergraduate Brushwood attended Dr. Rory Coker's Pseudoscience class which introduced him to scientific skepticism.[4] Dr. Coker mentored Brushwood for his senior thesis and has invited Brushwood back as an alumnus to help demonstrate concepts in his class.[4]

Brushwood graduated from the Plan II honors program at the University of Texas at Austin in 1997.[1] After graduation Brushwood married his wife, Bonnie, and began testing video games for Rockwell Semiconductors, followed by a career at Dell where he designed high end computer systems.[1] During his time at Dell, Brushwood moonlighted as a magician on Wednesday nights at The Electric Lounge in Austin, Texas while The Asylum Street Spankers took their break.[1] In 1999 Brushwood was offered a raise at Dell and realized he wasn't following his passion so he made the decision to quit working at Dell and to start performing his Bizarre Magic show full-time.[1][5][6]

When a television deal fell through Brushwood decided to look into Internet broadcasting where he would be able to have more control over the product and process. After filming several episodes of Brian Brushwood: On The Road Brushwood got the idea for Scam School. He originally intended to produce it independently but eventually sold the idea to Revision 3 and the first episode aired on April 6, 2008.[1] Revision 3's location in San Francisco required Brushwood to travel to California to shoot episodes of Scam School, usually a dozen at a time due to travel expenses. In October 2008 one of Brushwood's childhood heroes, Richard Garriott, performed a magic trick he learned from Scam School while he was aboard the International Space Station.[4][7] When Discovery Digital Networks purchased Revision 3 Brushwood used it as an opportunity to move production of Scam School from the San Francisco Bay area to Austin, Texas where he currently lives with his wife and three children.[1]


Brian Brushwood eating fire at TWiT's Grand Opening party
Brian "Shwood" Brushwood and Evan Bernstein during a live recording of The Geologic Podcast at Dragon*Con 2011 in Atlanta, GA

Stage show

Brushwood started his professional stage show in 1999[8] and now performs 100–200 live shows each year on college campuses across the United States.[9] His Bizarre Magic show combines old sideshow stunts, mind reading, traditional magic and comedy.[10] Conversations with audience members after performances inspired Brushwood to develop his Scams, Sasquatch, and the Supernatural lecture in 2004.[9][11][12] Its content was derived from the pseudoscience course Brushwood took as an undergraduate[11] and covers paranormal topics and how to detect fakes. Brushwood's Social Engineering: Scam Your Way Into Anything Or From Anybody lecture[13] was initially developed for the 2009 South by Southwest Interactive panel with the same name.[4][14][15]


Brushwood's signature hairstyle was modeled after Guile from Street Fighter II[16] and takes nine minutes to set up. It is maintained with pomade and beeswax. Brushwood stated he can sleep on it without the style being disturbed and that it is low maintenance.[9] Episode 23 of Brushwood's web series Brian Brushwood On The Road is a demonstration of how the style is created.[17] Brushwood retired the hair style in 2012 citing his age and television projects as reasons for its discontinuation.[16]

Mr. Happypants

Mr. Happypants is a voodoo puppet that makes appearances in Brushwood's stage show and podcasts. Brushwood thought it would be fun if the character had a cute name but turned out to be mean, intending to come up with a better name later. While Mr. Happypants started off as a mean character he eventually evolved into pure evil and speaks through Brushwood with the assistance of a voice distorter.[18] The first reported appearance of Mr. Happypants' evil incarnation during a stage show was in the comedy competition at a Texas Association of Magicians conference.[19] Mr. Happypants' podcast debut was in Episode 6 of Brushwood's web series Brian Brushwood on the Road.[19]


Brushwood's first national television appearance was on the April 18, 2000 episode of The Roseanne Show talk show where he performed the trick of shoving a nail in one eye and having it pop out the other.[6][20] Brushwood has appeared twice on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno where he performed the "human crazy straw"[21] and impressed Ed Asner with his "spinning cups" routine.[22] Brushwood appeared in a segment on Anderson Cooper 360° where he taught Sanjay Gupta "the human blockhead".[23] In CNN's Life Beyond Limits Brushwood taught Gupta how to eat fire.[24] Brushwood also discussed eating fire on Food Network's Unwrapped,[25] and appeared on Paula's Party where he ate fire and helped make a s'more brûlée.[26] Brushwood has also appeared on Debra Duncan,[27] The Jenny Jones Show,[28] Unscrewed with Martin Sargent,[29] Steve Harvey's Big Time Challenge,[30] and Ricki Lake.[31]

Brushwood starred, with co-host Jason Murphy, in the 12 Episode Hacking the System that premiered on February 27, 2014 on the National Geographic Channel.[32] In the Hack Your Home episode Brushwood discusses home security and demonstrates techniques criminals use to break into a house.[33] In the Hack Your Car episode Brushwood demonstrates how to escape from the trunk of a moving car and explains techniques used by car thieves.[34] Brushwood live-streamed his viewing parties during the premiere[35] and second airing.[36] The series is now available to stream on Netflix[37] and Brushwood and Murphy have spun off the series as The Modern Rogue on the Scam School channel.[38]


Internet broadcasting


Show Description Premiere
Scam School Brushwood explains magic, street cons, scams and entertaining tricks so watchers can "scam" a free drink off their friends. You and Brian should become best friends on Twitter, there is no 'c' in Shwood 6 April 2008
Weird Things Hosts Brushwood, Justin Robert Young and Andrew Mayne discuss supernatural and strange reports in the news. News reports are often introduced by Andrew Mayne presenting scenarios where his co-hosts must respond to the events of a report as Mayne reveals an increasing amount of detail. Weird Things airs live on Diamond Club.TV and Alpha Geek Radio on Sunday nights 19 October 2009
Behind The Scam Originally starting with the live format of Scam School Live, Behind the Scam moved to a shorter five-minute format where Brushwood interacts with fans of Scam School by answering their questions and showing how episodes are made. 14 January 2013
Cordkillers A continuation of Frame Rate independently hosted and produced by Brushwood and Tom Merritt with weekly discussions of television, movies and Internet video. CordKillers airs live on Diamond Club.TV and Alpha Geek Radio on Monday nights 23 December 2013
Night Attack A continuation of the former NSFW, hosted by Brushwood and Justin Robert Young. Night Attack airs live on Diamond Club.TV and Alpha Geek Radio on Tuesday nights 4 March 2014
The Modern Rogue Brushwood and co-host Murphy from Hacking the System, have continued the series on their own on Brushwood's Scam School channel. The series is based on life hacks and crazy experiments and is released every Thursday. 28 January 2016


Show Description Air Dates Episodes
Brian Brushwood: On The Road Brushwood developed this series as a way to get experience with creating online video.[11] It includes highlights from his career as a stage performer. 5 September 2006 –
7 December 2008
BBLiveShow Brushwood created this series as a "safe place to be bad" while he refined his talents as a video podcaster.[1] Brushwood was joined weekly by co-host Justin Robert Young. The show's regular guests included, Brett Rounsaville, Owen JJ Stone, and his brother Jay Brushwood. Other guests included The Totally Rad Show's Jeff Cannata and Dan Trachtenberg, Film Riot's Ryan Connolly, Josh Connolly and Timmy Allen, Jay Adelson, Martin Sargent and Daniel Garcia. An "after show" typically followed the live broadcast and was not included in the podcast. The show eventually became NSFW on the TWiT Network. 1 January 2009 –
10 January 2012
NSFW A weekly continuation of BBLiveShow co-hosted by Justin Robert Young. The show was recorded live on Tuesdays at 7 p.m. Pacific Time and promoted interaction with the audience via a chat room. Typical episodes begin with a viral video and a few games before moving on to the main event which takes up the second half of the show. When the show ended on TWiT it was renamed Night Attack and is now independently produced by Brushwood as a part of Diamond Club TV. 24 November 2009 –
24 February 2014
Frame Rate A weekly show that was recorded on Mondays at 3 p.m. Pacific Time where hosts Bruswood and Tom Merritt discussed films, television and Internet video. It was succeeded by Cordkillers. 10 November 2010 –
16 December 2013
DIAF NSFW co-hosts Brushwood and Young read chapters of an audiobook written by members of the NSFW audience. 29 December 2010 –
29 May 2011
Scam School Live A weekly live show in which Brushwood and a co-host would interact with fans of Scam School. It was succeeded by Behind the Scam. 14 April 2011 –
18 May 2011
The Cantina Band Brushwood and co-host Adam Paulauski discussed various aspects of Star Wars: The Old Republic 15 August 2011 –
20 October 2012
Game On! A weekly live broadcast recorded on Sundays at 6 p.m. Pacific Time. Its beta episode aired on 13 November 2011 with regular episodes began on 15 January 2012. Written by Justin Robert Young and co-hosted by Brushwood and Veronica Belmont the show discussed video games and apps. 14 November 2011 –
8 April 2012
Too Long Didn't Listen A gaming podcast that was co-hosted by Brushwood and James "Elrar" Nichols (former community manager for Trion Worlds) where they discussed Two topics in 30 minutes or your next podcast is free." Brushwood joined Too Long Didn't Listen as a co-host on its relaunch in Episode 68. 3 October 2013 –
7 May 2014


Night Attack

  • Released: 28 September 2011
  • Format: MP3
  • Label: Brian Brushwood and Justin Robert Young
  • Chart position: No. 4 – Billboard Comedy Albums (29 October 2011)[39]

Night Attack 2: Enjoy the Garden

  • Released: 20 April 2013
  • Format: MP3
  • Label: Brian Brushwood and Justin Robert Young
  • Chart position: No. 1 – Billboard Comedy Albums (4 May 2013,[40] 11 May 2013)[41]

Night Attack (Live)

  • Released: 22 October 2013
  • Format: MP3
  • Label: Brian Brushwood and Justin Robert Young
  • Chart position: No. 1 – Billboard Comedy Albums (16 November 2013)[42]



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  34. "Hacking the System: Hack Your Car". National Geographic Channel. Retrieved 17 July 2014.
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  42. 1 2 "Comedy Albums". Billboard. Retrieved 28 July 2014.
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External links

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