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Max Boonch Isn’t Funny Anymore (For Now) 

The viral comedian-musician releases his first serious single with “The Day Houdini Dies.” 

by Glenn Alderson

Nowadays it feels like musicians have to be influencers on social media to some degree if they want to get their music out there. But what if it was the other way around? What if influencers had to be musicians if they wanted their followers to smash that like button? Luckily for Max Boonch, he’s both; he also happens to be pretty funny. Combining his skills as a comedian with his penchant for writing good songs and the marketing tricks he’s learned from working three part-time social media jobs, he’s carved out a unique and steadfast following for himself on TikTok, Instagram, and beyond.

For the last two years, the Vancouver-based film school drop-out has been creating viral comedy videos that live on the spectrum somewhere between Bo Burnham and Elliott Smith. Funny, creative, and sometimes even cute in less than 60 seconds, Boonch finds inspiration in things like all the weird shit he’s seen while scrolling the free section on Facebook Marketplace or “almost having a girlfriend in grade six.” But all that is so early 2023; now Boonch is putting comedy aside, if only for a moment, to showcase his unfunny side with “The Day Houdini Dies.”

“It highlights my relationship with avoiding confrontation and the hope that one day the ‘escape artist’ inside us all will die,” Boonch tells RANGE.

His choice to release the single on Halloween holds a special degree of significance to the song as Oct. 31 also happens to be the anniversary of Houdini’s death. Spooky, right? Just wait until you see the various masks and costumes Boonch adorns in the accompanying video.

We sat down with the newly minted unfunny songwriter to find out more about his life as a content creator and whether or not he actually believes in magic.

How would you describe the music you’re now making to the average person?

It’s like singer-songwriter indie but they’re trapped inside of a Casiotone speaker

What is “The Day Houdini Dies” about? 

For me, Houdini represents the ability to avoid an important confrontation. It’s like when you know that being honest and communicating is the right thing to do, but it always feels easier to become an escape artist and put off vulnerability. In the story of the song, I’m asking myself if I’ll indulge in that unhealthy defence mechanism, and ultimately, the answer is yes. You know the game of chicken you’ll play with someone for years, and if neither of you matures? You’ll both just be waiting for the day Houdini dies. Like that.

Do you believe in magic? 

I actually don’t. Anyone you ask would tell you I am the least superstitious or magical person. Like if I went to see a magic show, I would just be thinking about how skillful and time consuming the performance is. I do like that all that effort and training is just to convince the audience that they didn’t train and put in effort. Like if I was doing magic I would want to show everyone how it’s done so I got the credit for the work and not that it was just magic hahah. Probably not as fun.

Was there a specific reason you chose to release it on Halloween?

Halloween is the day Harry Houdini actually died. Something about the timing of that is really interesting to me. For the music video, I was going to be filming a lot in public and it was actually way easier to be disguised in halloween costumes then to just be a 25 year old embarrassing myself on a highway etc. That insecurity is pretty thematic to the song as well.

Why did you decide to make the switch from TikTok comedian to serious songwriter? 

I don’t see it as switching, I just wanted to introduce something more personal to my audience. I still really enjoy making funny stuff. I always want to have a spectrum of serious and completely unserious content.

How do your two different approaches to songwriting inform who you are?

I’d say that what’s similar about my funny and my unfunny songs is that the first line is almost alway the thesis for the song. I’m not saying my songs are “essays” because I don’t consider myself smart like that, but there is a motivation in every line that serves the overarching message of the song — Thank my one year of film school for that.

What is your favourite part about living in Vancouver? 

I just like how it smells, and I like that my family and friends are here.