Chilliwack’s Matt Johnson was strapped into a straight jacket and hung by his ankles upside down, and had less than two minutes to free himself before two spinning saw blades fell. (America’s Got Talent video)

Chilliwack’s Matt Johnson was strapped into a straight jacket and hung by his ankles upside down, and had less than two minutes to free himself before two spinning saw blades fell. (America’s Got Talent video)

VIDEO: Chilliwack escape artist Matt Johnson dazzles judges on America’s Got Talent

Johnson brought a packed auditorium to its feet with a death-defying stunt

A Chilliwack man turned in one of the most spectacular nail-biting moments in the history of America’s Got Talent.

Matt Johnson appeared on the hit television show Tuesday night (June 8), walking out onto the stage to be judged by Howie Mandel, Sofia Vergara, Simon Cowell, Heidi Klum and a few million viewers.

The 47-year-old is world-renowned illusionist/escapeologist who has previously appeared on Britain’s Got Talent, Penn and Teller’s ‘Fool Us’ and The Late Late Show.

Before launching into his audition, Johnson was asked by Mandel if he was married, and what his wife thought of his dangerous occupation.

RELATED: Chilliwack escapologist stuns judges on Britain’s Got Talent

“My wife actually asked me to stop doing it because of something that happened just a year ago, and I’ve not done it since,” he explained. “I was working on a dangerous escape and I actually hung myself and drowned at the same time, and I ended up in the ER.”

But Johnson told the judges he couldn’t handle being away from his passion, and he was there to “face his fears and prove that he could do it again.”

Whether out of honesty or showmanship, Johnson added that he’d tried the trick he was about to perform only once, in rehearsal the day before.

“I didn’t pay attention at school, so this is what I do for a living,” he laughed as the audience and judges gasped.

Over the next 112 seconds Johnson was strapped into a straight-jacket and hung by his ankles upside down, attached to a device with two massive circular saw blades spinning at 2000 revolutions per minute.

“I have to get myself out, the right way up and get my ankles free to escape before the saw falls,” he said to a silent theatre. “If not, I’m going to literally be cut in two.”

RELATED: Chilliwack escapologist has audience of millions in reality talent competition show

With Vergara and host Terry Crews shouting ‘Hurry up!’ and Cowell rendered speechless, Johnson succeeded in wrestling his way out of the straight jacket and righting himself a split second before the saws fell. The crowd erupted with a standing ovation and judges were on their feet.

“Anyone who puts himself in this position, the trouble is things go wrong, and that could have been catastrophic,” Cowell said after catching his breath. “But you are brilliant. Brilliant. Respect.”

Johnson got four yes votes from the judges and moves on to the next round of America’s Got Talent. Over 110 thousand people have already checked out his audition on YouTube.


@ProgressSports
eric.welsh@theprogress.com

Like us on

chilliwackEntertainment

Just Posted

A section of the rail corridor on Vancouver Island. (Black Press file photo)
LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Put rail trail right overtop of the tracks

Removing tracks would be a horrendous expense, says letter writer

District of Lantzville Mayor Mark Swain, left, and Snaw-Naw-As Chief Gordon Edwards sign a memorandum of understanding outside Snaw-Naw-As Market on Friday, June 18. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)
Lantzville and Snaw-Naw-As sign memorandum of understanding

District and First Nation create joint working group

Things are looking up for Vancouver Island as zero COVID-19 cases have been reported for the first time since October. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Island records zero new COVID-19 cases for the first time since October

For the first time since October, the province is reporting zero new… Continue reading

Black Press file photo
RCMP seek suspect in Vancouver Island-wide crime spree

Crimes stretched from Deep Bay to Qualicum, Ladysmith, Chemainus and Youbou

Tilray announces new line of products offering more inexpensive choices for medical cannabis users. (News Bulletin file photo)
Nanaimo-based Tilray launches new medical cannabis product line

Symbios brand products offered at ‘better price point’ for medical cannabis products

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Janice Coady, left, Aimee Chalifoux and Linda Milford at a vigil for Amy Watts on Wednesday, June 16, outside Nanaimo city hall. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)
‘We need to do better,’ says mother of woman killed in Nanaimo

Vigil held for former outreach worker Amy Watts, whose body was found downtown June 3

Central Okanagan Grade 12 grads are set to get $500 each after a more than $1 million donation from a Kelowna couple. (File photo)
B.C. couple donating $500 to every Grade 12 student in the Okanagan

Anonymous donors identified as Kelowna entrepreneurs Lance and Tammy Torgerson

Rita Coolidge played the main stage at Vancouver Island Musicfest in 2017. (Black Press file photo)
This year’s Vancouver Island MusicFest to virtually showcase beauty of Comox Valley

Returning July 9 through 11 with more than 25 hours of music performances

British Columbia’s premier says he’s received a second dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. (Twitter/John Horgan)
B.C. premier gets 2nd dose of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine

John Horgan shared a photo of himself on social media Friday afternoon holding a completed vaccination card

A lotto Max ticket is shown in Toronto on Monday Feb. 26, 2018.THE CANADIAN PRESS
No winning ticket sold for Friday’s $70 million Lotto Max jackpot

The huge jackpot has remained unclaimed for several weeks now

The B.C. Ministry of Education has announced close to $44 million for the province’s schools for COVID-19 recovery. (News Bulletin file)
Nanaimo-Ladysmith school stakeholders say COVID-19 recovery funding can make a difference

B.C. Ministry of Education announces it expects a ‘near-normal’ return to class in September

Regional District of Nanaimo is looking to repair sewage pipe in the Hammond Bay Road area, which was corroded by gas. (Black Press file)
Corroded sewer pipe along Nanaimo’s Hammond Bay Road will cost $5.5 million to fix

Pipe replacement and reinforcement part of $6.9-million infrastructure project

Most Read