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

JAK's Liquor Store in Penticton will be donating 10 per cent of its sales on Saturday, June 19, to the Penticton Salvation Army Food Bank. (Photo from JAKS.com)
Stock up your liquor cabinet and support the Penticton food bank

Jak’s beer and wine store is donating a portion of sales to local food banks Saturday

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Over 5K jabbed at Interior Health mobile COVID-19 vaccine clinics

The clinics have made stops in more than 40 communities since launching last week

The illegal open fire above Naramata continues to smoke on Friday, June 18. The fire was left to burn itself out by BC Wildfire. (Monique Tamminga - Western News)
Illegal open burn in Naramata will be left to smoke

BC Wildfire could not confirm whether the property owner had been fined

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Interior Health COVID-19 cases falling slower than the rest of B.C.

More than a third of provincial cases announced Thursday came from the Interior

Keremeos’ heritage Grist Mill and Gardens. (Brennan Phillips - Keremeos Review)
Keremeos Grist Mill looking forward to restrictions easing with exclusive concert planned

Juno Award-winning folk artist Valdy is set to take the stage

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

Earls On Top at 211 Bernard Avenue in Kelowna. (Google Maps photo)
Downtown Kelowna’s Earls ordered closed after COVID-19 transmission

Earls on Top on Bernard Avenue will be closed from June 18 to June 27

A motorycle crash has been reported on Westside Road. (Google Maps)
UPDATE: Westside Road reopened following motorcycle crash near Vernon

AIM Roads advises drivers to expect delays due to congestion

(File photo)
Penticton not holding Canada Day activities out of respect for Indigenous people

Cities across B.C. are cancelling the holiday after an increased spotlight on Canada’s dark history

Dereck Donald Sears. (Contributed/Crimestoppers)
Murder charge laid in relation to suspicious Kelowna death

Dereck Donald Sears is charged with second-degree murder in the death of Darren Middleton

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 charged, suspect at large in killings of B.C. brothers linked to gang activity: RCMP

Kamloops brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May on a remote Okanagan road

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

Most Read