Joseph Allen Maldonado-Passage (née Schreibvogel) or Joe Exotic has led quite an unconventional life. While it got quite dark before his eventual incarceration, it never lacked a sense of sensationalism. Both ‘Tiger King’ and ‘Joe vs. Carole’ seem to underscore the fact that he surrounded himself with a menagerie of fascinating people who were no less interesting than the zoo he ran. He met a 12-year-old J.P. Wilson in 2004 and learned magic from the youth. Here is everything you need to know about Wilson. SPOILERS AHEAD.
Who Is J.P. Wilson?
J.P. Wilson is a magician currently based in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. In 2004, he became acquainted with Joe during a magic show in Norman, Oklahoma. At the time, Joe was delivering a tiger for Wilson’s act. Impressed by Wilson’s performance, Joe asked him to join his tour. Initially, they performed in theater shows along with a singer. Wilson revealed in an interview that Joe served as a part director and provided the animals.
These shows would be moderately long, lasting about three hours. Later, Joe started singing and performing magic after Wilson taught him a few tricks. Joe’s employees apparently helped him build a number of his magic props. Wilson continues to perform even today and is very active on social media. He regularly shares photos with stalwarts of the industry.
Did J.P. Wilson Coin Joe Exotic?
No, J.P. Wilson didn’t coin “Joe Exotic.” Two years before he met Wilson, Joe was collaborating with another magician called Johnny Magic. But Magic didn’t come up with the pseudonym Joe Exotic either. For a brief period, Joe and Magic performed together. While Joe’s job was to bring the animals to the stage, Magic did what his own pseudonym implied he did: magic. They came up with several tricks. In one of them, a baby tiger turned into an adult one.
After Joe and Johnny parted ways, the former took several of the tricks and turned the cub-petting into a full-fledged magic show. The Mystical Magic of the Endangered garnered Joe some popularity. Initially, he used to go around in a 1969 Frito-Lay truck. However, as his act began to get recognition, it automatically expanded, and Joe realized that the Frito-Lay truck was too small. He first switched to a Winnebago and eventually to an actual tour bus. During this period, Joe felt that he needed a new name, as Schreibvogel had always been a mouthful. So, he became Joe Exotic.