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

Alexis Paige Simpson has not been in contact with her family in two months. (RCMP photo)
Chilliwack RCMP looking for missing 20-year-old woman

Police say Alexis Paige Simpson has not been in contact with her family in two months

(Maps.Chilliwack.com)
RCMP seek dash-cam footage after Chilliwack road rage incident

Male driving a black pickup stopped and allegedly threatened to punch another driver

Deepak Sharma of Abbotsford has been convicted of the sexual assault of one of his cab passengers in West Vancouver in January 2019.
Former Abbotsford Hindu temple president convicted of sexual assault

Deepak Sharma assaulted a female passenger when he was a cab driver

A blood drive in support of 1-year-old Rielynn Gormley of Agassiz is scheduled for Monday, June 28 at Tzeachten First Nation Community Hall in Chilliwack. Rielynn lives with type 3 von Willebrand disease, which makes it difficult for her to stop bleeding. (Screenshot/Canadian Blood Services)
Upcoming blood drive in honour of Agassiz toddler with rare blood condition

The Gormley family has organized a blood drive in Chilliwack on June 28

Woody’s RV World hosts a grand opening for its brand-new Abbotsford location on Saturday. (YouTube)
Woody’s RV World hosts Abbotsford grand opening on Saturday

First-ever B.C. location for successful RV chain, located on Marshall Road

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross. (Photo by Peter Versteege)
BC Liberal leadership candidate condemns ‘senseless violence’ of Okanagan church fires

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross says reconciliation isn’t about revenge for past tragedies

A coroner’s inquest will be taking place at the Capitol Theatre in Port Alberni for the next week. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Teen B.C. mom who died following police custody recalled as ‘friend to many’

Police sent Jocelyn George to hospital after intoxication had gone ‘beyond the realm’ of normal detox

FILE - In this Nov. 29, 2020, file photo, Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib leaves the field after an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta. Nassib on Monday, June 21, 2021, became the first active NFL player to come out as gay. Nassib announced the news on Instagram, saying he was not doing it for the attention but because “I just think that representation and visibility are so important.” (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)
Nassib becomes first active NFL player to come out as gay

More than a dozen NFL players have come out as gay after their careers were over

Penticton Indian Band Chief Greg Gabriel speaks to the Sacred Hearts Catholic Church burning down early Monday morning, June 21, 2021. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Penticton band chief condemns suspicious burning of 2 Catholic churches

Both Catholic church fires are deemed suspicious, says RCMP

COVID-19 daily cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day moving average to June 17, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections drop to 90 on Sunday, 45 Monday

Pandemic spread dwindles as 77% of adults receive vaccine

By protesting uninvited in First Nations’ territories, conservationists are acting in a neocolonial or paternalistic manner, says Huu-ay-aht Chief Robert Dennis. Photo by Heather Thomson
A closer look: do Vancouver Island First Nations support the war in the woods?

First Nations/environmentalist old growth alliance uneasy, if it exists at all

One Reconciliation Pole and two Welcome Figures were unveiled during a ceremony in honour of truth and reconciliation on National Peoples Indigenous Day at the Vancouver School District in Vancouver, B.C., on Friday, June 21, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Horgan marks Indigenous Peoples Day by urging recognition of systemic racism

National Indigenous Peoples Day has been marked in Canada since 1996

A man makes his way past signage to a mass COVID-19 vaccination centre at the University of Toronto’s Mississauga campus during the COVID-19 pandemic in Mississauga, Ont., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Canadians encouraged to see mRNA shots as interchangeable as more 2nd doses open up

Doctors urge people not to hesitate if offered Moderna after getting Pfizer for their first shot

Most Read