He was two names in one.
Not Rick, Richard, or Ricardo. Neither Ricky nor Jay, but Ricky Jay.
He was fluent in Mamet speak: ready to do the thing, because he said he would do the thing; the thing he talked about, which was his thing; that this thing—everything was secondary to the thing—was why he did things, because he was a man; and men have been doing things since the thing began.
He was also Jamesian in his speech, a man for whom words like thaumaturgist, prestidigitation legerdemain, and encomia were part of his argot. It was the patois of his performance in which he was a monologist with a repertoire of stories: a raconteur who spun yarns about masters from Mitteleuropa, possessors of the bestiarum vocabulum, oversized illustrations of griffins, basilisks, dragons, and unicorns.
He was a carnival barker, too, luring parents and children alike with tales of wonder. He was a vintner of dandelion wine—with a spritz of seltzer—who smoked maduro cigars shaped like the barrel of a .50 caliber handgun, who produced three-inch columns of ash, who lit Churchills in Macedonia, and exhaled clouds of smoke—spiced with cumin and sweetened with caramel—in Montenegro.
He also did card tricks.