Introducing…the Dropp Kit
Is this going to be a post about creating a metaphorical “kit” of jokes and ideas to help with the inevitable drop? Nope. This post is about creating a literal kit of props and supplies to help with the inevitable loss of your props. The comedy juggler’s version of the Dopp kit. Wait, the what?
The History of the Dopp Kit
Charles Doppelt, a German leather-goods maker from Chicago, invented the Dopp kit in the early 1900’s. The small pouches became known as Dopps, in a nod to it’s creator. Doppelt scored a contract with the US Army during WWII to provide the toiletry pouches to millions of American GIs. The bags became a hit and the Dopp kit became a staple in homes all around the world. The small pouch is used to hold your essential toiletries and other travel necessities.
What’s a Dropp Kit?
Basically, it’s the same thing. It’s a small bag or pouch that you fill with the essential things to perform a comedy juggling show.
All comedy jugglers who travel for gigs should be prepared to lose their show. It’s going to happen. Maybe your car is broken into in the parking lot of a Safeway on your way to the show and they steal that funny bicycle and what they assume is a steamer trunk full of valuables. Or more likely the airline loses/confiscates your luggage.
Sometimes it is because you are named after a children’s toy and you are trying to transport a canon that fires rubber chickens. Sometimes it is because your trunk is heavy and it was the first thing they left to make weight. Or maybe you spent years designing and crafting a full length show that can fit into a carry-on piece of luggage…and then the airplane is so small that they MAKE you check it…and then they lose it for three weeks while you travel from country to country and from gig to gig without your show. That last one is purely hypothetical…
Ideally, if this ever happens to you, you are prepared to do an “Oh Shit” Show . Basically the idea is to be able to locally source a full-length show from a super-market. It is a LOT of work to be able to pull that off well, so I suggest you put together a Dropp Kit.
The premise is simple: pack as much of a show as you can into a small Dopp style bag. Keep that bag in your backpack or carry-on. Make sure that no matter what happens en route that you keep that bag with you. A Dropp Kit should be able to fit comfortably in your backpack or under the seat in front of you without any problems.
It doesn’t have to be your normal everyday show. A lot of comedy jugglers would struggle to fit one of their routines into a small bag. So…
If none of your normal show fits in a small pouch (looking at you unicycles, clubs, and anything Dan Holzman has ever invented) then fill the Dropp Kit with some stuff you have the ability to perform with but don’t. Scarves are a wonderful and compact item. You can braid them to save even more space. Beanbags or balls should be another Dropp Kit staple. Of course, ping pong balls are the perfect thing. They are super small, cheap, and not at all difficult to perform. Even if you’ve never mouth juggled a ping pong ball before you could pick it up in an afternoon.
If you have music be sure to include a flash drive with your music on it. You might as well upload your promo pictures, promo video, cue sheets, and tech rider as well.
Basically pack what your absolutely NEED to do a show. If you wear contacts, makes sure you have a pair, a case, and contact solution. If you NEED a special kind of make-up pack that too. Spats? Those you can probably leave at home.
There is nothing worse that getting to a gig and telling the people that hired you, “I’m sorry, I can’t perform. My show is….”. You feel crappy, they are in tough situation, and even though it’s not your fault you look unprofessional.
You may be thinking that juggling ping pong balls with your mouth is a hack move. Or that you hate juggling scarves. I totally understand. The idea here is have an emergency kit of things you can do and that pack small. Just keep in mind that the Dropp Kit is to provide you with a show when otherwise you’d have none. That way you never have to say “No”. You always get to say “Yes” and you always get to be professional.
Also, with some work, you could an build an entire show around the contents of your Dropp Kit. That’s awesome. Why not put in some work, plan a little, and have a show that fits in a fanny pack?
A few words of caution: make sure you’ve performed every routine that your Dropp Kit provides. It’s no good to have gone through all of the effort of assembling one only to have your show LOOK like it’s your Plan B. It is also important to make sure that all of your props are well taken care of. If you are in Plan B you at least want it to look like it’s your Plan A.
The beauty of the Dropp Kit is that it’s an idea and not a product. You can build it however you want in whatever way you want. You can go the route I did and put together an old fashioned Dopp Kit with the toiletries replaced with juggly stuff or you can just throw some stuff in the bottom of your backpack and call it a day.
Build the kit for yourself and send me a picture of the contents at email@example.com
I will compile all of the submitted pictures and turn it into a visual catalogue of Dropp Kits. Have fun!
- Three juggling balls
- A watch (see Follow The Light )
- A pen
- A small notebook (I have taken notes after every show for 8 years, I feel really strange if I don’t)
- A voice recorder (I record every show. See above.)
- A dart
- Two ping pong balls
- And a spoon
You are going to lose your show, be prepared.
One of the easiest ways to prepare is to build a Dropp Kit.
Dropp Kits are small bags full of stuff do a comedy juggling show. It doesn’t have to be the stuff you normally perform just stuff you CAN perform.
When traveling for work you should always have this kit in your backpack or carry-on.
The Dropp Kit doesn’t HAVE to be an actual bag. It’s just the stuff you make sure you bring with you in order to perform.
Send a picture of your Dropp Kit to firstname.lastname@example.org to have it added to the upcoming visual catalog of Dropp Kits