Welcome to Q’s & A’s & Q’s!
Today I am asking Jason Bishop (not a comedy juggler) to answer 5 questions (about comedy juggling). Jason Bishop is a master magician and illusionist who travels the world performing with Dog #97 and his indentured servant Kim. Jason is an incredibly funny and hard working performer who puts as much effort into his craft as anyone I’ve ever met. He is a headliner on cruise ships, is one of the most sought after acts in the collage market (you should see his mad decoupage skillz), and he just rocked a sold-out run at the New Victory Theater in New York. Here is clip of his work
Jason has been working in the variety arts field for many years and has seen countless comedy jugglers in many different venues. I think it’s important to widen the conversation about comedy juggling to include the opinions of non comedy jugglers. Too often, in every field, people become too ethnocentric and they forget to seek the opinions of others. Jason was gracious enough to do this Q’s & A’s & Q’s with me.
The Q’s & A’s
1. What are you sick of seeing comedy jugglers do?
I’m not sick of any particular bit, its more so overusing bits. If you really want to end your show having a difficult time getting on a unicycle thats your choice. But when the rest of the show is filled with other stock bits and hack jokes its too much for me. Performing can be hard. So I understand where many comedy jugglers might want to take an easier route. But it’s less rewarding for them and less interesting for the audience when they use hack jokes and trite bits. I would like to see more originality at least in scripting and plot than I currently do.
2. You are about to see a comedy juggler you’ve never seen before. What joke do you bet $100 would be in the show?
Something about there being 2 more balls in the air than expected…. because you forgot to count the testicles!!!
3. Why do you think that juggling isn’t as popular as magic?
I think so much of entertainment relies on attitude, style and story. And juggling hasn’t lent itself much to any of those things. Your average juggler is at least as talented or more so in technical skills than your average magician. But jugglers fall into two categories usually, comedy or silent skilled. Neither can really capture an audiences attention on a deeper level. Even your greatest comics, Carlin, Pryor etc, they weren’t just funny. They were telling us about themselves or society and in turn about ourselves. I’ve seen very, very few jugglers even try to tread in that area. I’m a big fan of how skillful jugglers are, I’d love to see some of them transcend juggling that way.
4. If you could give one piece of advice to comedy jugglers, what would it be?
Either hone your skills and then apply them to new creative props or tricks or bring back amazing but long forgotten tricks and props. The road less traveled has fewer people on it. And in entertainment thats usually something that pays off for you if you’re doing it right.
5. What do you want your tombstone to say?
I’d rather be in Philadelphia ; ) Nah. “He tried to be present, he amazed and inspired” I’d love that. And probably my birth and death dates.
After I asked Jason my 5 questions, I asked him to come up with 5 questions he’d like comedy jugglers to answer:
1. Why do so few jugglers allow us to get to know them during a show?
2. Why are jugglers so reliant on conventional store bought juggling props? (balls aside)
3. When do you know a juggling trick is ready to be tried onstage?
4. What are the ultimate career goals among jugglers?
5. Why do you feel “magic is more popular than juggling”?