The Advanced Form

The Advanced Form: The Deangelo 

Today I’ll be talking about the only advanced form. A form I like to call the “Deangelo” after its fictional creator. I’ve never seen a comedy juggler do this but I’ve seen a couple of stand-up comics and Will Ferrel do it so I know it’s possible. 

Form 5: The Deangelo 

A comedy juggler performs a comedy juggling routine without juggling. 

This is definitely the most difficult of the forms (which is why no one does it). A lot of juggler have a joke or two about juggling tricks that are not in there show (chainsaws, kittens, or the “those are so dangerous…that I wont juggle them” line) but the idea here is to do an entire routine. Part of the problem is that juggling alone struggles to be interesting enough to be entertaining let alone just talking about juggling. This form is often accomplished by the miming of juggling. Though what makes it truly great is the inclusion of jokes that support the physical actions. 

This form comes with many benifits for the comedy juggler: it’s ultra portable, it doesn’t require a wireless headset or high ceilings, and during a full length comedy juggling show it can provide a much appreciated change of pace. It’s also a great way to let the audience know that you don’t take yourself too seriously and have an understanding about how you appear to them. 

The crux of the form is satire. You must have a great understanding of how you and juggling are perceived by your audience and then you have to burlesque yourself and juggling in a way that is satifsying and identifiable for the audience. A lot of comedy jugglers will make jokes based on their knowledge of juggling and the tropes in the profession that we are all familiar with but the audience doens’t always have those connections. I once spent way too long developing a “drinking the apple” while juggling routine but audiences weren’t familiar enough with the original for it to resonate. 

Because we are so close it’s hard to have the distance required to write good satire. For inspiration (and a dose of reality) have a close friend who knows you and has been around juggling for awhile to imitate you or a juggler they know. The Deangelo Form is satire and the best satire comes from people who are intimately acquainted with a subject but apart from it. 

See Deangelo in action here
The Take Away

Form 5 is doing a juggling routine without any juggling. 

It is the rarest form and is the least explored of the comedy juggling forms.

It is most successful when done as satire 

3 thoughts on “The Advanced Form

Add yours

  1. I had a couple routines 20-something years ago that might qualify.

    My invisible juggling balls routine was kind of similar to Deangelo’s but led into the start of my 3 ball routine. I would start my show with three invisible balls and do some obvious tricks like under the leg and behind the back. I might even have some “accidental” drops and have an audience member toss the invisible ball back to me. I had a table nearby with some balls on it and I’d say, “ok, now I’m going to add a regular ball so I’ll have 3 invisible balls and one visible ball.” I would do some tricks with those 4 objects and and then carefully add in another regular ball into the pattern and then finally one more (so 6 total: 3 invisible and 3 regular). I would then set aside the three invisible balls and proceed with my 3 ball routine.

    I also did shows for many years in a restaurant and sometimes would joke about doing a routine with grains of rice – similar idea. I actually got pretty good with numbers juggling the rice!

    There is also the classic “fastest trick in the world” – juggle 3 ball cascade, explain that you’re about to do something hard (and even change your body position to prepare for the challenge) and then without stand up normal and say, “want to see it again?” Not a routine, but a nice Deangelo type gag.

    And how about jugglers who perform on the radio? Is that more or less impressive than a ventriloquist on the radio?


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