There are many tropes in writing that are over done and lazy. Like using a flashback or dream sequence to explain away a plot hole. Or Walt’s choice to have every character be an orphan. Comedy juggling is no different. Perhaps the most common bit of lazy writing I see is:
“The <insert whatever prop you don’t have some jokes for> of death*!”
* doom, terror, destruction…whatever.
The basic juxtaposition of the non dangerous prop and the outlandishly dangerous name for the prop is an excellent comedy starting point but there needs to be a second step. Another corner turned. There are so many more things that can make juggling relatable but the only color comedy jugglers tend to paint with is “danger red”. The audience doesn’t believe your juggling prop is actually a harbinger of the apocalypse so you might was well tell them that it’s the “Plunger of Underage Drinking” or the “Garden Weasel of Manic Depression”.
So let’s stop mounting the 6ft. Unicycle of Death. Let’s stop juggling an ax, a cleaver, and a rubber chicken of terror. And while we’re at it, let’s stop getting the audience to “Ooooh” and “Ahhhhh” for our dangerous props too. As a community we’ve explored the danger idea pretty thoroughly. Both the idea of things being dangerous and therefore worth watching and the idea of danger as comedy. Look for other emotions to work with and other things people fear beside death and use those in your jokes or your juggling routines. I think it’s time we started juggling with all the colors of the wind…
Have you ever heard the wolf cry to the blue corn pins
Or asked the grinning ring why he grinned
Can you joke with all the voices of the mountains
Can you juggle with all the colors of the wind