I’ve mentioned that mouth juggling ping pong balls is a simple skill that is an easy and essential addition to the the comedy juggler’s proverbial bag of tricks. Ping pong balls are ubiquitous and easy to replace. Juggling ping pong balls with your mouth is also funny and gross. While it’s possible to mouth juggle one ball or even seven, this will focus on the more classic two ball juggle.
Juggling two ping pong balls with your mouth is similar to juggling two balls in one hand (in collumns). You start with two in one hand (mouth) and throw (spit) one. When that ball reaches it’s apex, you throw (spit) the second one. Rinse. Repeat. A common problem is the ping pong ball hitting your teeth. To combat this you can make you mouth into an “O” shape and slightly inhale on the catch or your can stick out your tongue and use it to help guide the pong into your mouth. Like kissing, a little tongue goes a long way. Don’t believe me, ask Katrine.
You can start three ways:
- Both ping pong balls in your mouth, one behind your teeth and the other behind it.
- Both ping pong balls in your mouth, one in your cheek and the other behind your teeth.
- One ping pong ball in your mouth behind your teeth, and the other in your hand
In all three methods you spit the ball behind your teeth first and then either move the next ball into place for the second spit or put the second ball in your mouth from your hand.
It’s important that your head is arched back far enough that you are spitting straight up and that your knees are slightly bent. It’s easier to move your head that it is to aim the balls. So, spit one ball straight up, move your head several inches over and spit the second ball. The trick is all about rhythm. Whenever I have trouble with balls colliding I try to remember to keep a steady rhythm and the only real difficulty in the trick is maintaining the timing by spitting at consistent heights. Two feet is a good height to aim for.
The whole thing can be quite taxing so make sure to stretch your neck and back well before practicing or performing this skill. You’ll also find that your cheeks will begin to hurt after a long practice session. To learn how to cope with this, observe some squirrels.
Some other random things you should know:
- 10 “spits” is generally enough for the average audience.
- It’s a real crowd pleaser being both gross and impressive.
- It’s been a part of the classical juggling canon for a long time. Many jokes will seem like they are “public domain”. They are not.
- Use nice (read: expensive) ping pong balls. The cheap ones are inconsistent, they taste bad, & sometimes the seams cut your mouth.
- “Accidently” spitting the ball into the audience is funny every time. That’s why everyone does it.
- It’s easier if the ping pong balls are wet. Ewww.
- Clean them regularly or even better: replace them every few shows.
- Ping pong balls are full of flammable gas.
- Use mouthwash while practicing and after performances to ward off infections and sores.
- You may be tempted to have an audience member spit a ping pong ball to you. You also may be tempted to catch that ball in your mouth. If you do, you’ll be rewarded with applause and herpes.
- Watch this.