Juggling and Jazz

The Juggler sees patterns like Miles Davis saw melodies. Both are merely the bones that outline expectation. People watch a pattern and see where it’s going. People hear a melody and assume it will repeat itself. And in those expectations, boredom emerges. Which is why The Juggler, as did Miles, understands that to keep the audience engaged, to keep the …

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Be Funnier with Scotty Meltzer: How to Steal a Joke

In last month’s column, Thou Shalt Not Steal, I wrote about an ethical way to steal jokes I called “switching to the bone.” The steps were: Step 1) Write down the joke you want to steal. Step 2) Write down the essence of what makes that joke funny. This could be the structure, the conflict, the type of ambiguity, the …

The Juggler Denies

Schadenfreude is not just the overwhelming desire for someone to make out with misfortune; it’s also what every member of the audience wishes would befall The Juggler. They want him to drop the ball, the ring, the club, the torch. They want his routine interrupted by the gods, by the weather, by a random muscle spasm or non-lethal aneurysm. They …

We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Medals

Millions watch the Olympics, their eyes Krazy-glued to the television screen. They stare at the athletes’ bodies, sculpted from rock and honed by years of training. They cheer them on, choosing strangers to overcome other strangers based on their nationalities, their youthful looks. They adorn the winners with shiny, rust-proof baubles that will one day fetch a fair price on …

Notes and queries and a case full of clubs: Concepts

As has hopefully become clear over the course of my writings here, it is vitally important to me to tie conceptual ideas (theory) to actual physical work (practice). This link from theory to practice is easy to demonstrate in a workshop or classroom situation, but somewhat harder to visualise when writing about the process. I have already discussed factors of …

Rubber, Glue and Whatnot

On a grade-school playground, next to the metal-scaled tornado slide, a little girl with pigtails swaying in the limp breeze says to a bully boy two years older and six inches taller, “You’re mean! You’re a meaning mean face, and I hate you!” The bully, used to such piercing taunts, smiles and replies, “I’m rubber and you’re glue, whatever you …

Juggling is Boring [ Tales of The Juggler ]

The Juggler was not born The Juggler. He was born uncoordinated, a slobbering ball of skin and muscle and bones. Then he grew, mostly up, and one day opened his eyes to find things that amazed him. Over the years he found many such wonders: fireworks, redwoods, home runs, the smile of a pretty girl, the cloudless night sky. But …

Be Funnier with Scotty Meltzer: Thou Shalt Not Steal

As I wrote in my first column, Comedy Darwinism, whenever I’ve asked any group of comedy jugglers or comedy magicians where their jokes come from, most answer: “It was something that happened while I was onstage.” Almost no one says: “I stole it from someone else’s show.” And yet, if you watch most shows, and I’m definitely including my own …

Notes and queries and a case full of clubs: Subjugation

As jugglers it seems to make clear and perfect sense to define ourselves based on our props: on tricks, on whirling orbits and topological paths, and perhaps also through our connection to the juggling community and the wider, but related, communities of other circus arts. Sometimes, and if moving away from the basic facts of juggling to those of performance …