Juggling or to juggle – To manipulate objects, such as balls, clubs, beanbags, rings, etc. in an artful or artistic manner. (wiktionary).  It is also one of my favorite things to watch at the Ren Faire.

Juggling has been around at least since the 15th century when you can find it depicted in the tomb of an unknown prince.  Juggling can involve virtually anything that you can lift and throw.  From balls to clubs to torches to chainsaws, everything is fair game when it comes to juggling.  Juggling is long associated with fairs and circuses and even court jesters and fools probably had the ability to juggle.

I would say that juggling is one of the easiest of the comedic arts to learn, but, on the same coin, the hardest to master.  You have to be good to juggle.  You cannot be a ‘pretty good’ juggler.  If you are just pretty good you will be booed off the stage.  You had better be amazing to try it in your act.  And who doesn’t love to watch a juggling act, especially by someone that is very good at juggling.

Watching someone pick up four or more balls and keep them in the air while they are telling a joke or working the crowd is great.  Watching the same person switch and pick up three flaming torches and keep them all in the air while they are finishing the story or telling another joke… this is something that is going to keep me glued to my seat.  Here are some of my favorites to watch at a Ren Faire.

London Broil – These guys are funny!  They have great comedic timing and they can read their audience.  They keep the show tailored to their crowd and they keep that crowd riveted.  Keep all of that out of the equation and you still have an amazing juggling troupe.  My favorite piece of business is an oldie but  a goody.  Two guys juggling while one trys to mess them up and keeps adding and subtracting clubs… I am sold.

Barely Balanced – Juggling on stilts!  Juggling while standing on one of the other cast members!  Throwing razor sharp knives around an audience member!  I got nothing else to say about it.

Paulo Garbanzo – I have mentioned this before, but for me it is the end-all-be-all.  He juggles a knife, a torch and an onion.  He eats the onion while juggling.  And did I mention that he is standing on top of a ball while he is doing this.  Unbe-frickin’-lievable!

I LOVE juggling.  I only wish I was better at it.