Trust me, folks - this post definitely involves juggling. But remember, juggling isn't everything.
Some of you may not know this (because I tend not to be too "billboard" about my life) but I moved to a strange little hamlet six months ago called New York City. After finishing up the Shoebox Tour with Tempei, I was unemployed with no leads. I figured it was the BEST time (now or never) to move to one of the greatest and most challenging cities in the nation.
What exactly do I do in the city? Well, I guess you could say I am a bit of a hustler. Armed with a B.F.A. in Acting, I wait for my big Broadway break while doing odd jobs and gigs in the meantime to acquire green paper which everyone agrees has worth. I tutor children after school in Math and English on some days. On other days, I cater children's birthday parties. In between these two real jobs, I scour job listings for juggling and non-juggling gigs that I find unique, profitable, or in best case scenarios, unique and profitable.
If there's anything I hate, it's the guys in Times Square who constantly ask you if you "like comedy", which actually means, "Can you validate my existence by buying cheap tickets to a bad comedy show tonight that I wish I were in?" I always POLITELY decline, because I know REJECTION is a daily part of their lives. Not only are they being rejected in their ACTUAL career (acting, comedy, modeling) but they're being rejected by 90% of passersby.
So you may find it strange that I applied to a promotions gig on Craigslist. Bothering strangers on the street is not my idea of fun. However, this posting was unique - it was looking for nerdy white guys to hand out free pens to promote a new Comedy Central show - "Important Things with Demetri Martin". The nerdy white guy thing explains itself - CHECK! And the pen thing? I figured, if I don't need to SELL anything, it'll be easy and I'll have an eased conscience. "Here, take this free pen! Watch Demetri Martin tonight at 10:30" for three hours, and take home $75. Done and done. Better than a day at the office.
Anyway, since I was going to be promoting Demetri's show, I decided (the night before) to watch a few Demetri videos on YouTube to get a sense of who he was and his style of comedy. I don't watch cable, so I didn't know he was on the Daily Show and I had never seen his Comedy Central Presents.
Here's where the juggling comes in!
I was lucky enough to stumble upon a BBC video special entitled "If I". I was expecting stand-up. I got a lot more, and I'm glad I watched the entire thing for two reasons. First, I came to really appreciate Demetri Martin. Second, I found out that Demetri is a juggler (albeit possibly not a very experienced one) as well as a unicyclist. He was a member of the Yale Anti-Gravity Society! (If there are any Yale jugglers reading this, care to comment about how active Demetri was in the club?)
For those of you just looking for a quick two minute laugh, click on the following link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=98RECgRc5HA and scan to 5:10. In this section, Demetri does a clever "Useless Talents" routine in which he demonstrates many of the useless talents he picked up during school boredom.
For those of you looking for a more mentally stimulating experience, grab a beverage of choice and some popcorn and take a stroll through the entire piece of "If I", starting with #1 of 6: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mKnzPHtf9u4 . The entire piece is about 48 minutes long.
It's certainly funny but also very rewarding intellectually, falling somewhere in between stand-up, lecture, and self-empowerment. Jugglers, as a whole, are very intelligent people. We like puzzles. We like challenges. We like hurdles - otherwise why the hell would we do what we do? Demetri's show is an example of a man who quite willingly fell just a little too far down the rabbit hole - HE became his own "puzzle", resulting in what he calls a simultaneous "breakthrough/breakdown."
I think I see a chunk of myself in Demetri, which both delights and scares me at the same time. (Stephen Sondheim so got it with those paired-up conflicting emotional states!) The unexamined life is not worth living. At the same time, micro-management and the organization it promises often causes us to miss out on the wonderful spontaneity of life.
For those of you who choose to spend 48 minutes with Demetri, I hope you get something out of it like I did. If nothing else, it is interesting to take a look into an extremely analytical brain attached to a guy who can make fun of said brain.
P.S. His new show, "Important Things" on Comedy Central? Eh, it's okay. But I feel he's so much smarter than how he presents himself on his weekly show.
P.P.S. Did you notice I mentioned "Stick Bouncing" in my blog title!!?? Ready to have your mind blown? Thanks to Joseph Glen and Juggling Subculture for this gem: Forget about the act, the costume, and 80% of the act's contents. He fuckin' bounces sticks!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=riuGuIhQ8RI (WTF at 0:37)