By: Vee Glessner
At 8 p.m. on the night of Sept. 21, an entertainer by the name of “Mad Chad” showed off his juggling skills in a hybrid comedy act put on by the Board of Campus Activities in the Davis Learning Center Auditorium.
“My real name is Chad Taylor,” the performer introduced. “I grew up in Santa Monica. You can tell I’m from the beach because I still ride a skateboard and I don’t have a real job,” he commented, clumsily riding in on a skateboard.
Chad started off the night by asking the audience to re-do his entrance with a more enthusiastic round of applause and cheers so he could post it on his social media.
He even handed out a supportive sign (that he had made) and a pair of women’s underwear for audience members to show and throw, respectively.
After warming up the crowd, Chad gathered four audience volunteers and handed them green plastic bats that would sit in wait for a few more tricks.
After some mild juggling of three tennis balls, and impressive juggling of four, he announced he would be juggling five.
Chad proceeded to juggle two tennis balls with a clump of three tied together, which elicited a hearty laugh.
“It’s so close to entertainment you can hardly tell the difference,” Chad joked to the audience about his hybrid comedy and stunt act.
This comment was well-timed, as he was about to juggle three silicone breast implants he claimed belonged to his ex-wife and cost him $8,000.
For a shocking stunt that made many in the audience scream, Chad juggled three 1000-volt stun guns in several different styles, including one he called “stun guns coming towards my face.”
As he prepared for his next trick, he shared a bit about his background as a performer.
“I went down to Venice Beach at the age of 13 and started juggling. I put out my hat for tips and made $35 in one day. At the time my allowance was $6 a week. I went home, tossed a $10 at my dad, and said, ‘YOU mow the lawn!’” he recalled.
He asked for an object from the audience, any object, to juggle along with one raw egg and a 10-lb shot put ball.
The imbalance in weights and sizes, he said, make this trick very difficult.
After a poll from the audience, Chad ended up with a penny board in his hands and successfully juggled the challenging trio.
Moving to three, 10-lb shot put balls, Chad startled the audience by tossing one that landed with a crack on his head.
Fortunately, this was just another stunt, as the one his skull made contact with was actually a lightweight rubber lookalike.
Next, Chad dimmed the lights and pulled out three small balls that glowed orange.
He put on a great light show, including some comedic moments of just holding a ball and yanking it around in the air, and others of impressive sky-high juggling.
Three volunteers from the audience added personality to the next trick: Natalie held a carrot while Chad chopped it with a machete, making her sweat with a fake-clumsy act.
Robbie and Steven held a 6-foot tall unicycle in place for Chad to “leap” onto, which turned out to be a laborious and extended climb up the helpers’ limbs.
Up on the unicycle, the star asked the audience to yell “Eat it!” as he was juggling an apple and two knives to signal for him to take a bite of the apple.
By the time he reached the core, his mouth was full and the stage covered with half-chewed bits he had spit out.
For a short break in the show, Chad gave two of what he called public service announcements: first, to support local live entertainment.
Second, that the scar on his nose was not from a stunt gone wrong, but from a brush with skin cancer, and he warned to wear sunscreen and protective clothing when exposed to the sun.
Finally the audience got what they were waiting for: after a quick costume change and (another) dramatic entrance, Chad started his chainsaws.
He first juggled one, then two, then three 15-lb running chainsaws!
Before Chad got to the third one, he warned the audience, “If one is flying at you, I’m sorry. Also, please get out of the way because there’s two more right behind.”
After a short, sweaty, chainsaw-filled dance with death, Chad started to cool down.
“Figure out something you love to do and how you can get paid to do that,” he advised. “I love my job!” he said of the dangerous occupation.
A poll across the audience showed that most attendees still thought Chad should have gone to college.
Although it seemed the show had reached its peak, Mad Chad had one more thing on the agenda.
He balanced an upside-down skateboard on top of a cylinder on top of a box and stood on the skateboard, forcing himself to balance continually, then juggled a running chainsaw and two small pink balls.
The audience held their breath the whole time. “I almost passed out,” said attendee Paige Hill.
Chad has produced a one-hour documentary available on Amazon called “Buskers” about the lives of street performers from tightrope walkers to sidewalk samurais. He can be found on social media at @MadChadTaylor.