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jrpowell's avatar

Why is juggling chainsaws a big deal?

Asked by jrpowell (40552points) July 7th, 2009

I am watching that talent show and a guy just juggled three of them. The chain can’t spin unless your are holding the trigger down. Why is this considered cool or dangerous? Unless he modified the saw to run it can’t cut his arm off. Sure, the engine is running so he could get burned.

It seems like a lame stunt.

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22 Answers

applesaucemanny's avatar

people are scared or can’t do this themselves so they think it’s amazing like flying to the moon

Ivan's avatar

Yeah, the fact that they are chainsaws rather than some other awkward, heavy object is pretty irrelevant, but it’s still probably rather difficult.

ragingloli's avatar

it may not be able to spin, but the teeth are sharp nonetheless.

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

Most people don’t know that so to people who don’t know, it probably seems more awesome. However chainsaws are very unwieldy so being able to juggle them in itself is a tremendous feat.

jrpowell's avatar

I’m sure it is hard. I couldn’t do it. Chainsaws have handles, I would be more impressed if it was 14 pound bowling balls.

@The_Compassionate_Heretic :: That was kinda the point. On TV I couldn’t tell the chain wasn’t spinning. And the audience is far away too so I doubt they can tell. It just seems like a lame stunt that looks scary but wouldn’t be.

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

@johnpowell The whole thing sounds very hokey.
If it’s a talent show, I’m sure David Hasslehoff & Co have already seen more chainsaw jugglers than they’d ever cared to.

ragingloli's avatar

why are talentshows always hosted by people who have no talent themselves?

lefteh's avatar

Because people with talent have something better to do.

Jayne's avatar

Speaking as one of the best few hundred technical jugglers in the world, juggling chainsaws is probably one of the fastest ways to get other jugglers to despise you. So is juggling bowling balls, or basically any of the cheap, hack tricks that mediocre jugglers use to impress audiences that have no knowledge of juggling. Forget the fact that it is not dangerous (because what juggler would be stupid enough to risk their life or livelihood for a performance stunt; the knives aren’t sharp, you can drop a torch after catching the wick without burning yourself if you have half a brain cell, and no, the chain does not spin). It simply isn’t impressive to anyone who knows anything about juggling.

There are a vast number of complex and difficult tricks that one can do with a given number of objects; the point of juggling is not just ‘to keep a lot of things in the air’. Juggling something inherently awkward like chainsaws naturally restricts the number of tricks possible, to the point that keeping them in the air is about all you can do. For a given level of difficulty, the tricks done with chainsaws are a whole lot simpler than those done with standard juggling props. So while a juggler using standard props is performing an incredibly complex feat that requires an extraordinary sense of timing and precision, a juggler using chainsaws is doing something that requires nothing more than burly arms. But because a lay audience cannot comprehend any of the complexity of real juggling (and I mean that in the kindest way possible), the best way to gain the admiration of an audience is by going with the cheap, easy, and hackneyed stunts. If you want to see what juggling is really like when performed for people who actually understand what they are watching, here you go.

Oh, and Chris Bliss despite his popularity, is just about the bottom of the barrel in terms of skill as a juggler. Apparently he’s a good performer, but his juggling is basic at best.

eponymoushipster's avatar

because juggling career, a social life and family is far less interesting to watch

ratboy's avatar

“Goddamit! They told me juggling chainsaws was easy!” remarked Tom offhandedly.

Lightlyseared's avatar

It’s because percieved danger is more frightening than actual danger.

augustlan's avatar

@Jayne Awesome videos! I’ve always wanted to be able to juggle.

jrpowell's avatar

Thanks Jayne GA

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

@Jayne much LURVE for the juggling links. That’s what I like, seeing something on YT that doesn’t want me to try and get my minutes back. Great Stuff!

whatthefluther's avatar

@Jayne…..Thanks for those links….awesome talent! See ya…

Jayne's avatar

Glad you liked them. Here are a few more for anyone who is interested, don’t feel obliged to watch them, that would be quite a lot of juggling in one go.

Obviously, the second two videos I posted were of the WJF, which focuses exclusively on juggling as a sport (which is the kind of juggling I do) while Falco, in the first video, treats it more as a…skill, discipline, I’m not sure of the best word; what he is doing is not as physically challenging as sport juggling, but the patterns are much more complex. Naturally, the line between those two types of juggling is rather arbitrary and there is plenty of crossover. Both qualify as technical juggling, subjugating style to technical difficulty. Vova Galchenko and Jason Garfield (read the description) are two of the best sports jugglers out there. Some technical jugglers like to get creative (many jugglers wouldn’t consider this technical juggling, but I see no reason not to). Also, there are plenty of good juggling performances (cirque du soleil, unlike most circuses, gets good jugglers; Anthony Gatto, performing with Kooza, is arguably the best technical juggler in the world, although I don’t care for his performance style). The juggling they do is not as difficult, but they make up for it in style an smoothness of execution.

Anyways, if anyone does feel like learning to juggle, feel free to PM me. Looking at it one way, it is good aerobic exercise and fantastic training in what basically boils down to object manipulation, which is applicable to almost everything; from another perspective, it is an exceedingly challenging discipline with infinite room for expansion, creativity and learning. So, I highly recommend it.

Pat_thebear89's avatar

people are terrified to do it themselves and rather watch the stupidity of someone they think will have an accident and cut themselves and most people watch for the worst they dont think of such small things as“are the blades even moving”

lamedb's avatar

Probably because they have uneven weight distribution, so the idea of maintaining the equilibrium is quite hard when you have to keep the juggling consistent.

crazyivan's avatar

I fear other jugglers despise me. I was a street performer for a number of years and though i never did chainsaws (not out of love for my art but because I couldn’t afford them), I did bowlingballs, knives, sickles and all that silly stage crap. I’m no Garfield, Galchenko, Gatto so this was the only real way to make money. It’s all staged nonsense like Jayne says, but lighting torches draws people like flies. (Nobody is at the race to see cars not crash)

I used to have this line that juggling is the only job where people keep asking you to make it harder. Can you imagine a waitress bringing your coffee and you respond with “Yeah but could you do that on a swinging bridge over crocodiles?”.

In juggling, the audience never seems happy unless there’s some chance you’re going to get burned, bruised, beaten, broken, battered, bloodied, blistered, bullied, blown-up, beat-up or barbecued.

SomeoneElse's avatar

@crazyivan Or end up with alliteration on you!

streetshowkeith's avatar

When you learn to do it, trust me it’d be a big deal! Believe me these days so any people spend so much time on the information superhighway they have no idea what is really going on.
Just look how many truly uninformed people are ready to speak like they are knowledgable on the subject.

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