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TED2002

Raspyni Brothers: Juggle and jest

Filmed
Views 811,481

Illustrious jugglers the Raspyni Brothers show off their uncanny balance, agility, coordination and willingness to sacrifice (others). Now, if you'll just stand completely still...

- Jugglers
Unapologetic vaudevillians Barry Friedman and Dan Holzman -- the Raspyni Brothers -- have been international juggling champions, Guinness record holders, recurring guests on "The Tonight Show" and, recently, preeminent entertainers on the corporate seminar circuit. Full bio

Dan Holzman: Please throw out the beanbag chairs. Here we go.
00:18
Barry Friedman: There are all kinds of high-tech chairs here today,
00:22
but this is really, I think, when it reached its peak
00:24
as far as ergonomics, comfort, design, flexibility ...
00:26
DH: Now obviously, this is not something we do on our regular show;
00:32
it's something we just kind of learned for this,
00:35
so we're going to try. But can we have some inspirational music for the beanbag chairs?
00:37
BF: Nice show, Daniel, nice show. You are the man!
01:15
Nice show. Man, that was good!
01:26
DH: Thank you.
01:29
BF: You know, sometimes when people do those, they go all the way down.
01:30
You actually just did that. (Laughter)
01:32
That's the kind of extra effort that's gotten us where we are today ...
01:35
DH: All right, let's show them something special.
01:40
BF: ... without a MacArthur grant.
01:42
Yeah, look at this. You know, all kinds of different ...
01:45
TED is about invention, let's be honest. Right? DH: Yeah, it is.
01:50
BF: Last night, Michael Moschen showed some juggling props
01:52
he has invented and working on.
01:54
Right now, Dan's going to show something he actually invented.
01:56
DH: A type of juggling I actually invented,
01:59
right after I saw another juggler do it.
02:01
BF: Shut up. (Laughter)
02:02
DH: And this is a small excerpt from a longer piece.
02:04
(Laughter)
02:08
(Applause)
02:14
Folks, this is shaker cup juggling. It's not a showstopper
02:18
but it certainly slows it down.
02:24
BF: Oh yeah, it does. (Drum roll)
02:26
BF: Oh, Daniel.
02:41
(Applause)
02:43
DH: One more? (Drum roll)
02:47
Perfect. (Drum roll)
02:50
Perfect. (Drum roll)
02:53
BF: OK. DH: Oh! All right.
03:00
(Applause)
03:02
I'm now pushing my luck: I'm skipping right to six cups.
03:05
In order to do six cups, I must have perfect control
03:11
over three with my right hand. (Drum roll)
03:14
BF: Also three with his left.
03:19
DH: Perfect.
03:22
(Laughter)
03:23
And now, all six cups. Should I do it on the first try
03:29
or should I miss once on purpose? (Laughter)
03:35
BF: First try? Once on purpose?
03:38
(Audience: Once on purpose!)
03:40
DH: How about if I try first and then decide?
03:42
BF: Good idea. (Laughter) Let's leave that. We'll leave that door open.
03:44
(Laughter) (Applause)
03:55
DH: He's looking at me.
04:06
BF: That's all right, he does that. All right.
04:08
DH: Oh! It's time for Richard's help. (Laughter)
04:12
Oh, good. All right.
04:15
BF: You know, over the years, every year at the conference,
04:17
it's kind of become a tradition for us to do something dangerous
04:20
with Richard. And we've always done something with the bullwhips
04:24
in our act. It's funny, for years I did it with Daniel holding balloons.
04:28
And then we thought, "How stupid."
04:31
DH: Excuse me, could we work on the design of the microphone?
04:33
BF: I think that's the next session.
04:36
DH: Next session?
04:38
BF: Yeah. And so we've actually found a way to incorporate Richard in this.
04:39
He actually assumes more of the danger in this.
04:43
DH: Please stand up, Richard. (Whip cracks)
04:46
Oh, sorry. (Laughter)
04:50
DH: Now Richard, please ... (Whip cracks)
04:54
BF: OK, sorry.
04:56
DH: Jesus Christ. Richard, please stand in front of me.
04:59
Richard Wurman: Can I say something?
05:01
BF: Sure.
05:02
RW: In all past years I've rehearsed with them,
05:05
the things that have happened to me --
05:07
I have no idea what's going to happen and that's the truth.
05:09
DH: All right, please stand here in front ...
05:13
God, I hate that. Put your hands out like this, please.
05:15
(Laughter)
05:20
BF: No, come stay up with him.
05:25
Dan used to actually hold them but now he's got you for protection.
05:27
It's kind of neat. OK.
05:31
(Laughter)
05:33
DH: Wow, you've been working out.
05:36
BF: No, shut up!
05:38
(Laughter)
05:40
Having a little bit of Richard time. That's nice, that's good.
05:44
OK, here we go.
05:48
Have him hold your wrist so I can ...
05:50
DH: Please hold my wrist, will you. BF: Yeah, hold this a minute.
05:51
There you go.
05:53
(Laughter)
05:54
OK.
05:56
OK, hold on.
06:02
RW: Hmmm.
06:06
(Laughter)
06:08
DH: First one.
06:09
BF: All those mid-year phone calls are coming back to me now, Richard.
06:11
(Laughter)
06:14
DH: So Richard, what were we on the list? Like 1,020?
06:17
(Laughter)
06:21
What happened there?
06:22
BF: I think we were just outside.
06:24
DH: I don't get it. (Applause)
06:26
(Laughter)
06:28
DH: Sorry. BF: Having some bad flashbacks.
06:32
RW: Do you want me to hold you or not? DH: Don't hold me that hard.
06:34
BF: Here we go, I'm taking it. (Balloon pops) (Applause)
06:36
DH: One more, one more.
06:39
BF: We've got one more we're going to do.
06:40
RW: Do I get to hold them?
06:42
BF: You don't want to hold these, trust me.
06:43
DH: Could you spread your legs a little bit?
06:46
(Laughter)
06:48
BF: Gloria, you want to do it? It's very cool.
06:55
(Laughter)
06:57
(Applause)
06:58
(Laughter)
07:02
One more try. Man, I don't want to get too close.
07:13
(Laughter)
07:17
Could you just push that?
07:20
(Applause)
07:22
DH: Wow! Boy!
07:41
BF: That's cool. I always wanted to try that.
07:44
(Laughter)
07:46
DH: Let's jump this way, though.
07:50
Now, we risked Richard's life, it's only fair we risk our own lives.
07:52
So to do that, I will juggle these three razor-sharp sickles.
07:56
And if that wasn't enough, and judging by your response, it's not ...
08:03
(Laughter)
08:06
DH: Wow! BF: Hoping for a little more build.
08:08
DH: True. Barry ...
08:10
BF: I'm going to run up behind him.
08:12
DH: Leap over my shoulder.
08:14
BF: Up and over his shoulders.
08:15
DH: Grab the blades in mid-air, land right there in a pool of blood ...
08:17
(Laughter)
08:20
Still juggling. (Laughter)
08:22
Impossible, you say?
08:25
BF: Incredible, you say?
08:28
DH: Why bother, you say?
08:30
BF: Here we go.
08:33
DH: Just do it juggler boys, you say?
08:34
BF: This guy, this guy invented air.
08:37
DH: I think so, that's right.
08:40
Even the pencil.
08:41
BF: He invented the pencil.
08:43
DH: All right, we'll do this trick, but please remember
08:45
it took us over 10 years to perfect.
08:47
BF: Ten years to perfect, which you're about to see.
08:49
DH: It's not that difficult, we just don't like to practice that much.
08:51
BF: No, it's a hassle. Traveling too much.
08:55
Actually, we will take a second to prove --
08:56
this could be fake -- that the blades are indeed razor-sharp.
08:58
DH: Will someone please throw a small farm animal
09:01
up onto the stage?
09:03
(Laughter)
09:06
Or a virgin for a sacrifice?
09:10
BF: Anything?
09:12
DH: Where's Gloria? (Laughter)
09:14
BF: No, she's got ... farm animal.
09:15
DH: Do you have a small farm animal?
09:18
Just trying to play the odds. All right, here we go.
09:20
BF: Over the top, over the top.
09:22
DH: How you feeling, Barry? You feeling all right?
09:24
BF: Yeah, it's all right.
09:26
DH: Do you feel everything's OK? The atmosphere, the ...
09:27
BF: Yeah, a little sketchy.
09:28
DH: Everything up here's OK?
09:29
BF: Yeah.
09:30
DH: Then here we go.
09:31
BF: This one's a little ... Who's doing the lights? Could you
09:34
point that a little more directly
09:37
into my eyeballs? Is that possible? (Laughter) I can still see a little.
09:39
DH: And turn up the intensity; we're still pink in the middle.
09:44
We went too far. (Laughter)
09:49
BF: Yeah, it's too far. It's too much of a visual.
09:50
The design of the body is a whole different thing.
09:56
DH: Ready, Barry? BF: Over the top.
09:58
DH: May we have our jumping music please? (Silence)
10:00
May we have it a bit louder?
10:03
(Laughter)
10:05
BF: They're a good crew! Whoa!
10:06
DH: Whoa, sorry. All right.
10:18
BF: We're going on.
10:22
DH: All right, we'll try again.
10:26
BF: All right? Oh my gosh. Oh.
10:31
DH: All right, here we go. Sorry about that.
10:34
BF: I thought I had the hard part. OK.
10:36
DH: Whenever you're ready.
10:38
BF: There we go!
10:44
(Applause)
10:46
All right, get up! Come on and dance! DH: Dance, come on. BF: Come on and dance!
10:48
Somebody dance! Come on!
10:56
(Applause)
10:59
Wow, wow, OK, stop.
11:04
Weird, no one dances. We're two guys doing this. (Laughter)
11:06
I think that's uncomfortable for everyone.
11:10
DH: The French judge ...
11:12
BF: One more quick thing.
11:13
DH: The French judge gives it a 5.2.
11:14
(Laughter)
11:16
BF: Well, you know ...
11:22
DH: There you go ... BF: Oh, yeah. Another one coming in.
11:24
DH: Tell them about our bio and stuff.
11:26
BF: Yeah. In our bio, some of you may have read
11:27
that we've won two world juggling championships.
11:29
And believe it or not, you don't win juggling champions
11:31
for doing things with bullwhips or shaker cups.
11:34
We're going to show you right now
11:36
an excerpt from a routine that we used
11:38
to wipe out the other juggling team competition.
11:41
DH: That's right.
11:43
BF: Good.
11:49
DH: I know what you're thinking: other juggling teams must really suck.
11:52
(Laughter)
11:56
BF: Juggling's got a bad rap.
12:01
DH: But wait, Barry, there's still one more club lying there by my foot.
12:06
And look, it has a twin!
12:12
BF: Shut up. (Laughter)
12:14
DH: There's still one more by my foot.
12:19
What do you want me to do with it?
12:22
BF: Richard you tell him, it's your last year. (Laughter)
12:27
DH: That's a pretty good setup, Richard.
12:31
BF: Yeah, it's a good setup. That's a big setup.
12:33
DH: You can't get any better than that. All right. What I will do: I will use my panther-like reflexes.
12:35
BF: Nice.
12:42
DH: I got that --
12:44
to reach down and grab that club in my grip of steel.
12:48
BF: Nice.
12:54
DH: I touched it, Barry. That should be enough.
12:56
BF: It's progress, that's the thing.
12:59
(Laughter)
13:01
DH: How about that? I'll do it again.
13:04
Oh wait, it's on your side, Barry.
13:09
And it's awfully windy over there.
13:13
BF: It is, it's weird. You wouldn't think
13:15
it would affect half the stage, but it is. It's weird.
13:17
Watch this: what I'm going to do is slide the seventh one onto my foot.
13:20
DH: Wow! What a great trick, Barry!
13:23
Oh, look how it lies there.
13:26
Oh, Barry, is there nothing you can't do?
13:31
(Laughter)
13:34
You are my hero. You're my Jim Shea, Jr.
13:38
Too much Olympics.
13:44
BF: From my foot, I'll attempt to kick the seventh club. Here we go.
13:45
DH: Where, Barry? Where? Tell us, Barry.
13:48
[Unclear] eagerly awaits your next syllable. What will it be?
13:52
What gem of knowledge?
13:56
What pearl of wisdom?
13:58
Do you want to buy a vowel, Barry?
14:01
Is that your final answer?
14:07
BF: All right! You have to turn off the TV from time to time.
14:09
DH: I do, I do.
14:14
BF: From my foot, the kick up in the seven.
14:15
DH: We will juggle seven.
14:17
BF: From six to seven. DH: That's a world's record. BF: Really? DH: For us.
14:19
BF: Yes.
14:21
DH: Whenever you're ready there, big guy.
14:26
Put your tongue away, Barry.
14:28
BF: Oh, oh, whoa.
14:32
(Applause)
14:35
DH: Please, please stay seated. Stay seated. Thank you.
14:42
Because now, to make this twice as difficult,
14:50
we'll juggle the seven clubs back ...
14:53
BF: Seven-club juggling.
14:54
DH: ... to back.
14:56
BF: Thank you, that's it.
15:03
BF: Thank you guys!
15:24
DH: Thank you very much!
15:26

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About the speaker:

Raspyni Brothers - Jugglers
Unapologetic vaudevillians Barry Friedman and Dan Holzman -- the Raspyni Brothers -- have been international juggling champions, Guinness record holders, recurring guests on "The Tonight Show" and, recently, preeminent entertainers on the corporate seminar circuit.

Why you should listen

The Raspyni Brothers' inventory of international championships, TV appearances and national tours may seem a lot to juggle, but then, Dan Holzman and Barry Friedman are jugglers by trade. Their waggish humor, irresistible stage presence and "panther-like reflexes" have turned these jesters from openers into the headline act.

While the Raspynis sling their share of unique props, their trademark maneuver is (perhaps) the strategic interlude: stalling difficult, dangerous stunts with quips, asides and even deliberate mistakes. The duo's arch brand of onstage chemistry often steals the spotlight from conventional juggling showstoppers. (Though, we should mention, they won't hesitate to use torches, sickles and machetes.)

In recent years Friedman and Holzman have carved a niche on the business seminar circuit, electrifying corporate audiences with lessons on teamwork, balance, trust and -- if you happen to be the CEO -- mortal peril. Sergey Brin has remarked, "They're the Google of comedy." So, welcome to Vaudeville 2.0.

More profile about the speaker
Raspyni Brothers | Speaker | TED.com