The Masked Juggler

On Monday night, I experienced a first in my life: I performed an entire show while wearing a face mask. Here’s the story: a retirement home had originally booked my show for March 28th, but that date got postposed for obvious reasons. Skip ahead to September 2020 and now the retirement home is letting people onto their property (with safety protocols in place). They took my temperature at the gate and I proceeded to set up in the clubhouse for my show. Masks were required of course. And though I was informed I was free to unmask for my show (my audience was socially distanced with masks), I chose to keep the mask on due to this being a high-risk age group. I performed the show, which they all seemed to really love and appreciate, and I packed up my things and went home.

This experience caused me to ask myself a question: Why in the world is this retirement home full of people at a high-risk of getting sick asking me, a juggler, to come entertain them?

I believe it is because we humans, no matter our age or risk of sickness, need good live entertainment for the healing of our souls. Yes, I am arguing that comedians, entertainers, musicians, and variety performers are essential. Don’t believe me? Look at World War II. It was one of the most devastating times on earth in recent history, but you know who was traveling from base to base? Entertainers. It was the USO show* and comedians, musicians, and other entertainers would come and perform for the troops to boost morale. If even a world war couldn’t shut down the need for entertainers, what could?

You see, even in the worst of times (in fact, especially in the worst of times), entertainers are called upon to share their gifts with those who are suffering. Even the Bible says “a joyful heart is good medicine” (Prov 17:22). I am proud to be a live entertainer, and I will continue to share my gifts as safely as I can for whomever will watch and listen.

*For more about the USO shows in WW2, see this article here.

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Dr. Jesse Joyner travels nationwide as a speaker and entertainer. His primary role is that of a performing juggler spreading joy and the love of learning to family and kids events. H earned his PhD in Educational Studies at Trinity International University (Deerfield, IL). He enjoys playing the piano, bird watching, and old houses. He lives in Richmond, VA with his wife, Sarah, and their three kids - the perfect number for juggling children.