Mad Chad Taylor The Chainsaw Juggler
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Mad Chad Taylor The Chainsaw Juggler

Los Angeles, California, United States

Los Angeles, California, United States
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"Seven Questions with 'Mad' Chad Taylor, Chainsaw Juggler"

LA has a diverse cast of characters. Whether it's the characters with stirring stories or interesting occupations or the people who are just simply characters, this town has them all. In an effort to get to know some of those characters a little better, we've created "Seven Questions with..." If you have a suggestion for a future Seven Questions subject send us an email.

Our latest subject is "Mad" Chad Taylor.

Chad juggles chainsaws for a living. It wasn't always chainsaws though, the Santa Monica native got his start juggling plungers on the boardwalk of Venice Beach at the age of 13. A Guinness World Record holder, Chad's brand of "Extreme Comedy" has been seen on nearly every variety television show, including "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" and "Last Call with Carson Daly." The juggler has also made appearances on the big screen including Spider-Man 3 and Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles. Chad has also directed a documentary film titled Buskers: For Love or Money that goes deep inside the hidden world of street performers. When Chad isn't taking his show on the road to colleges and cruise ships, he's enjoying his time at home with his family in Venice Beach, the place where he first made a name for himself.

Thanks to the help of Rich Wysockey and Marty Poole, the photographer and writer of Venice Beach Heart & Soul: 30 Years of Street Performing, LAist had the chance to speak with Chad about his time on the boardwalk, the life of a street performer and how exactly he began juggling chainsaws.

1) You got started at age 13. How did the other street performers take to this kid coming in on their territory?
Not well. There was definitely a pecking order down there. It's different now, because of the permit system. But before that system, definitely the more established performers had the regular spots. When I came in I couldn't get a good spot, I just had to make due with whatever spot I could get. Everyone was nice and all but it was understood that you couldn't get a good spot until you've been there a while and you got good. All of the performers were really nice but I had to make due with a lousy spot.

2) How often do you go back to Venice Beach to perform?
I don't perform there anymore. I was going back once a year to perform for a few years. There was an event, The Venice Summer Showcase, that I would emcee. They didn't have it last year, and I haven't heard any talk of it happening this year, so they might have lost the funding for the event. I don't know. I haven't performed on the boardwalk regularly for the last few years. I go down to Venice Beach quite a bit since I live in the area, but it's been a while since I last performed there.

3) What drew you to Venice Beach?
What I thought was so great about Venice Beach, which has now sort of been lost, was just that you can do anything. You didn't need a permit, you didn't need to audition. You didn't need to do any of that. You could just show up, grab a spot and perform or do whatever you wanted to do. I thought that that was pretty cool. I don't think there's too many places in the world where that happens. I just love how crazy it was down there, and if I worked hard enough I could make a living down there.

4) You started with plungers and are now juggling chainsaws. What came in between? Take us through the progression.
I only juggled plungers out of necessity because juggling clubs are pretty expensive. Toilet plungers happened to be weighted pretty well for juggling. You just cut a couple inches off of the handles and they work well.

Of course, people wanted to see you do something a little more dangerous so I went to knives. I got the knives from the army surplus store. Then I went to machetes. People liked that. Then I went to hatchets. People were into the hatchets but I had to step up. So I went to torches.

Torches were a part of my act for many years down on the boardwalk. For many years on Venice Beach, people loved watching me juggle torches.

The next step, pretty much was the chainsaws. For a couple years, I juggled one chainsaw with two balls. I had to get a chainsaw in my act, but it took a little bit before I could work my way up to three chainsaws.

Just to learn the chainsaws, I didn't turn them on for a while. I had to learn how to juggle chainsaws for a commercial. I only had 10 days to learn how to juggle chainsaws. Finally, when I first turned on the chainsaw I dropped it immediately. The noise, and the smoke and the fact that it was a saw, I just wasn't ready for it yet. I dropped it.

I was practicing in a public park. Someone must have called the cops on me, they must have said 'There's some crazy guy down here with a chainsaw.'

The cops came over to me and determined I wasn't doing anything illegal. They actually thought i - Laist.com


"Seven Questions with 'Mad' Chad Taylor, Chainsaw Juggler"

LA has a diverse cast of characters. Whether it's the characters with stirring stories or interesting occupations or the people who are just simply characters, this town has them all. In an effort to get to know some of those characters a little better, we've created "Seven Questions with..." If you have a suggestion for a future Seven Questions subject send us an email.

Our latest subject is "Mad" Chad Taylor.

Chad juggles chainsaws for a living. It wasn't always chainsaws though, the Santa Monica native got his start juggling plungers on the boardwalk of Venice Beach at the age of 13. A Guinness World Record holder, Chad's brand of "Extreme Comedy" has been seen on nearly every variety television show, including "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" and "Last Call with Carson Daly." The juggler has also made appearances on the big screen including Spider-Man 3 and Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles. Chad has also directed a documentary film titled Buskers: For Love or Money that goes deep inside the hidden world of street performers. When Chad isn't taking his show on the road to colleges and cruise ships, he's enjoying his time at home with his family in Venice Beach, the place where he first made a name for himself.

Thanks to the help of Rich Wysockey and Marty Poole, the photographer and writer of Venice Beach Heart & Soul: 30 Years of Street Performing, LAist had the chance to speak with Chad about his time on the boardwalk, the life of a street performer and how exactly he began juggling chainsaws.

1) You got started at age 13. How did the other street performers take to this kid coming in on their territory?
Not well. There was definitely a pecking order down there. It's different now, because of the permit system. But before that system, definitely the more established performers had the regular spots. When I came in I couldn't get a good spot, I just had to make due with whatever spot I could get. Everyone was nice and all but it was understood that you couldn't get a good spot until you've been there a while and you got good. All of the performers were really nice but I had to make due with a lousy spot.

2) How often do you go back to Venice Beach to perform?
I don't perform there anymore. I was going back once a year to perform for a few years. There was an event, The Venice Summer Showcase, that I would emcee. They didn't have it last year, and I haven't heard any talk of it happening this year, so they might have lost the funding for the event. I don't know. I haven't performed on the boardwalk regularly for the last few years. I go down to Venice Beach quite a bit since I live in the area, but it's been a while since I last performed there.

3) What drew you to Venice Beach?
What I thought was so great about Venice Beach, which has now sort of been lost, was just that you can do anything. You didn't need a permit, you didn't need to audition. You didn't need to do any of that. You could just show up, grab a spot and perform or do whatever you wanted to do. I thought that that was pretty cool. I don't think there's too many places in the world where that happens. I just love how crazy it was down there, and if I worked hard enough I could make a living down there.

4) You started with plungers and are now juggling chainsaws. What came in between? Take us through the progression.
I only juggled plungers out of necessity because juggling clubs are pretty expensive. Toilet plungers happened to be weighted pretty well for juggling. You just cut a couple inches off of the handles and they work well.

Of course, people wanted to see you do something a little more dangerous so I went to knives. I got the knives from the army surplus store. Then I went to machetes. People liked that. Then I went to hatchets. People were into the hatchets but I had to step up. So I went to torches.

Torches were a part of my act for many years down on the boardwalk. For many years on Venice Beach, people loved watching me juggle torches.

The next step, pretty much was the chainsaws. For a couple years, I juggled one chainsaw with two balls. I had to get a chainsaw in my act, but it took a little bit before I could work my way up to three chainsaws.

Just to learn the chainsaws, I didn't turn them on for a while. I had to learn how to juggle chainsaws for a commercial. I only had 10 days to learn how to juggle chainsaws. Finally, when I first turned on the chainsaw I dropped it immediately. The noise, and the smoke and the fact that it was a saw, I just wasn't ready for it yet. I dropped it.

I was practicing in a public park. Someone must have called the cops on me, they must have said 'There's some crazy guy down here with a chainsaw.'

The cops came over to me and determined I wasn't doing anything illegal. They actually thought i - Laist.com


"Chainsaw juggler has unique schtick"



To the surprise of many, "Mad" Chad Taylor still has all his fingers.

The entertainer, who has made countless television and commercial appearances, including doing his act on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, has made a living juggling running chainsaws in front of amazed crowds.

"People like to watch you do stupid stuff," Taylor said. "And I give the people what they want."
Article Photos

Mirror photo by Patrick?Waksmunski
Mad Chad performs his act Saturday night at Blair County Ballpark.

Taylor took his eye-opening act to Blair County Ballpark for the third time in his career last night, tossing his chainsaws, juggling knives while balancing on a unicycle, and many more stunts.

"I'd say he's a highly skilled professional," Jim McQuown of Indiana, a member of Saturday's crowd, said. "I mean come on, he rides a unicycle and juggles chainsaws. Best entertainment I've ever seen."

Taylor, a Venice, Calif. native, got his start juggling on the Venice Beach Boardwalk. He was given a book about juggling when he was 13 and fell in love with the act.

Every day after school in junior high, Taylor would spend a few hours working on his routine and developing new tricks. He was obsessed.

It was until about 15 years ago that Taylor learned the chainsaw stunt for a Miller Lite commercial. The beer company didn't put his spot in the commercial, but the chainsaws have been a staple in his routine ever since.

"I think they were afraid of lawsuits," he joked.

Except for one small cut on his forearm, Taylor has never had any serious accidents during his act.

But admits he still gets a little nervous when it's time for the chainsaws.

"Just going in front of an audience is very nerve wracking," he said. "Then doing chainsaws where I may have an accident or something could go wrong, was very nerve wracking. There's still a lot of nerves, but it gets easier all the time."

Taylor makes anywhere from 60 to more than 100 appearances a year. Though he's forced to travel a lot, spending time away from his wife of eight years, Jamie, and two young kids, Taylor makes a living doing what he enjoys.

"I'm not gonna get rich and retire when I'm 42, but it's fine," he said. "I love what I do."

And for his family's sake, Taylor hopes he makes it home in one piece, too.
© Copyright 2013 The Altoona Mirror. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. - Altoona Mirror


"Chainsaw juggler has unique schtick"



To the surprise of many, "Mad" Chad Taylor still has all his fingers.

The entertainer, who has made countless television and commercial appearances, including doing his act on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, has made a living juggling running chainsaws in front of amazed crowds.

"People like to watch you do stupid stuff," Taylor said. "And I give the people what they want."
Article Photos

Mirror photo by Patrick?Waksmunski
Mad Chad performs his act Saturday night at Blair County Ballpark.

Taylor took his eye-opening act to Blair County Ballpark for the third time in his career last night, tossing his chainsaws, juggling knives while balancing on a unicycle, and many more stunts.

"I'd say he's a highly skilled professional," Jim McQuown of Indiana, a member of Saturday's crowd, said. "I mean come on, he rides a unicycle and juggles chainsaws. Best entertainment I've ever seen."

Taylor, a Venice, Calif. native, got his start juggling on the Venice Beach Boardwalk. He was given a book about juggling when he was 13 and fell in love with the act.

Every day after school in junior high, Taylor would spend a few hours working on his routine and developing new tricks. He was obsessed.

It was until about 15 years ago that Taylor learned the chainsaw stunt for a Miller Lite commercial. The beer company didn't put his spot in the commercial, but the chainsaws have been a staple in his routine ever since.

"I think they were afraid of lawsuits," he joked.

Except for one small cut on his forearm, Taylor has never had any serious accidents during his act.

But admits he still gets a little nervous when it's time for the chainsaws.

"Just going in front of an audience is very nerve wracking," he said. "Then doing chainsaws where I may have an accident or something could go wrong, was very nerve wracking. There's still a lot of nerves, but it gets easier all the time."

Taylor makes anywhere from 60 to more than 100 appearances a year. Though he's forced to travel a lot, spending time away from his wife of eight years, Jamie, and two young kids, Taylor makes a living doing what he enjoys.

"I'm not gonna get rich and retire when I'm 42, but it's fine," he said. "I love what I do."

And for his family's sake, Taylor hopes he makes it home in one piece, too.
© Copyright 2013 The Altoona Mirror. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. - Altoona Mirror


"http://www.statehornet.com/campus/mad-chad-taylor-roars-to-life-on-stage/article_55574038-17f8-11e2-a720-0019bb30f31a.html"

Posted: Wednesday, October 17, 2012 12:00 am

Kaitlin Bruce

Imagine a chainsaw flying towards your face. A person’s first instinct is to run away screaming, right?

Not for adrenaline junkie Mad Chad Taylor, a “busker” or street performer-turned-nationally renowned-chainsaw-juggler who showed off his talents in front of an excited, yet nervous crowd at Sacramento State Thursday night.

Taylor juggled anything from 10-pound weights and swords to, well, chainsaws.

Diana Martinez, an undeclared freshman, came to see the show with friends.

“I thought he was really funny. It was entertaining,” Martinez said. “I had a lot of fun.”

Elizabeth Eickmeyer, 11, also came to see the show with her parents.

“It’s really cool when he juggles chainsaws on a skateboard on top of a rolly thing on top of a chest,” Eickmeyer said. “But I didn’t want to go because I was afraid he was going to cut his hand off.”

Taylor started his career juggling objects right here in California at the Venice Beach Boardwalk 15 years ago, juggling torches, knives and anything he could to attract attention. He was soon approached to juggle chainsaws for a commercial.

“For a beer commercial of all things, I was asked if I could juggle a chainsaw,” Taylor said. “I did learn it for (that) and then started doing it for the show at Venice Beach and I’ve been doing it ever since.”

This rare skill has created quite a career for Taylor, who now travels around the country performing his act at schools, fairs and athletic events.

“My favorite part is the rush and how much it energizes the crowd,” Taylor said. “Anything else I do doesn’t come close to when those chainsaws are running. I think it’s really exciting.”

Taylor said he did have a close call once and that one time was enough to scare him into changing up his safety precautions.

“I actually did cut myself once. I got really lucky,” Taylor said. “I threw it wrong and I thought I could catch it, but once I realized I couldn’t I tried to get out of the way and just the tip of it nicked my arm. That was a wake-up call. So now if I throw it wrong, I just let it go”.

Taylor said no matter how much he practices or does the routine, he is always a bit weary.

“To some extent, no matter how much you get used to it, once those chainsaws are going and the smoke is going and the handles are vibrating, it is definitely is a rush,” Taylor said. “Accidents are pretty rare, but they happen sometimes.” As well as touring the country, Taylor said he also has dabbled in filmmaking. He made a documentary called “Buskers,” which is now streaming on Netflix.

“I made a documentary all about street performers that I started working on 10 years ago,” Taylor said. “I’m very excited about it. We finished it in 2008 and got in film festivals and my distributor got it on Netflix two or three months ago.”

He has also started his own website called 60secondtv.com, a site where adrenaline junkies like himself can watch and upload interesting videos.

“60secondtv.com is all one-minute-long crazy clips,” Taylor said. “It’s for people who enjoy watching crazy stuff like I do, and where people can come to upload their own videos.”

Taylor is very happy with his life and where it is right now and said he owes that all to his special talent.

“I started doing this so young - it’s the only thing I know really, but I love it and it’s a great job,” Taylor said. “Go after your dream and whatever you love to do and figure out how to get paid to do that.”

Kaitlin Bruce can be reached at kb3757@saclink.csus.edu
- The State Hornet


"http://www.statehornet.com/campus/mad-chad-taylor-roars-to-life-on-stage/article_55574038-17f8-11e2-a720-0019bb30f31a.html"

Posted: Wednesday, October 17, 2012 12:00 am

Kaitlin Bruce

Imagine a chainsaw flying towards your face. A person’s first instinct is to run away screaming, right?

Not for adrenaline junkie Mad Chad Taylor, a “busker” or street performer-turned-nationally renowned-chainsaw-juggler who showed off his talents in front of an excited, yet nervous crowd at Sacramento State Thursday night.

Taylor juggled anything from 10-pound weights and swords to, well, chainsaws.

Diana Martinez, an undeclared freshman, came to see the show with friends.

“I thought he was really funny. It was entertaining,” Martinez said. “I had a lot of fun.”

Elizabeth Eickmeyer, 11, also came to see the show with her parents.

“It’s really cool when he juggles chainsaws on a skateboard on top of a rolly thing on top of a chest,” Eickmeyer said. “But I didn’t want to go because I was afraid he was going to cut his hand off.”

Taylor started his career juggling objects right here in California at the Venice Beach Boardwalk 15 years ago, juggling torches, knives and anything he could to attract attention. He was soon approached to juggle chainsaws for a commercial.

“For a beer commercial of all things, I was asked if I could juggle a chainsaw,” Taylor said. “I did learn it for (that) and then started doing it for the show at Venice Beach and I’ve been doing it ever since.”

This rare skill has created quite a career for Taylor, who now travels around the country performing his act at schools, fairs and athletic events.

“My favorite part is the rush and how much it energizes the crowd,” Taylor said. “Anything else I do doesn’t come close to when those chainsaws are running. I think it’s really exciting.”

Taylor said he did have a close call once and that one time was enough to scare him into changing up his safety precautions.

“I actually did cut myself once. I got really lucky,” Taylor said. “I threw it wrong and I thought I could catch it, but once I realized I couldn’t I tried to get out of the way and just the tip of it nicked my arm. That was a wake-up call. So now if I throw it wrong, I just let it go”.

Taylor said no matter how much he practices or does the routine, he is always a bit weary.

“To some extent, no matter how much you get used to it, once those chainsaws are going and the smoke is going and the handles are vibrating, it is definitely is a rush,” Taylor said. “Accidents are pretty rare, but they happen sometimes.” As well as touring the country, Taylor said he also has dabbled in filmmaking. He made a documentary called “Buskers,” which is now streaming on Netflix.

“I made a documentary all about street performers that I started working on 10 years ago,” Taylor said. “I’m very excited about it. We finished it in 2008 and got in film festivals and my distributor got it on Netflix two or three months ago.”

He has also started his own website called 60secondtv.com, a site where adrenaline junkies like himself can watch and upload interesting videos.

“60secondtv.com is all one-minute-long crazy clips,” Taylor said. “It’s for people who enjoy watching crazy stuff like I do, and where people can come to upload their own videos.”

Taylor is very happy with his life and where it is right now and said he owes that all to his special talent.

“I started doing this so young - it’s the only thing I know really, but I love it and it’s a great job,” Taylor said. “Go after your dream and whatever you love to do and figure out how to get paid to do that.”

Kaitlin Bruce can be reached at kb3757@saclink.csus.edu
- The State Hornet


Discography

madchadtaylor.com
60secondtv.com
buskersmovie.com

Photos

Bio

MAD CHAD TAYLOR
THE EVIL KNIEVEL OF COMEDY

Yes he is the guy from the Progressive Auto Insurance commercial and Mad Chad has been a favorite on the college circuit for many years. As well as performing his hilarious show at hundreds of colleges around the country he has been featured in Campus Activities magazine and showcased at over a dozen NACA conventions including the national convention. Chads 60 minute family friendly show is perfect to kick off the school year, for a sibs weekend or the ultimate spring fling event.

WOW! I Cannot fully describe how awesome Mad Chad is!
-Susan Burlew
Tulsa Community College

It is always nice to have a new and innovative performer on our campus and Chad certainly is that!
-Mary Sweet
Brigham Young University

This Guinness World Record holder has juggled everything from working video cameras to bowling balls that he can catch with his head. He has cut it up on every imaginable variety show, from The Tonight Show with Jay Leno to Last Call with Carson Daily to The Donny and Marie Show, where he kept himself from falling off his unicycle by leaning on Marie Osmonds hair.
Mad Chads so unforgettable Sam Raimi gave him a role in Spider-Man III. Hes so good he taught Dustin Hoffman to juggle and hes so powerful not even three 100,000 volt stun guns can stop him.
Whether hes performing his hilarious 90-minute show to sold-out crowds at performing arts centers, imploring boisterous college audiences to throw knives responsibly, or teaching Fortune 500 executives at companies like AT&T and Nissan to multitask using heavy-duty logging tools, Mad Chad Taylor may be the most dangerous man in comedy, particularly if you sit too close. Then again, those tend to be the really expensive seats.
Because, Mad Chad Taylor says, if you really want people to put two hands together, you gotta be willing to risk one of your own!