Mark Nizer
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Mark Nizer


Band Comedy Comedy


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The 25 people turned away at the door of the packed Mark Nizer show Saturday night must be wishing they had gotten there earlier to get into those sold-out seats.

Inside the Walker Auditorium at Patrick Henry Community College, the capacity crowd of 320-plus was rolling in laughter in between their ooohs and aaaahs of awe. Nizer maintained a peppy comedy routine while he performed a variety of tricks.

Nizer is a “professional juggler. Those are two words you don’t hear together too often,” he quipped.

His juggling was a fluid dance with objects which rose and fell in the air and twirled and swirled around him.

It was not just his hands that kept things going. He could catch a ball on his forehead and move his head so it would roll from ear to ear. He could catch a ball on his neck, and it would roll down his back, down his leg and be flipped back up by his foot.
Nizer maintained a continual banter with the audience. He invited some of them to come on stage to help him with tricks.
First were Gary Thompson of Ridgeway and Tony Gray of Moneta, who helped him get on a unicycle that was almost as tall as they were. He flopped around wildly on it between them.

“I was extremely nervous,” Gray admitted later.

While riding on the unicycle, Nizer juggled two machetes and an apple. Each time he caught the apple, he took a bite out of it — in between catching and throwing the machetes.

William Hatchett, the son of Robert and Monica Hatchett of Martinsville, also was called to the stage.

As he walked toward the stairs, Nizer told him to forget the stairs and just hop up on the stage. Once there, though, Nizer said maybe he had better not do that, for liability purposes. He picked William up and tossed the 10-year-old off the stage, telling him to take the stairs instead.Unfazed, William sauntered on to center stage. Following orders, he held out both arms and one leg. He ended up with spinning discs around an outstretched arm and a bent leg, and a spinning ball on his fingertip.

In another segment, the lights went out. Techno music sounded while a computer-screen scene filled the backdrop of the stage. Nizer appeared as a neon stick figure, the rest of him unseen in the dark. He juggled neon balls.

When lights were on again, he juggled four clubs. “Four clubs, two hands one, stud — yeah,” he announced saucily. Then he asked, “why are you laughing?”

He brought out his own invention, laser diablos. They resembled huge yoyos he controlled with detached strings that could toss them about. The lights went out again and a fog machine came on. The red lights of the yoyos created circles that danced wildly around the auditorium.

When he showed he was about to juggle a lit propane torch, a bowling ball and an automatic carving knife, he said to the front row, “Those good seats don’t seem so good now, do they?”

First, though, he called up the Greene family of Raleigh, N.C., from the audience. “Before I risk my life, three things I want you to remember: 9-1-1,” he said. Then the Greene children turned around in a row, revealing T-shirts that each had a different word. Put together, the shirts repeated Nizer’s 911 message.

Nizer, of Charlottesville, has been juggling for 30 years. One of his performances was to the sequestered jury at the O.J. Simpson trial in 1994. “I’m expecting a second booking in Las Vegas,” he joked.

After the show, Julie Greene of Raleigh explained, “my husband is a great fan of his. This is our fourth time coming.” She said that it was well worth the drive for the 12 people in the group.

“I had a good time,” Gary Thompson, who just turned 40, said after the show. While Thompson and Gray were on stage, Tony Gray’s seatmate from the audience hollered up to Nizer that it was Gray’s birthday.

The show was “one of the more exciting things I’ve been to in Martinsville,” Thompson added.

William said after the show that he wanted “to volunteer, but I didn’t know what trick he was going to do. It was kind of weird” to stand on one leg in that awkward pose, and “it really did hurt my arm when they (the discs) were spinning,” he said. However, it was great fun being on stage, he added.

The show was sponsored by Piedmont Arts and Patrick Henry Community College. Drew Parker ran the spotlight. “It was a neat experience,” he said. He was given cues during the show to coordinate the lighting with the mood and action.

The performance “was crazy awesome pyscho,” raved 15-year-old William Adams, son of Robert and Lisa Adams of Charlottesville. He liked the lasers and fire best, and thought the comedy was “better than funny,” he said. - Martinsville Bulletin

"Mark Nizer - This Guy is Nuts"

"He is a genius in his trade, and worked the audience like a pro."
-WC Kirby, Campus Activities Today Magazine

"Mark Nizer is the man everyone recognizes as the comedy juggler on America's Campuses. All you need to do is speak to him to understand why he has such an amazing stage presence."
WC Kirby, Campus Activities Today Magazine


Even though I have known Mark Nizer for years I have to confess I have never seen his show. Not his whole show anyway.I have seen him showcase many times but those are only snipits and not a ture tests of an artist ability. I mean how much can a entertainer, a real entertainer, connect in 15-20 minutes. So when Mark whose chosen to participate in the first annual Rock n' Road show I was excited to finally get to see him perform an entire show. He was impressive, especially performing under some unusual conditions.

As you all know by now, Mark was scheduled for the mainstage performance of the second day of the show. Because a blizzard had besieged Roanoke and surrounding areas, the whole first day of the show had been cancelled because the performers could not reach the campus...hell, they couldn't get within a hundred miles of the city The second day of the show had gone on under a light snow and frigid temperatures. The audience attendance was small due to the fact the first day had been cancelled and exams were the next week. But the real test of any performer is to get those in attendance psyched. Mark did just that.

The show was held in an old gym that Mark Petersen's staff had done an excellent job of rigging to staging, sound and lights. Regulating the heat in all parts of the building became something of a concern, so windows were opened on stage left which had to have some effect on Mark's performance because we were sitting between the windows and the stage and the temperature was quite cold. Perhaps because he was so animated the temperature change seemed to have little bearing on his performance. But towards the end of the show, when his juggling bits became more intricate and energy charged, the stage began to creak. The staging was set in sections and only a few sections were the culprits but they seemed the be toward the center where most of the activity was performed. One can't help but think that the cold weather conditions had to have played a part in the shrinking of the wood panels as well as the chatter of the metal supports.

With all that said, the show was arnazing. Mark involved the audience and made them feel they were an integral part of the show. The juggling was superb.


Mark grew up in Concord, Massachusetts and learned to juggle when he was twelve. Amazingly, his first introduction to the art was in an adult education class. He hung out with students at MIT where he perfected his art and began doing standup at the Boston Comedy Club.

Mark went to college at The University of New Hampshire where he became friends with one of his professors. "He had always wanted to be a street performer, so he and I went to Boulder Colorado the summer of my sophmore year and performed at the legendary Pearl Street Mall, which is in the center of the city. We were terrible but it was great.

After that first surnmer, Mark transferred to San Diego State so he could street perform every weekend. His performing continued for the remainder of his time in school and he ended up with degrees in Psychology and Zoology minor. "I got the degrees because the classes interested me. But I was street performing every weekend, practicing six or seven hours everyday. It was all I thought about - all I wanted to do!"

Mark also continued doing stand-up in San Diego to keep his comedy strong and his wit sharpened.

"I got a gig with a review show that lasted five years. I really liked that experience because you were forced to perfect what you did. The problem was that even though I got very good, very tight and very strong, I did lose my long show. My performance tirne there was 12 1/2 minutes."

One of the people he met in the review show was his wife. "After five years, she was sick of the whole thing and wanted to move back to New York City. So I quit and moved back to the city and once again started street performing and working comeciy clubs."

It was about this time that Mark was discovered by Dan and Gerri Abrahamsen of DCA Productions', who became his agent and friends. "They saw me at the worst college in America (which will go unnamed). If you performed there and weren't murdered and allowed to finish your act, you were some kind of super star. Someone I knew invited them to see me there and I was able to finish the show. We hooked up and started the college thing together and the rest is history."

That was fifteen years ago To this day, Mark will tell you that colleges are his favorite audiences. "Street performing prepared me for the college market. When you perform on the str - CAMPUS ACTIVITES TODAY MAGAZINE


Still working on that hot first release.



His invention of new juggling tricks and juggling technologies, combined with his unique wit have set him apart from his peers. Imagine, 4 Lasers being juggled at 1000 rpms, with the spinning laser beams dancing just above the audiences heads. You'll see why Performance Magazine called his show "nothing less than brilliant".

Original comedy, world class juggling , movement, music and technology, has made Mark's performance one of the most popular corporate and theatrical events in the entertainment market today. Whether it's 5 ping pong balls being thrown 20 feet in the air using only his mouth; or juggling a burning propane tank, a running electric carving knife and a 16 pound bowling ball, you'll never know what is possible until you see for yourself.