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Juggling Dangerously

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While it has been done, in Real Life chainsaw juggling is unusual even for highly skilled professional jugglers who want to add the spice of danger to their act. But it's much more common in fiction — want to take that juggling act to the next level? Just add chainsaws!

A common yet very dangerous trick that is often performed at sideshows and circuses. It is typical for someone of exceptional bravery to juggle chainsaws while the chainsaws are running. In Western Animation, expect a character to appear fine for a minute before literally falling apart or to fall through a hole in the floor that was caused by the chainsaws.

Of course, chainsaws aren't the only dangerous things that can be used in juggling. People can also juggle flaming torches, tasers, and swords, which makes this trope Truth in Television.

Not to be confused with Juggling Loaded Guns, which is more about comedically reckless gun usage than juggling per se. Though if one were, in fact, to juggle loaded guns, that would indeed be an example of both tropes.

For a character who fights by making sharp objects fly around, see Master of the Levitating Blades and related tropes.


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  • In a Progressive commercial, a man feels so empowered by being given the "Name Your Price" tool that he approaches a man juggling chainsaws and wants to participate. Obviously, the juggler refuses, for their mutual safety.

  • Penn of Penn & Teller has a routine where he juggles broken wine bottles (very carefully smashed open at the large end, so he's not going to hurt himself as long as he catches them by the neck every time) while pattering on at length about how this is the most difficult and dangerous thing he's going to do all evening.

    Comic Books 
  • The Mickey Mouse comic Lost in Limbo includes a medieval jester whose juggling act got boring for the king, so he decided to spice things up by juggling weapons instead. Unfortunately, he forgot to revise the ending of the act, which involved all the items falling on his head. Hence why he is a ghost now.
  • In the Marvel Universe, this is the shtick of the Death-Throws; a gang of criminal jugglers who primarily fight Hawkeye. They juggle (and throw) items like blades, bombs and razor-edged rings.

    Comic Strips 
  • One The Far Side cartoon shows a stage performer who has been juggling nuclear warheads, but has just dropped them all over the place. An audience member complains: "More like defused nuclear warheads!"note 
  • This Calvin and Hobbes strip.
    Calvin: Where do we keep all our chainsaws, Mom?
    Calvin's Mom: We don't have any chainsaws, Calvin.
    Calvin: We don't? Not any?
    Calvin's Mom: Nope.
    Calvin: How am I ever going to learn how to juggle?
  • Subverted in a FoxTrot strip where Jason seemingly juggles steak knives for his thoroughly unimpressed family; the last panel shows that he faking it by taping the knives to a sheet of plexiglass (that he apparently didn't clean very well).
  • One Herman strip shows a guy checking into an emergency room while frantically juggling axes, saying "I can't stop."

    Films — Animation 
  • In Lilo & Stitch, David is a fire-dancer who juggles torches on stage at a restaurant and accidentally sets things on fire, embarrassing himself in front of his crush, Nani.
    Nani: Did you catch fire again?!
    David: Nah, just the stage.
  • Inner Workings features a chainsaw juggler as a background character at the beach. At one point, Paul's brain gets an Imagine Spot of him tripping into the juggler and getting sawn to pieces as a result.

  • One joke has a juggler pulled over by a police officer for a broken taillight who accedes to having his trunk searched. When the police officer finds the bag of machetes and chainsaws, the juggler offers to show the officer that he had a legit business use for them, and begins juggling them. Cue another driver going by and commenting that "Sobriety tests are getting ridiculous".

  • In Jingo, Vetinari goes from juggling melons, to juggling melons and knives. He adds the knives because juggling items of multiple shapes is more difficult than juggling items of only one type. This is followed with a footnote that this is, in fact, true even of chainsaws, but if you do happen to miss one, that's only the first of your problems, and some more will be along shortly.
  • In Gust Front, given the mess that the base in Indiantown Gap is in when the 555th Mobile Infantry members arrive they have to work their way through the chaos of the base to get to their quarters. In order to do so without getting caught up in a fight they'd rather avoid, James Stewart and several of his companions create a distraction that includes a juggling routine that includes knives and lit torches.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In an episode of Bones, Brennan has called in all her interns (instead of the usual one-per-episode), and while they're standing around waiting for her, they decide that they must have been called in to study a body with a chainsaw sticking out of its chest. When Brennan arrives, she scolds them because it should have been obvious that the body was just some silly person who had been trying to juggle a chainsaw, a tennis ball, and another object; not murder.
  • In an episode of 1000 Ways to Die, there was this teppanyaki chef that talks about treating knives with respect while juggling massive kitchen knives.
  • In an episode of Hell's Kitchen, Ramsay brought in a couple of jugglers, one juggling flaming torches and the other juggling knives. They juggled between them, with Ramsay in the middle, and ended holding the implements the other had started with. This was to illustrate the importance of coordination.

  • "Chainsaw Juggler" by the Four Postmen, although most of the song isn't about the eponymous juggler.
    Whatever happened to the Chainsaw Juggler?
    He was a good friend of mine
    I heard he died, but nobody cried
    Instead they all chopped off their arms!

    Video Games 
  • The Curse of Monkey Island: On Plunder Island, Slappy Cromwell's "Speare!" is a pirate-themed revue of scenes from William Shakespeare's plays, including such embellishments as a scene where Slappy juggles things like knives and cannonballs. One puzzle involves tricking Slappy into dropping the cannonballs in order to get him off-stage.
  • Dead Rising has Adam, an early psychopath who's dressed as a clown and juggles chainsaws and can use them to cut everyone up. He also can use balloons filled with some sort of gas, but defeating him will only net Frank the clown's chainsaws, and they're arguably the best weapons in the game.
  • In the Amiga game Freddy, you play as a clown going through various circus acts while a mischievous rival tries to sabotage your efforts. In the juggling act, you may end up juggling multiple chainsaws while dancing on a ball.
  • Team Fortress 2: The Soldier's taunts with the Buff Banner, Battalion's Backup, the Concheror, or the Righteous Bison has him juggling two grenades from his bandolier and a rocket.
  • In the Sega Genesis Licensed Game of Aladdin, some enemies are juggling knives, and throwing some at you. Throwing apples at them can lead to the apples getting sliced in midair.
  • One of the recurring enemies in Crime Fighters juggles knives, chainsaws, and flaming torches, occasionally throwing one at the player.
  • In Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, Ocelot has a habit of playing a complicated version of Russian Roulette, involving him juggling his partially loaded revolvers, to interrogate people.
  • A recurring enemy in the first two Streets of Rage games juggles things like knives and burning torches to throw at you.
  • Knife Guy from Super Mario RPG is a knife-juggling clown who serves as a boss battle with his younger brother, Grate Guy. The two work for the eccentric Booster, and guard Princess Peach for the duration of her kidnapping within his tower. After the battle, Knife Guy trades his knives for colorful balls, and the party can play a mini-game with him for the key to a hidden casino.
  • Warframe has Vauban, who will do a one-handed shower juggle as a charging animation if you hold down the key for his Tesla Nervos. It falls under this trope, because Tesla Nervos are autonomous electroshock grenades, and are so dangerous that merely being within a few meters of one will result in the Tesla latching onto its new friend with homicidal enthusiasm and applying large amounts of electricity directly into their central nervous system (or equivalent). Telsa Nervos also explode violently from time to time; after all, they're still grenades. Thank goodness that they're Friendly Fireproof.

    Visual Novels 
  • In Sickness, Misa is more than happy to juggle a sword on her nose for amusement, which frightens Suoh.

    Web Animation 

    Web Comics 
  • Biter Comics: A man attempts to juggle some chainsaws on a dare. It doesn't go so well for those around him.

    Western Animation 
  • In the Beavis and Butt-Head episode "Comedians", the first scene inside the Laff Hole shows a juggler juggling a small white ball, an axe, and a chainsaw. It is heavily implied that his arm is cut off by the chainsaw at the end of the act. At the end of the episode, Beavis sets up his own juggling act involving newspapers lit on fire. Cut to Beavis and Butthead outside the Laff Hole, watching the fire department arrive and put out the fire.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants: In "Squirrel Record", this is one of the things Sandy Cheeks does in order to win a world record, which is juggling the most chainsaws. However, once Sandy gets the picture and throw the chainsaws away, they land on SpongeBob and cut him into pieces. Luckily, he can pull himself together.
  • In one episode of Kaeloo, Stumpy tries doing this. It actually goes well until Stumpy's mom calls him on the phone after seeing him do this on live TV (to make sure her kid is safe) and he picks up the phone to answer and forgets to catch the chainsaws.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic: Downplayed in episode "A Horse Shoe-In", where Trixie is juggling with three of her smoke bombs. Naturally, she ends up dropping them, which results in a cloud of smoke that transition to the next scene.
  • In the Looney Tunes Cartoons episode, "Ring Master Disaster" has Bugs continually outdoing Yosemite Sam's circus acts and Sam continually trying to top it. Bugs juggles bowling pins, so Sam juggles flaming bowling pins. Bugs juggles swords, Sam juggles flaming swords. Bugs juggles dynamite, Sam juggles flaming dyna-(explosion).
  • In the The Looney Tunes Show episode, "Monster Talent", Gossamer wants to sing at his school talent show, but Daffy tries to get him to do another act. When Gossamer sees three chainsaws on the coffee table, he asks Daffy if he's suggesting that he juggle them. Daffy tells him that he would never suggest such a thing... until after he's lit them on fire. This results in Bugs' house catching fire.
  • In Yogi the Easter Bear, Ranger Smith juggles chainsaws in a desperate attempt to entertain a crowd. While he does it successfully, as soon as he stops juggling, he falls into a hole where he's standing that his chainsaws ended up creating.
  • In The Simpsons episode "The Wettest Stories Ever Told" during the Mutiny on the Bounty short, while the crew were in Tahiti, it shows them watching a man juggling flaming torches.

    Real Life 
  • Michael Goudeau would juggle during magician Lance Burton's show at the Monte Carlo Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. He juggled three beanbag chairs as well as a chainsaw, a bowling ball AND a flaming torch!
  • Chainsaw juggling is, ironically, unimpressive to more experienced jugglers because they're too heavy to show any real technique with.


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Heffer falls in love with an Elk he meets at the Elk's Club and his heart starts to take manual control of his actions.

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