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Last Friday, Feb. 10, CWU students were treated to another celebrity performance during Campus Activities’ “CWU Up-Late” event series.
The SURC Ballroom was taken over by Mad Chad Taylor, a juggler and comedian who specializes in daring comedic acts.
Taylor welcomed the audience with a few jokes before beginning his juggling routine. He started with tennis balls and ended with his well-known chainsaw act.
With help from a few audience members throughout the show, Taylor provided the audience with an experience they craved.
This was not the first time Taylor has performed at CWU. He was here several years ago when he first started touring colleges.
“I haven’t been here since 2002, so it’s been a long time,” Taylor said.
Taylor wasn’t taught how to juggle, since there weren’t any schools or classes for people interested in that particular style of performance art. Instead he began learning how to juggle after receiving a book on the subject for Christmas.
Once he began to pick up on the technique, he went on to do “simple but fun” street performances on the Venice Beach Boardwalk in California. When he noticed other street performers outside, he knew he could do it too.
“I was only 13,” Taylor said. “It was a way to make a few extra bucks.”
In order to incorporate comedy he would juggle plungers and various other fun objects.
After performing for a while, a cruise ship agent got ahold of him and offered him a job performing on cruiseships.
“I was able to perform and see a lot of the world,” Taylor said. It was a good experience for him. However, it wasn’t during his time on the cruise ship that he introduced the chainsaws into his act. Taylor introduced the new element while filming a beer commercial.
“The director thought it [juggling chainsaws] would be cooler,” Taylor said. That was his big break and now he continues to use it as a regular part of his routine.
Taylor is often recognized for his appearance in a Progressive Auto Insurance “Name Your Price” commercial, where he is juggling three chainsaws at a festival when a Progressive customer tries to join in.
“Everybody saw this and it got me more recognizable,” Taylor said.
The commercial is one of his favorites, but it is tied with the time that he traveled to the Caribbean for five days to shoot a commercial for Sunkist.
At the close of Taylor’s performance, he mentioned the importance of supporting live performances around the community.
“I know we now have smartphones to look things up, but it’s good to get out there and see live performances around you,” Taylor said.
Trying new things and taking opportunities is what he aimed for when Taylor began his career as a performer, and he inspires his audience members to do the same.
He wants people to go for what they want and go for their dreams. “You won’t know unless you try,” Taylor said.