Jeff Civillico: Comedy in Action Saturday-Monday, Wednesday & Thursday, 2 p.m., $44. The Quad, 794-3261.
How’s this for a backhanded compliment: Jeff Civillico is as good as comedy juggling gets. He’s funny, he’s got chops and he’s got the passion and gratefulness that Terry Fator had back at the Hilton. Civillico juggles balls, pins, bowling balls and people. He juggles in the dark and on a unicycle.
But 75 minutes, for some, is a lot of juggling. And I think Jeff knows this. That’s why the show is called Jeff Civillico: Comedy in Action, as opposed to Jeff Civillico: Comedy Juggler. That’s why his fliers advertise “physical comedy, audience interaction & insane energy”—without mentioning the J-word.
That said, if an hour-plus of juggling doesn’t automatically turn you off, you’re going to love Civillico. As he balanced an audience member’s hat on his face (then a chair, then a 10-foot ladder) I looked around and saw smiles in every direction. Civillico’s second bit—getting on an extra-tall unicycle with the help of two dudes from the audience—is the best. Spoiler: One guy’s face ends up in Civillico’s crotch. “This is easier if you don’t fight it,” Civillico advises.
Before long, he’s up and rolling and catching marshmallows in his mouth. He skewers a marshmallow with a machete and juggles it along with two clubs, eating the marshmallow without breaking the cascade pattern. “My mother would be so embarrassed if she saw me right now. She’s so much better at this trick.”
Civillico juggles five balls and five pins (not at the same time). He even gets a 5-year-old girl from the audience in on the act. Each bit goes on for the precise right amount of time. That’s Civillico’s genius: He carefully monitors audience reactions—the applause, cheers and laughter—and he lets it go on interrupted. But the second the sound wave crests, he moves on to the next bit before the excitement dies down. The result is 75 minutes of silly joy. Save a stolen bit from the Amazing Johnathan tagged onto the end, Civillico is a fresh new presence on the Strip.