FAIRMONT - "Expect a night that's entertaining and occasionally thoughtful, and occasionally both, and a man incredibly good looking for his years, unfailingly modest ..." rambled commentator, comedian, juggler and Bill of Rights advocate Chris Bliss, describing his upcoming performance at Fairmont Opera House.
Bliss has been in the entertainment business 30-some years, going viral in 2006 with a juggling video that's had 90 million online views and counting. Set to Beatles music, it's not a typical juggling act - the audience will see it for the finale of his show at the Opera House - and Bliss is not a typical comedian.
He majored in comparative literature, a promising young student, until he decided to drop out his junior year to try his hand in juggling.
"I've had six weeks of real jobs in my entire life, but wait, I think it was 12," he said. "I drove cab six weeks and was a parking attendant six weeks and everything else has been entertaining. I started making a living at it in '78, so it's been about 34 years. Although then there were probably a few years of not making a living at it, stumbling around the country, catch as catch can."
But over the years, he made his mark, first with his juggling - he was the opening act for the likes of Eric Clapton, Julio Iglesias and Michael Jackson - and then with his comedy. He's developed a reputation as a smart, witty American satirist.
In talking about the inspiration for his work, Bliss said, "I would say it's that general instinct to take the mask off things, or want to see what's actually going on. ... My comedy seems to be more oriented toward ... trying to find better questions to ask rather than making declarative statements about what the truth is."
That may sound serious, but Bliss says his biggest priority is to make everyone glad they spent their evening with him.
"They're going to have fun" he said, "because people don't have enough fun these days. The best comedians talk serious. It's like a magic trick - you talk about serious stuff and what you do is make it funny. It's a positive, fun experience.
Bliss will travel to Fairmont from Phoenix, where he is working with lawmakers to install the first monument to the Bill of Rights at the State Capitol through a nonprofit organization he founded. Visit mybillofrights.org for more information.
The Opera House performance will be 7:30 p.m. Friday, with tickets available for purchase through www.fairmontoperahouse.com or by calling (507) 238-4900. General admission seating is $20 for adults, and $10 for students.