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Seriously silly: Performers talk about the business of entertaining kids

Seriously silly: Performers talk about the business of entertaining kids

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Oh My Gosh Josh

Joshua Routh, known as Oh My Gosh Josh, performs outside of Craft Alliance Center of Art and Design, 6640 Delmar Blvd., during the Loop Ice Carnival on Saturday, Jan. 18, 2020. Routh is a founder of Circus Kaput and performs at events around the city. During his performance, Routh blew and ate fire as well as swallowed a sword. Photo by Christine Tannous

These St. Louis-area entertainers never grew up — but they’ve made a serious business of tossing toilet paper, electrocuting pickles, swallowing fire, juggling on stilts and answering onstage phone calls via banana.

Maybe you've seen them at the local library, maybe you've booked them for a kids birthday party or maybe you've watched them entertain on the streets of St. Louis. 

They say that today’s kid audiences are a little tougher, their parents a bit more demanding. They know that in today’s age, a live entertainer is no simple replacement for a screen or video.

It’s better.

“Live entertainment is irreplaceable,” said Chad Jacobs, who performs a musical magic show for kids as Chef Bananas. “It’s something that has an infinite amount of value compared to a bounce house or a snow cone truck."

Joshua Routh, who performs as Oh My Gosh Josh, says he often starts a show with a fun lesson in audience etiquette — sit with legs crossed, hands in your lap, don’t pick your neighbors’ noses. “They’re so used to everything being on demand,” he says of kids. "They don’t know how to react during a live performance.”

We spoke to six local entertainers, who entertain the young and the young at heart, about what they do and why.

 

“Live entertainment is irreplaceable. It’s something that has an infinite amount of value compared to a bounce house or a snow cone truck."

Chad Jacobs, who performs a musical magic show for kids as Chef Bananas

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