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Chris Bliss    

Commentator, American Satirist and Variety Performer

For comedian and commentator Chris Bliss, life has been a study in contrasts. The youngest son of a Washington D.C. attorney, he majored in comparative literature at Northwestern University and the University of Oregon before dropping out at the end of his junior year. The reason? To pursue a career in juggling. And what did his argumentative father think about the choice? "He told me I was ruining my life, which I can understand in retrospect. Your son comes home after his third year of college - where he's on the dean's list - and says he's running off to join the circus . . . what would you say?"

But it wasn't the circus that Chris had his eye on. His act was pure rock 'n roll. Using music ranging from the Beatles to Peter Gabrial, and augmented with custom lighting and special effects, he transformed juggling into aerial choreography. Chris quickly became in demand as the perfect concert opening act, eventually sharing the bill with superstars as diverse as Eric Clapton, Julio Iglesias and Willie Nelson (who called him "the best damn juggler I ever saw"), and culminating with being chosen as the sole opening act for Michael Jackson's Victory Tour in 1984 ("during his beige period", Chris explains). Did he ever meet the Gloved One? "Just once. One of his band members introduced us, and Michael said the oddest thing: '"It must take a lot of rhythm to do what you do." So I said: "You, too, Michael."

The Jackson credit brought him offers to be the featured specialty act in big production shows in Las Vegas, Paris, and even one from Japan. But all had the same Catch-22. "Imagine", Chris recounts, "finally getting over the rainbow, and the pot of gold is there. And all you have to do to get it is perform the same 12-15 minutes a night. forever. That was it for me."

Taking the advice of many friends, he decided to try his hand at stand-up comedy: "The hardest part was going from something where I was one of the best to something where, basically, I wasn't even at the bottom of the list. Hell, I wasn't even on the list." Putting all his energy toward learning his new craft, Chris honed his comedy skills with relentless road work ("40-45 weeks a year").

It paid off. Rediscovering long-lost writing skills, Chris's comedy took on the same innovative edge his variety act was known for. Soon he was headlining top clubs around the country, and appearing on a slew of cable comedy shows. Then came an offer to write for the short-lived "Jackie Thomas Show" on ABC.

Finally his big break came: The "Tonight Show" called - they wanted to take a look at Chris. After his third audition, the spot was approved. Following an auspicious debut, he soon became a "Tonight Show" regular, receiving the ultimate accolade from Jay Leno, who called Chris "one of the brightest comedians around" , adding "I really enjoy this man's work".

Other career highlights include the release of Chris's first comedy CD, "My Act With Your Eyes Closed", which has received airplay on over 100 radio stations across the country (a follow-up is slated for recording and release later this year). His first one-man show, an autobiographical monologue play titled "Walking On The Moon", debuted in late 1999 and has since been produced in both Minneapolis and Los Angeles. Told with compelling honesty and surprising humor, "Walking on the Moon" explores peak experiences and transformational moments, suggesting that ultimately it's our questions, not our answers, that define us.

In the last few years, his talents as a comedian have received the same international recognition he first achieved as a variety artist. In addition to performing in concert in Singapore and across Canada, Chris was chosen to appear at the prestigious Kilkenny Festival in Ireland, and was honored by his selection to perform at the 20th anniversary of the Just For Laughs Festival in Montreal, the largest and most prominent international comedy festival in the world.

Capping it all off, Bliss recently re-introduced juggling to close his stand-up performances. "It's like icing on the cake", he explains. "I start by telling them I once toured with Michael Jackson - and they're just not buying it. They're waiting for the punch line. And then - wham!" Bliss laughs. "I love how totally shocked they are that I'm actually good at it. It's the same thing I love about comedy - that joy of the unexpected."

Speech Topics

Corporate Program

A fresh and captivating new voice in the tradition of American satire from Will Rogers to Dennis Miller, Chris Bliss delivers smart comedy for the information age. Now a Tonight Show favorite, Jay Leno has called him "one of the brightest comedians around." Before beginning his comedy career, Chris was internationally known as an innovative variety artist - touring with major artists from Eric Clapton to Julio Iglesias, and chosen by Michael Jackson as the opening act for his record-breaking "Victory Tour". Insightful humor, capped off with a world-class variety finale that your audience won't soon forget - - Chris Bliss is two of the best in one outstanding performer.

A fresh and captivating new voice in the tradition of American satire from Will Rogers to Dennis Miller, Chris Bliss delivers smart comedy for the information age. Now a Tonight Show favorite, Chris was internationally known as an innovative variety artist before beginning his comedy career - touring with major artists from Eric Clapton to Julio Iglesias, and chosen by Michael Jackson as the opening act for his record-breaking "Victory Tour". Insightful humor, capped off with a world-class variety finale that your audience won't soon forget - Chris Bliss is two of the best in one outstanding performer.

Videos


Speech Topics


Corporate Program

A fresh and captivating voice in the tradition of American satire from Mark Twain to Jon Stewart, Chris Bliss is one of the country's top comedians. His custom writing skills and quick wit make him an excellent choice for emcee, meeting facilitator, and corporate video spokesperson – not to mention a terrific star performer to close out any session!

Chris has opened hundred of concerts, for major stars from Eric Clapton to Asia to Kenny Loggins. He was also chosen as the exclusive opening act for Michael Jackson on his record-breaking Victory Tour. More recently, comedy legends The Smothers Brothers personally invited Chris to join them on a series of concerts, and the #1 rated variety show in France flew him to Paris to reprise his “amazing juggling finale”, as seen on the internet by some 60,000,000 people worldwide.

Two of the Best

Energizing your attendees is the key to a successful meeting. Chris's refreshingly intelligent and original comedy, followed by his “amazing juggling finale”, is guaranteed to bring the house down and send your attendees out buzzing and engaged.

Commitment to Excellence

Telling the story of his successful but questionable quest to become the world's most famous juggler ("a claim to fame as unimpressive as it is difficult to refute") Chris uses his incredible finale to demonstrate the power that mastering the basics has when combined with each individual's passion for excellence. Depending on your conference schedule, this program can be augmented with interactive juggling classes for attendees either before or after the presentation.

Moderator/Facilitator

Intelligence. Preparation. Personality. Along with his comprehensive knowledge of the structure and objectives of corporate events, these are what make Chris Bliss a dynamic choice for your client's next conference. Whether facilitating the flow of executive presentations, moderating panel discussions, or ensuring that your meeting's goals and takeaways are creatively reinforced throughout, Chris brings his years of public communications experience to bear in working with your advance team to cover the essential details.

As the voice of your meeting, Chris's ability to deliver focused and disciplined messaging in a memorable way makes him an effective host for all your critical sessions. As a nationally recognized headline comedian, he can also provide an engaging keynote to open or close your conference. Toss in Chris's amazing juggling finale, seen by tens of millions on the internet, wherever you need one last exclamation point; and you've got a triple threat addition to your conference from a single source talent.

Mastering the Basics

In addition to his on stage duties, Chris Bliss also offers a program at no additional fee where your attendees can learn basic juggling. The program length is one hour, and can be offered multiple times throughout the day to accommodate attendee schedules and be available for the maximum number in your group. Chris then selects the best students from each class, who are called up to join him on stage before his finale to demonstrate the secret of "juggling" the nonstop complexity of today's workplace.

News


Chris Bliss Gets Bill of Rights Monument Built in Phoenix - NYTimes ...

Chris Bliss, a juggler and stand-up comedian, set out to build a monument to the Bill of Rights. On Saturday, his vision will be unveiled in Phoenix.

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