Mark Nizer has no short description of what he does.
Comedian, juggler, multimedia artist, musician, inventor.
“Combine them all together, and you get my life work,” Nizer said.
Perhaps the best definition might be entertainer.
He is bringing his “Mark Nizer-3D!” act to the Garner Performing Arts Center on May 11 as part of the It’s Showtime series.
Nizer’s show involves comedy, juggling and special effects using lasers, smoke and even a heart monitor. The show has more than 2,200 lighting cues during the 90-minute presentation.
He juggles; but he does a lot more, too.
The Concord, Mass., native, who honed his earliest routines at the Masschusetts Institute of Technology, is far from your average juggler – even far from a juggler who tosses around sharp objects and things on fire.
Nizer has evolved from the days when he amazed audiences with just his juggling. He learned you have to talk while you juggle to keep the crowd involved, so he developed a stand-up comedy routine.
Nizer started juggling when he was 12 years old, about 30 years ago. He has added more and more elements each year. An audience might be amazed by juggling fiery propane tanks, bowling balls, pingpong balls and electric carving knives – but he is always looking for enhancements.
“Actually, it is 4-D,” Nizer said. “3-D is something they do in movies to make it look more realistic. I’m already live, so what I do is really 4-D.”
The audience can don 3-D glasses that separate the colors. Reds look about 10 feet closer than they really are, and blues seem farther way. The yellow and greens float somewhere in the middle.
Imagine lasers. Toss in juggling. Sprinkle with humor.
Nizer has toured with Bob Hope and opened for performers such as George Burns, Ray Charles, Jerry Seinfeld, Gladys Knight, The Temptations, Johnny Mathis and Barry Manilow.
The Los Angeles Times once wrote that Nizer is one of the best practitioners of the art of juggling, and Hope, who carried Nizer on various USO tours, said, “He keeps getting better and better, and I didn’t think that was possible.”
He has been on many of the late-night shows and has won about every major award for jugglers.