Keith Nelson – Variety Artist

Keith Nelson
Variety Entertainer
Award-Winning Clown
Fire Eater, Master Juggler
Keith Nelson is co-founder of Bindlestiff Family Variety Arts, Inc., a.k.a. the Bindlestiff Family Cirkus, a national traveling theater-based circus. Keith learned to juggle and eat fire while in college in 1989. Since then he has learned to swallow swords, educate through vaudeville, be a clown, and run an American circus company.

Classic Variety Keith Nelson spins bowls photo © Jim R Moore

Keith Nelson, Variety Entertainer

Keith has an act for every stage,

carnival sideshow to Broadway,

college to kindergarten,

circus to burlesque,

strolling entertainment to featured act


Keith Nelson web graphic


 Emcee * Clown * Sideshow Marvel * Comedic Character * Gentleman Juggler

Skills include:


  • Juggling
  • Unicycle
  • Plate Spinning
  • Diabolo
  • Top Spinning
  • Mouthstick
  • Clown


  • Sword Swallowing
  • Fire Eating
  • Human Blockhead
  • Bed of Nails

Wild West

  • Lasso Spinning
  • Whip Cracking
  • Gun Spinning


  • Stilt walking
  • Balloon Sculpture
  • Penny farthing (antique cycle)
  • Cowboy

Musical Instruments

  • Concertina
  • Tuba
  • Nose flute


When he is not in the spot light, Keith is available as a instructor/consultant/director.

His influence can be found in Broadway shows, social circus programs, summer camps, independent productions…

Work Experience/Performance Venues:
Avery Fischer Hall (w/Ornette Coleman), NYC
Hall & Christ’s World of Wonders, NJ
Yale Cabaret, Yale University, CT
Toyota Comedy Festival, NYC
Burning Man Festival, NV
Glastonbury Festival, UK
Coney Island Sideshow by the Seashore, NYC
Wild Style Tattoo Convention, Austria
King Opera House, Van Buren, AK
San Diego Street Scene, CA
Blue Angel Cabaret, NYC
Knitting Factory, NYC
Oddville, MTV
The Today Show, NBC
Twisted Lives of Contortionist, Discovery
Rock of Ages, VH-1
212, Fox
On the Inside, BBC
Tudo de Bom, MTV Brazil
Carson Daly Show, NBC
Late Night with David Letterman, CBSTonight Show with Jay Leno
Directing/Consulting/Teaching Credits:
On the Town (Broadway), Cirque du Monde (Bronx), The Friends School (NYC), Late Show with David Letterman, International Juggling Convention

Print Media:
Details, The New York Times, Yahoo, Backstage, Civilzation, Tattoo Savage, Village Voice, Games, New Yorker, Nightclub & Bar Magazine, Cups, Paper, Spectacle, Spin, Shout, Eye, Wall Street Journal, Circus Report

Corporate Clients:
Bendel’s, Cirque Du Soleil, Discovery Channel, Stover Bros. Construction, Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Circus Clown Alley, Village Voice, Club Med, Sunny Delite, KBA Marketing, New York Housing Authority, Hendricks Gin, Pepsi, Phish, and Magic Hat Brewing Company


  • BA in Social Sciences, Hampshire College, Amherst, MA 1992
  • New York Goofs Ultimate Clown School, NY, NY 2001
  • Eccentric Performing with Avner the Eccentric and Julie Goell
  • Tap Dancing at Broadway Dance Center, on and off

Interesting Notes and Honors:
NY Downtown Clown Golden Nose Award winner, performed with Ornette Coleman at Avery Fisher Hall, Boy Scouts of America Eagle Scout, Amateur radio operator (KB4DJU) and Walked across the United States in 1991.