Keith Nelson – Variety Artist

Keith Nelson

Variety Entertainer


Sideshow Marvel * Circus Impressario


Emcee * Clown * Vaudevillian * Juggler


Keith Nelson is co-founder of 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. He has been featured on television, appeared in film, showcased in print media around the world, and still prefers a live audience. Keith has world class acts that can be added to any show or event. Whether you are looking for 3 minutes of amazement for  45 minutes of danger, comedy and skill, Keith is ready with suitcase in hand.


Keith has an act for every stage:

carnival sideshow to Broadway,

college to kindergarten,

circus to burlesque,

strolling entertainment to featured act





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

Skills include:



  • Juggling
  • Unicycle
  • Plate Spinning
  • Balancing
  • Mouth stick
  • Devil Stick
  • Hat manipulation
  • Diabolo
  • Top Spinning
  • Mouthstick
  • Clown
  • Manipulative Miscellanea


  • Sword Swallowing
  • Fire Eating
  • Human Blockhead
  • Mental Floss
  • Bed of Nails
  • Candy Pitches

Wild West

  • Lasso Spinning
  • Whip Cracking
  • Knife throwing
  • Gun Spinning
  • Knot throwing


  • Stilt walking
  • Balloon Sculpture
  • Penny farthing (antique cycle)
  • Cowboy
  • Juggler
  • Clown
  • Pirate
  • Unicycle

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
Music Box at Borgata Hotel and Casino, Atlantic City, NJ
Hall & Christ’s World of Wonders Sideshow, Meadowland Fair, 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 Credits:

A Taste of Vaudeville (International Juggling Convention), Cascade of Stars (International Juggling Convention), Niblo’s Garden (Green-wood Cemetery), 

Consulting/Teaching Credits:
On the Town (Broadway), Cirque du Monde (Bronx), The Friends School (NYC), Late Show with David Letterman, International Juggling Convention, Will Rogers Follies (multiple productions)

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, Momentum, Pepsi, Phish, Magic Hat Brewing Company, Coney Island Brewery, Green-wood Cemetery Education/Traning:

  • BA in Social Sciences, Hampshire College, Amherst, MA 1992
  • A quarter of a century on stages around the world
  • 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), Walked across the United States in 1991, ran for President of the United States of Amerca, as Kinko the Clown in 2008 and 2012 (he is yet to concede).