Contortionist, comedian and magician comes to campus

Gannon University was treated to a night of pure entertainment Friday as Jonathan Burns made a stop at the school and put on a show for those interested in finding out what his “flexible comedy” was all about.

Room 104 of the Zurn Science Center was filled with laughs and amazement as Burns twisted his slender body in all sorts of directions, while still finding it in himself to display countless magic tricks and be a comedian.

Burns entered the Zurn lecture hall in a suitcase that was about the size designed for an overnight trip.  The suitcase may have only been big enough to fit a couple of shirts and pairs of pants, but it was big enough for the contortionist/comedian/magician to fit inside and enter his “Flexible Comedy Show” in style.

Once he unfolded his pretzel-like body and pulled himself out of the suitcase, he proceeded to put on an engaging and comedic performance.

The show Burns put on for Gannon was one of many that he has been performing at college campuses and sites all over the world.  This includes over 250 college campuses and performances in the U.S., Canada, New Zealand, Switzerland and the U.K.  He was also recently featured on “The Jay Leno Show” and “The Late Show with David Letterman.”

Following his routine Friday, Burns explained that he knew from a young age he was gifted in the skills he demonstrated and had always had a passion for performing them.

“I was always able to do unusual tricks with my body,” said Burns, who proved this to be true in front of the many Gannon onlookers with stunned faces.

When asked about his multi-talented act, he answered, “I started as a magician when I was about 12.

“Shortly after, I was asked to perform at a family friend’s birthday party, and SHAZAM, I was hooked.”

He wanted to enhance his “birthday party magic act” that he performed at birthdays, church events and retirement homes so he added his unusual talents that include juggling and bending body tricks.

One Gannon student in attendance, Julie Duncan, said, “I was pleasantly surprised because he was absolutely hilarious.”

Duncan admitted that she did not know what to expect from the contortionist but could not stop laughing when Burns would put his leg over his head and was still able say a hilarious joke or perform a magic trick.

Another Gannon student in attendance, Aaron Cox, said, “He was really weird but that’s what made him so funny and entertaining.”

Cox was one of the students who was asked by Burns to assist him in performing a trick on stage.  To help perform these tricks, Cox was asked to wrap toilet paper around his head and hide slices of cheese in his pants.

These types of tricks were just a taste of the antics that Burns gets up to during his unpredictable shows.

Burns said about himself,  “I was the kid who would put his leg over his head in gym class, get the dance party started at any wedding or perform musical armpit farts to impress girls.”

Burns’ self-proclaimed quirky ways were available to watch and enjoy for students and attendees of the show he put on Friday.  The well-rounded comedian received endless laughs, smiles and ovations from his Gannon audience.


Sean Sutton
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