If you’re thinking ‘new year, new career,’ but don’t want to be chained to a desk, allow Stuff’s daily news podcast Newsable to assist. In a week-long series of special summer episodes, the team chats to people with jobs or workplaces outside the ordinary. Today, professional juggler, Paul Klaass.

Paul Klaass remembers the 90s and early 2000s fondly. It was a time when buskers like him were viewed as “rock stars,” and they could make “crazy money”.

Now, he said, busking is “not in its heyday” and making a living from it is tougher. The Covid pandemic and more exposure to tricks on TV talent shows were two of the reasons.

In an interview on Newsable, he said the amount of money put into performers’ hats after shows was lower in 2023, but “we [buskers] can still get out there, and we can do shows, and we can make a living.

”We’ve been working harder. You just do more shows, you know, you just grind harder and try and get your money.”

Klaass, a Kiwi professional juggler for 22 years, who describes his style as “high-end circus tricks and low-end comedy,” still has talent and passion to burn. He’s set to perform at the Auckland International Buskers Festival this month.

He spoke about travelling all over the world as a busker, and winning a medal for New Zealand at an international juggling competition in Canada.

He discussed his humble beginnings, learning to juggle with skateboard wheels at age 10, and said he wasn’t a natural at first. These days, you can see him juggling with knives about 3.5m in the air.

Listen to the full interview here.

Newsable is Stuff’s daily news podcast, wrapping up what’s worth talking about in a short package every weekday morning. Make sure to like and follow us wherever you get your podcasts.

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