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Over the past two weeks, I heard this joke three times:

Q: What do you call a sword swallower with health insurance?
A: A Canadian!


In this week’s Show and Tell, I spoke with two American sword-swallowing couples about their experiences with horrific, uninsured throat injuries! Palace of Wondersemployees and traveling side-show act Tyler Fyre and Thrill Kill Jill (above) and Centreville, Va. performers Charon Henning and Alex Kensington were kind enough to share their incredible injury stories (and their lame industry jokes).

Says Palace of Wonders museum director James Taylor,

Self-deprecation is a necessary element to the side-show business. Performers use massive amounts of double entendree, because that’s the way to make most of these acts palpatable to the audience: They make it seem funny so that the crowds can get past the hairs standing on the backs of their necks.

Neck hairs, step right up: Click here for a sword swallowing, fire breathing audio slideshow with Tyler and Jill.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery.