Jero the Jester Talks Retirement, His Career, Carnival Ball, And More.
-In a one-on-one sit down interview, The GasLight Website spoke with GLC creator Jero "The Jester" Keenom to discuss the success of the first annual Carnival Ball, his career as a circus performer up to this point, retirement rumors, and more. The full interview can be found below:
Let's start with The Carnival Ball, a lot transpired there last weekend, tell us how you feel now that it's been a few days since the event:
Jero: It's almost unreal, how well the show went over. Out of the $1000 we aimed to reached for Arizona Veterans Helping Veterans, we made about $736, which is more than double what we expected to earn for the charity. The Arizona Circus scene hasn't come together like that since I've been apart of it, at least not without some big corporate backer to help raise the charity money. What we did as a circus, and a business, was all our own work. We promoted, we reached out to the charity, we called the radio stations and magazine websites personally, and through all that we almost reached our goal all on our own. I couldn't be more proud of what The GasLight Circus accomplished last Saturday.
At the end of the show, you dropped a proverbial bombshell after the show's curtain call by telling everyone in attendance that there is a chance that, due to a nagging medical issue, you may have to retire from active circus performing unless the issue can be solved. What can you tell us about how you're doing, and how the cast received the news.
Jero: There were tears. Multiple times during the day for me leading up to that. I actually had told the cast at rehearsal before the doors opened the night of the show. Which just lead to more tears, I've known a lot of the GLC cast for years, over multiple milestones of my career, friends who mean the world to me. When the time came to tell the fans, I almost couldn't, because I don't think I have to tell you that I'm not ready to retire, not by a long shot. I'm in good spirits, I'm seeing doctors, and I'm not going to let this beat me. What's happening, is that my left shoulder is more or less deteriorating, and if surgery or any other medical procedures can't fix the problem, then the damage will travel to my spine over time, which will happen faster if I continue performing. As I said though, I'm in good spirits. After the show, my partner (GLC performer Finna the Fool) caught me alone backstage, shedding a tear at the idea of this being my last show, and reassured me that it's not over for Jero the Jester. So I'm holding onto that. It's not over until I say it's over.
You've been performing all over Arizona since 2010, in the event that your shoulder holds up, how much longer would you like to continue performing?
Jero: As long as I can, but realistically? Maybe five or ten more years. I really want to get the chance to perform outside of the country, that's probably the one thing I haven't gotten to do yet as a performer. When I DO retire, hopefully on my own terms, I want to give young and new performers a chance to make their mark through GasLight Circus. GLC doesn't end when I do, I'll always be a part of it, and hopefully find the next Jero the Jester out there to take my place when it's my time to walk away.
Finally, what's next for The GasLight Circus?
Jero: Right now, we're in our off-season, and taking a break over the summer to put together new acts, new stories, and maybe find a new performer or two. Our first order of business at the moment is funding, since we gave all the Carnival Ball proceeds to charity, we're a little short on our end of the season finances, and we're hoping to start a GoFundMe campaign in the next few days to see if our amazing fans can help us out one more time so we can come back in August with our next show, which we've workingly titled "Debauchery". Until then, just keep an eye out on social media for The GasLight Circus, a lot of us also perform for other shows, we'll be around in one way or another.