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July 6, 2022

Making Paranormal Cirque II, the Scariest & Funniest Circus Around

Making Paranormal Cirque II, the Scariest & Funniest Circus Around

Today, we’re going on-location to Paranormal Cirque II. Paranormal Cirque combines horror, acrobatics, and comedy to create a 2-hour experience that’s currently touring the US. We’ll learn about the creation and specifically about the scripting of...

Today, we’re going on-location to Paranormal Cirque II. Paranormal Cirque combines horror, acrobatics, and comedy to create a 2-hour experience that’s currently touring the US. We’ll learn about the creation and specifically about the scripting of this unique show. Subscribe to all our offerings:


Steve: My name is Steve Copeland, I'm one of the clowns, the social media director, and publicity director for Paranormal Cirque II.

Ryan: My name's Ryan Combs, and I am the artistic director, and one of the comedians after a fashion.

Steve: Paranormal Cirque II is a live entertainment event that's unlike anything people have ever seen before.

Ryan: That's right. It mixes circus with horror themes. We have actors roaming around scaring people, but at the same time they're the acrobats that are going to be flying through the air, walking upside down over your head, walking on wires. So, we are a touring show, so the first thing that you're going to see when you pull up to our venue is our big black tent. We call it our BBT. But not to worry, there is air conditioning, and it's haunted.

Steve: Haunted air conditioning. It's better than regular air conditioning.

Ryan: Yeah, oh the chills!

Steve: You say we're a touring show, I thought we were a Tourette’s show. Damnit!

Ryan: You're a failure.

Steve: I know. That's what my mom always tells me. She's dead, so she's a ghost. So, she tells me.

Ryan: She's, here all the time.

Steve: Paranormally, yeah, that's part of the show.

Ryan: It's part of his life.

Steve: I get grief from my undead mother. So yeah, you pull up and you see our beautiful black and red tent.

Ryan: Our BBT.

Steve: Our BBT, excuse me, and when you enter, when the guests enter the tent, they are immersed in the haunted world of Paranormal Cirque II.

Ryan: That's right. We have our actors walking around scaring you.

Steve: It is for adults.

Ryan: You want to say that.

Steve: Yes, that's right. There's lots of bad language and sexual humor.

Ryan: Mostly spoken by us.

Steve: I would say a hundred percent spoken by us.

Ryan: We're the only ones that speak.

Steve: That's right, although by the end of the show, you'll wish we didn't. What I was trying to say before I was so rudely interrupted.

Ryan: You're welcome.

Steve: This is a horror circus, which means there are traditional circus acts with a horror twist. So, the first act that happens are our acrobatic zombies from Colombia, which their main export is acrobatic zombies, apparently.

Ryan: And coffee.

Steve: And coffee, which explains why the zombies can fly so high, or what turns you into the zombie.

Ryan: Cocaine. No?

Steve: No.

Ryan: All right.

Steve: Then there's the introduction of Steve and Ryan, that's us.

Ryan: That's right, we're the ghost hunters.

Steve: That's right, after the introduction to Steve and Ryan, the ghost hunters, you're going to see a possessed girl flying through the air by her hair. Then we have our amazing butcher, who's also an amazing juggler. Then there is the famous game show, Suck My...

Ryan: Blood! Suck my blood.

Steve: I'm glad you said that, I was going to say something different.

Ryan: So that's name of the game show.

Steve: That's everybody's favorite unholy game show.

Ryan: That's high stakes improv comedy. We never know, you're never going to see two of those the same, because we don't know what we're going to do when we get on stage.

Steve: I don't even know where I am right now, and we also go through a thrilling transformation, but I don't want to say more about that because then people won't buy a ticket to come see the show.

Ryan: Not only is the show, you know, scary and intense, and a touch on horror, it's also hilarious. We worked really, really hard. Fear has never been this funny, we work really hard.

Steve: Ooh, I like that. That's all I wanted to say.

Ryan: We have worked really hard to create a fun experience for all ages, all ages, meaning 18 and up.

Steve: 13 and up

Ryan: 13 and up.

Steve: Can you edit that?

Ryan: Fun experience.

Steve: Ages, 13 to 17 require an adult guardian, but if you're over 18...

Ryan: Oh yes, and irresponsible adult guardian.

Steve: That's right, just find somebody, bribe a homeless guy with a bottle of booze.

Ryan: So, when we started writing this show, it was important that we touched on different areas of the horror theme. It's a show that was written for fans of this genre, like we wrote it with them in mind.

Steve: Horror and comedy are very similar, because they're both about the buildup of tension and then the release, where in laughter it's a laugh.

Ryan: Steve and I are all about the release.

Steve: Yes, yes, we are. In comedy, the laugh is a release, and horror, the scream is a release.

Ryan: We wanted to write strong moments that we could hit for horror fans, but we wanted to leave a lot of room for improvisation, a lot of room. Because we tour all over the country it was important for us to be sure that we could experience local culture, and then use things that the people around the area would be accustomed to.

Steve: For instance, we were in Hemit last week, and I saw a lot of people on social media making jokes about, "oh, you don't need to go to that show. You can just go on Florida Avenue, and you'll see plenty of zombies and scary things. Da, da, da." So, I started making a joke about Florida Avenue in the show, and people aid it up. So, it's nice to have that ability to pull from local culture.

Ryan: In our routines, we try and inspire the audience to participate as much as... you know, there are hecklers at every show, let them shout stuff out, it gives me an opportunity to bounce off of them and have a great time, and give the audience a unique show, every show. It keeps it fresh for us, it keeps us constantly having to keep our chops up, and it makes it fun for the people.

Steve and I don't really like audience participation that much, because we feel like other people like it, except for the person who's usually being made fun of, or insulted, or something like that. When we do audience participation in our show, we try and make sure that the people we're picking are lifted up, are celebrated for whoever they are. But there are moments where people that want to get involved in the show can come on up and get involved or shout things out. It's really important to us to make sure our crowd is involved in the show that we're doing. So, a piece of them is in every performance.

Steve: We want everyone to leave having had a good time.

Ryan: No one feeling, you know...

Steve: Kind of alienated or made fun of. We definitely want everyone to have a great experience. Even if you're sitting farther back, you're still going to get some kind of performer interaction.

Ryan: That's right. It's one thing for a performer to just wave in general at the public, it's another thing for them to really make a connection, and that's what we try and stress with all of our performers. Is, make a connection, make eye contact, and get the people involved, because personality is what's going to make the audience happy. Now, with cell phones, people can look down at their phone at any moment, and keeping heads up is very difficult. That's why we do improv comedy.

 This is a traveling show because we want to bring this kind of entertainment to the people that are not going to travel very far to see it. We're in a lot of people's backyards here, they can come very close, it's a very affordable show. For the price of going to a movie, you get an immersive experience at the beginning of the show, then you get a whole show of horror themed acrobatics, and comedy in your face for two hours. It's like two shows for the price of one. And it's right in your backyard.

Steve: Yeah, you don't have to travel to a major city to go to a major haunt attraction.

Ryan: And you don't have to wait for Halloween.

Steve: I was going to say that.

Ryan: Well, I said it first, and it sounded great. Did I mention we're the comedians that everyone hates?

Steve: Paranormal Cirque will continue to tour, there are actually two units of Paranormal Cirque. The other unit is currently in New Jersey, and then our unit is in California. The other unit has been operating for four years, and it's just gotten bigger and better and more involved. And that's the hope we have for this show as well, to just grow it and make it more involved, more ornate in the decorations in the pre-show.

Ryan: That's right, we've put the show together. Now is the opportunity to just make it more immersive, get more of our performers in the audience, get more of the audience involved in what's going on, and then decorate the crap out of it.

We have to move this down the road, sometimes on a weekly basis, and it can be difficult, but we're trying to find creative ways to overcome those things so we can bring this kind of entertainment to people all over the United States, year-round.

Steve: Yeah, it's a big country and there's a lot of horror fans out there. So, the future is wide open for Paranormal Cirque. Get your hand outta my face.

Ryan: Okay.