Sideshow acts have such an abounding history in our culture and have been entertaining since the Dark Ages. Long before television live shows they were one of the main sources of entertainment. Sideshows are filled with fire eating, knife throwing, body modification, street musicians, sword swallowing, comedy, burlesque dancers, freak shows, and other oddities. Many types of these shows offering variety entertainment have traveled the world, coming to small towns to amaze and even shock.
Recently, I had the privilege to witness The Amazing Captain Stab Tuggo and Maybelle Show at Spartanburg’s Ground Zero. They are a husband-wife duo that specialize in squirm-worthy accomplishments ranging from the popular sword swallowing act to challenging the audience not to cringe while watching Captain picking up bricks with his pierced eyes. The duo have been following their dreams and once landed a spot on the variety show, NBC’s America’s Got Talent. They beat out about 75,000 other acts to make it to the Quarterfinals while making judges Piers Morgan, Sharon Osborne, Nick Cannon and Howie Mandell squirm while covering their eyes.
Witnessing a show from the two is to go to the top of comedy, music, variety and most daring shocking acts. It begins mildly, with The Captain applying a simple mouse trap to his tongue. His wife Maybelle then yanks it off (despite her husband’s plea to “take it easy”). Next up, a short monologue on how to make your hammer look like it’s had some use, and then it’s an almost six inch nail hammered inside The Captain’s nostril.
The chemistry between the couple is just like a ping-pong ball of give and take as they work seamlessly with one another. The remainder of the show consisted of a power drill to the nostril, Maybelle swallowing balloons (never to reappear), sword swallowing and picking up bricks via pierced eye lids. I admit the last bit I had to cover my eyes but peeked through my fingers. It was like a car wreck; you want to see it but you don’t want to see it.
I got to speak at great lengths with both of them at the show. Both are hard working individuals who are doing this line of entertainment for the love of it. They are hardworking parents who declare that their children come first and to live out their dream is secondary. The Captain explained to me that he is doing this at no matter the cost and sacrifices they must overcome. He works as a tattoo artist for fifty hours a week and does Sideshow gigs on the weekends with his wife. I was also informed that he has worked with shock sideshow heavyweights Donny Vomit, Jim Rose and even performed at legendary Coney Island. Those are some remarkable things to jot down on the the old resume!
The show was worth every cent that I paid for it and I’d advocate that if you’re in the market for some shock value entertainment go check out The Amazing Captain Stab Tuggo and his Wife Maybelle… if you dare!
Video by ANDREA COLLINS
~ Jason Robinson
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All photos by Jason Robinson
Jason Wallace Robinson hails from Spartanburg, South Carolina. He’s a writer, storyteller, philosopher, single father raising two children, music lover, dreamer, joker. He writes to speak for the Common Man. He enjoys football and driving around in his ’96 Chevy Lumina adorned with an American Flag and decorative bird offerings.
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