Mainer breaks record for juggling balls while holding a cat


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May 28, 2023

Mainer breaks record for juggling balls while holding a cat

They said it couldn’t be done, but Steve Corning of South Portland didn’t listen

They said it couldn't be done, but Steve Corning of South Portland didn't listen and broke the record anyway.

Actually, nobody said that. Probably because nobody had ever heard of the record.

But, known or not, Corning smashed it and now holds the crown.

This week, the self-described professional weirdo set a new, official record for the longest time spent juggling two balls with one hand while holding a cat in the other.

At 2 minutes, 5 seconds, Corning obliterated the obscure, standing record of 37-and-a-half seconds by a wide margin. That pace was previously set by Corning's friend and fellow Mainer, Jason Tardy of Auburn in September 2020.

"I’m now the proud owner of the dumbest world record," Corning said. "Well, briefly until Jason beats it again."

Both professional jugglers set their records via the website

The Record Setter website, which grew out of the Burning Man festival in 2004, invites people from around the globe to submit evidence of things that only they can do. Then a team of in-house and community moderators verify claims to the best of their abilities.

"The rules are simple: records you submit must be quantifiable, breakable and include sufficient media evidence," the internationally recognized organization's website states. "Creativity is highly encouraged."

In addition to juggling, Corning works as a DJ, actor and improv comic. Tardy's physical comedy and unusual feats have taken him around the country, including three separate juggling appearances at the White House. The pair also work together, as a duo, on occasion.

We sat down to talk with Corning and Tardy about their records this week. Neither Corning's cat, Milo, nor Tardy's cat, Gizmo, were available for comment.

BDN: Jason, how did you come to set the record in the first place?

Tardy: I don't know if you remember, but there was this pandemic going on.

BDN: Oh yeah!

Tardy: Being a creative person, I still wanted to get out there and interact with people. So I was doing Facebook Live shows every day at noon and I was just like, why don't I see if there's some fun world records I could break. So I started looking online — and I did.

BDN: What about you, Steve, what was your motivation?Corning: I just wanted to make Jason laugh, basically. It was April Fool's 2021. I was like, it's April Fool's, I got a cat, I could do that. No problem. Jason and I, in our show, we’re very competitive for the sake of comedy. We’re always trying to one-up each other, make each other do dumber, more dangerous things. And so I did it. I submitted it to the website and then forgot about it.

BDN: Oh, so you submitted it two years ago?

Tardy: I’m pretty sure the website was down, and it's just coming back on now.

Corning: Yeah, I think so.

Tardy: And my first reaction when I heard was: You [expletive].

Corning: [laughing] Print that Troy.

Tardy: [laughing] No, don't quote me. But that record is on my website and in my show — I’ve been lying to people for two years about my ridiculous world record.

BDN: I don't think I could even hold a cat for two minutes, let alone juggle.

Tardy: Yeah. The hardest part, really, is finding a cat that's willing to sit that long.

BDN: What's next for you, Steve? Thinking of breaking any more records?

Corning: There's a couple of things in my show that I always claim are probably world records — just because I can't imagine anyone else doing it. One of them is, I walk across a bed of Legos barefoot while juggling knives. I don't think anyone else does that. So, I’ll probably set that record. And I balance two ladders on my face at the same time — and I’ve never seen anyone else do that.

Tardy: In our duo show, we actually do a thing where I’m standing on a yoga ball, juggling knives and he's on the bed of Legos, juggling plungers. Then, we pass the plungers and knives to each other. Yeah, pretty fun.

BDN: How are you guys not world famous?

Corning: Just wait till this article drops.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Troy R. Bennett is a Buxton native and longtime Portland resident whose photojournalism has appeared in media outlets all over the world. More by Troy R. Bennett

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