Busker HoF 56 – The Raspyni Brothers Interview


This Episode proudly sponsored by:
The Lawrence Busker Festival

Going into it’s 8th year, the Lawrence Busker Festival in Lawrence Kansas is one of the largest gatherings of street performers in the United States. The 2015 Festival runs May 29 – 31 and as it says on their website, it’s three days of family fun with some of the most talented freaks, geeks, artists and musicians around. Find out more about the festival at – Lawrencebuskerfest.com and HUGE thanks to them for sponsoring this episode!

Episode Notes:

Comments: The Raspyni Brothers, Dan Holzman and Barry Friedman, have a career that’s the envy of most professional entertainers. They’ve traveled the world, got to open for some of the biggest names in show business and even performed for the President of the United States of America. There partnership has spanned more than three decades and has left a pretty indelible mark on the world.

There’s certainly a powerful chemistry between these two jugglers when ever they hit the stage, but beyond this amazing stage presence, the key to their success has been the their ability to divide the ‘Show-Business’ responsibilities. Dan’s ability to craft customized comedy for corporate client’s and Barry’s ability to negotiate and deal with those clients combined with a shared work ethic paved the way to their enormous success.

Mike Wood connected with the guys at the 2013 Edmonton International Street Performers Festival to discuss how they got started and laugh at some of the amazing stories and adventures that they’ve shared over the years.

Bonus Images From the archives with commentary by The Raspyni Brothers:

01 - 1982-renfair“Texas Renaissance Festival – our first year in 1982”

02 - 1984-ija championship

“Pretty sure this was an IJA Championship… Maybe ’84? We won in ’84 and ’88”

03 - 1985-baseball-framed

“A photo shoot we did in Houston, TX – 1985. We had some ideas to sell an act to the Dodgers.”


“Most of the ’90s were filled with opening acts. From left to right – Touring with Lou Rawls – Mostly Vegas and Atlantic City, Opening act for Dana Carvey – another regular gig in Vegas and AC, We opened for Dennis Miller for 4 years in the ’90s. This picture includes my favorite hairpiece I ever had.”


“More shots from the ’90s opening for some show biz greats! On the left – years on the road with Tom Jones – a real highlight was attending his 50th birthday party in Vegas. I’m still remember some of what I saw there. On the right – this was backstage at the FOX theater in Detroit in ’93. Patti LaBelle was such an angel. And no kidding, most nights we were the only white people in the entire theater. We had 10 seconds to win over the crowd (they were more generous in those days) and we always did. Patti did an acapella solo in the middle of her show. No mic… like a goddess. She always sang/mentioned our name during that section. Goose bumps even writing about it. The other acts we rotated with on this tour was Willie Tyler&Lester, and Paul Rodriguez.”


“So many good times with Howie… All over the US and Canada. Canadian tour in the Lear Jet was a real highlight of my life. Even got to fly it a few times! I hated the day the tore down this marquee.”


“Robin Williams was a big part of our life. Called us right after the Tonight Show and we opened for every concert he did for 6 years. A lot of good times.”

08-Tonight Show

“Passing fire around Jay on the tonight show… no photo… just this lousy screen shot. We opened for him a ton in the ’90s and this was the night that the Tonight Show switched to broadcasting in HD. He used us to show what the difference was in wide vs. standard format. Funny… there were babes playing catch with beach
balls behind us.”


“July 2013, The Raspyni Brothers come to Edmonton to play at the Edmonton International Street Performers Festival and hook up with Mike Wood to record this podcast and team up with The Checkerboard Guy for a fun team show!”


“The Wall of  juggling clubs with autographs from – David Brenner | Johnny Carson, Ed MacMahon, Doc Sevrenson | Ronald Reagan (white house, 1988) | Jonathan Winters | Donald O’Connor, Tim Conway | Billy Crystal | George Burns, Walter Matthew (needless to say, my favorite from the Sunshine Boys), Steve Martin and Martin Short | Magic Johnson | Dana Carvey | Howie Mandel | Merv Griffin | Lou Rawls | Garry Shandling | Don Knotts, Mickey Rooney | Jay Leno | Patti LaBelle | Dennis Miller | Paul Anka | Almost totally worn away: Robin Williams”

And thanks again to The Lawrence Buskers Festival for sponsoring this episode!


Find out more about Sponsoring this Podcast by emailing cbg@BuskerHallofFame.com

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