So, Reed got out the thesaurus. "Jester sort of jumped out at me," he said, recalling the definition as "one who entertains, one who amazes with tricks."
Seeing as how it had been, oh, a couple hundred years since anyone had called himself a jester, Reed felt free to write his own job description. He incorporated a little music, a little magic, some juggling and just a general good time into his act. His guiding philosophy was that the audience would laugh at him, not the other way around.
"I don't tell jokes. I'm not a stand-up comedian," he said. "The bottom line is, people think I'm funny."
That's true whether he's performing for kids or adults, he said. In fact, parents often tell him that while their kids enjoyed the show, they were the ones who got the biggest kick out of it.
Based in the Berkshires now " except for the winter months, which he spends in his wife's native Antigua " Reed is nearing 60 but still has a busy slate of shows. He said he has performed at schools, festivals, theaters, corporate gigs, nursing homes, weddings and even funerals. He recently spent nine days performing in Haiti, an experience that touched him deeply because he was able to bring smiles to the faces of people who hadn't had much to be happy about since a devastating earthquake hit in January.
Looking back, he admits to being surprised that he was able to make the transition from photojournalist to jester. He credits his success to the fact he's not just joking around when he's performing.
"I'm serious about being funny," he said.
For information, visit Reed's Web site at www.ijest.com. Tickets for his show at Steamer No. 10 are $10 and $12 and can be purchased by calling the theater at 438-5503.
Other Vacation Daze programs at Steamer 10 include the Tanglewood Marionettes on Monday, April 5; Silly Billy Magic on Wednesday, April 7; "Rumpelstiltskin" on Thursday, April 8; and The Gizmo Guys on Friday, April 9.""