• winner: Most Marvelous Muppet
• nominee: Quality Kitten
• nominee: The Rubberface
2019 Silver Tusk Awards
• nominee: Most Utterly Ridiculous
2018 Silver Tusk Awards
• nominee: Comic Genius
• nominee: Geek of All Media
2017 Silver Tusk Awards
• honoree: Life Sentence Award
• nominee: Class Clown
• nominee: Master of the Sweep
the story goes... A great castle etched from marble and diamond and silver dominated the verdant countryside, the massive walls gleaming brilliantly beneath the high summer sun. Inside the fortress, past the ivory gates, grand halls stretched on as far as the eye could see, lined with knights, handsome and decked in ornate armor of silvery steel, amid throngs of servants and maidens, bards and nobles; a veritable kingdom laid before me.
A luxurious silver throne lies within sight, and a wizened yet powerful king sitting upon it, his crown a prism as it breaks the sunlight into a beautiful spectrum of color. He's watching me, along with everyone else in this throne room.
I look down and see the trappings of a jester, dags and bells hanging off my form as I bow low before my king, the jingling of my costume in my ears. I open my mouth, part of me hoping to ask how I got here, how long I can stay, how beautiful this world around me appears...
And a joke falls from my lips.
It's an old one, I've told it many times before. It hangs in the air as an echo in the grand throne room, and, for the shortest, fleeting moment when I look into the king's face, I almost fear for my life. Then, in those seconds that could fill an eternity... he laughs, and a wave of raucous laughter moves through the room. I cast my gaze around and see my heaven... Laughter and smiling faces, contorted in joyous ecstasy, finding solace in the simplest pleasures.
This is my paradise, my sanctuary. A fantasy crafted within the mind of the sinful Jester of Vice, Oliver Swisskey.
Born Oliver Caine to a drunken Irish charlatan and his too-young Italian bride, he was the youngest boy in a brood of too many children along the squalid slums of Jersey City. Most of his early life was spent evading his bullying father and older brothers while at home or the lawmen while he was on the streets. Oliver suffered a childhood of abuse and neglect, his mother broken or absent, nearly a child herself overwhelmed by the burden of her constantly growing family, and his father brutal and free with his barbaric form of "discipline," having spent most of his life in bars or behind them.
The only solace the young boy had was a storybook he stumbled upon, a book that harkened back to a time when his parents were stable, happy, and loving. It was a story of fantasy and adventure, of brave knights who traveled throughout the realm, righting wrongs and stamping out injustice. Oliver read of their courage and bravery, of the noble deeds of their king, and the fantastical creatures that called that world home. The character he loved the most, however, was a young jester, who was as quick with his tongue as he was on his feet, always ready with a clever joke to bring a smile to even the most humorless of creatures. That joker, wishing only to see the beauty within all things in the world, quickly became young Oliver's hero.
He quickly began to emulate his hero, learning to be quick-minded as well as fleet-footed, and when the troubles of home grew too great to bear, Oliver would find a quiet corner and drift off into this world of fantasy, where he could play the jester he loved so much, where he can simply soak in the beauty of this world and lose himself in the waves of laughter. That gleaming castle became his sanctuary, his home away from hell.
In time, like many people as they grow up, Oliver Caine began to lose his youthful imagination as he grew into a man, and the hardships of life weighed down upon his shoulder more and more. His life revolved around working his fingers to the bone for barely enough money to cover the rent on his hovel of an apartment. He grew to hate life as his fantasy escape slipped further and further from his grasping thoughts, the entropy of existence closing in around him.
It was then that Oliver turned to what many did when this reality was too much sorrow to bear... He indulged in booze and drugs, and, strangely, they worked! Like a child again, that magnificent castle came into sight, in all its grandeur and majesty, and he found himself swept up once more in the beauty and laughter of his perfect world. And each time, when the ride was over, when the ugly horrors of the world reared their heads once again, Oliver swore he would do whatever he must to escape just one more time.
So, Oliver's soul descended into a maelstrom of wretched vice, abhorrent sin, and hedonistic pleasure. He started as a thief, then began to sell his body, robbing his marks in the wee hours of the morning after... And even honed his trade as an assassin, where his charm and delightful wit served him well to lull targets into a false sense of security. There was nothing Oliver wouldn't do, but... in his mind, a chilling transformation was taking place.
Every time Oliver would return from his paradise of beauty and laughter, some of the jester's essence would come back with him. The young urchin saw less and less of the squalid misery of the world, replaced with beauty, laughter, and pleasure. Beauty in ugliness. Laughter in misery. Pleasure in pain. But this wasn't the true jester of Oliver's drug-induced fantasy. This was something different and wholly sinister.
|all rights reserved to Viktor Devonne - all performer photography belongs to the respective creators|