Who is 23 years old, can fit through a tennis racket and bears an uncanny resemblance to British comedian and rubberman Mr. Bean? Answer: Aidan Koper.
Koper, now in his fourth year of a double major in astrophysics and mathematics at U of T, performed a “stupid human trick” on CBS’s Late Show with David Letterman last May. With musical accompaniment by Letterman’s sidekick – and U of T alumnus – Paul Shaffer (BA 1971 UC), Koper nudged and twisted his entire body through a stringless tennis racket while juggling two balls with his free arm.
And his talents didn’t go unnoticed by another Letterman guest, actress Natalie Portman, who was there promoting the latest Star Wars film. Later in the show, when Letterman asked Portman if she was seeing anyone, she answered no, but she thought the astrophysicist was cute. “He can jump through a tennis racket for me any day,” she said.
Koper, who also eats fire and can balance bicycles and chairs on his face, spent much of the summer performing tricks at busker festivals across the country. He says he has noticed many like-minded people in the trade. “A surprising proportion of good jugglers are also mathematicians or engineers or something like that. Just something I’ve noticed,” he says matter-of-factly. “I think the mathematical part of the mind is also responsible for motor control and makes you able to juggle.”