It’s Aidan Koper’s big moment. The astrophysics-and-math grad walks onto a mat, picks up an electric lawnmower, heaves it upside down in the air – and balances it on his face. As the TV cameras move in for a close-up, the studio audience of The Ellen DeGeneres Show screams wildly. A stagehand hurls heads of lettuce at the mower’s blades to show the audience it’s indeed running.
“Unbelievable,” yells DeGeneres.
Even before graduating from U of T in 2004, Koper was dazzling TV audiences. On the Late Show with David Letterman, in 2002, he wiggled through a string-less tennis racket while juggling two balls. He has since progressed to squeezing through a racket rigged with 13-cm torches. “I burn off some of my arm hair, and sometimes my eyelashes, but that’s about it,” says Koper, 30. To prevent his entire body from going up in flames, he spins round and round.