When Tyler Fyre and Thrill Kill Jill (real names: Tyler and Jill Fleet) aren't tending to their children in their Harpers Ferry, WVa., home, they're engaging in their other passion: sword swallowing.
"It's a great conversation to have with the guy sitting next to you on the plane," said Fyre, the 37-year-old ringmaster and sword swallower of the Lucky Daredevil Thrill Show. 'Hi Bob, from Des Moines, nice to meet you and funny you should ask, I'm a sword swallower.' Where the conversation goes from there really tells you more about the other person than it does about me."
Fyre, who also works as a technician who wires computer and telephone networks, rose to fame after his former roommate trained him how to swallow swords for the performance at the Sideshow in Coney Island, eventually roping in Jill to join the fun after meeting her while working. "On Valentine's Day in 2006 I was on tour as the MC of a dancing girl show with the World Famous Pontani Sisters. After the show I met a girl in a red dress and a year later, to the day, she married me," said Fyre.
Fyre and Thrill Kill Jill, 33, have their own Lucky Daredevil Thrill Show, and will perform alongside more than 20 sword swallowers at the 7th Annual World Sword Swallower's Day celebration on Saturday, outside of Ripley's Believe It or Not! Odditorium at the Inner Harbor.
Not only will Thrill Kill Jill be showcasing her talents during their Science of Sword Swallowing show, she will be doing it while seven months pregnant. She first successfully completed this in 2011, when she became the first pregnant sword swallower in the world. The free performances will start at 11 a.m. at Ripley's Believe It or Not! Baltimore Odditorium, at 301 Light St. in the Inner Harbor.
The duo took a break from sword swallowing and day care duty to their two children, Hank Lightning, 2, and Duke Dynamite, 1 (yes, those are their awesome real names), to talk to us about some of their likes, dislikes and craziest experiences in the business.
What can we expect from your performance?
TF: People always ask how do we do it. And so we explain some of the science of how sword swallowing really works. It's a fascinating art that goes back over 4,000 years. And done right, it's fun to watch. With just over 100 working sword swallowers in the world, there are more Olympic athletes and pop stars.
Worst pet peeve?
TF: Restaurants without a hat rack.
TKJ: I do not like wet bread.
What song/songs are you loving and what song/s are you hating right now?
TF: I'm loving the Jimmy Fallon and Bruce Springsteen version of "Whip My Hair." And hate when the radio plays that emergency alert signal for another snowstorm.
TKJ: Favorite song is hands down the "Mickey Mouse Clubhouse" hot dog song.
Trend that has exceeded its natural lifespan?
TF: Girls with tattoos. (TKJ has plenty)
TKJ: Handlebar mustaches (Fyre has one)
TV Shows you can't get enough off?
TKJ: I am a huge "True Blood" fan.
Favorite place to get a drink in Baltimore?
TKJ: Creative Alliance
Favorite and least favorite fashion statement?
TF: Being stylish and looking good means dressing for the weather. If it's below freezing and you are walking to Starbucks in a short skirt or a light jacket, I feel like I should put my spare change in your no-foam latte.
TKJ: I love it when dogs wear clothing but I'm not a big fan of cats in clothing. Dogs don't seem to mind as much as cats.
Would you encourage others to get involved in sword swallowing?
TF: Sword swallowing is not for everyone. There's a reason not many people choose to do it. So I can't really encourage anyone to try, but if it's for you, you'd be foolish to do anything else.
TKJ: IT is hard to say whether or not I would encourage others to get involved in sword swallowing. It depends on the person and on the training available to them.
Have you ever had a mishap or issue while performing?
TF: Early on in Coney Island, I swallowed a neon glass sword that broke inside me. In order to have the cuts heal without getting infected, I had to keep putting alcohol on the inside of my throat. It was a lucky break.
TKJ: In June of 2007 I was performing at the Burlesque Hall of Fame competition in Las Vegas, and during the snake act my snake bit me in the face. The video can be seen on YouTube.
AS TOLD TO CASSIDY STERLING