Perspectives of a Writer and Musician

Issues related to writing, publishing and playing jazz music: One man's muse.
by Al Stevens

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Location: Florida, United States

Monday, April 24, 2006

Contemporary Ventriloquism

If you come here from somewhere other than a ventriloquist discussion group, you might possess a bias about ventriloquists.

You might think that all ventriloquists...

...are homicidal maniacs who think their dummies are alive, who can speak only through their dummies, and who are not very funny. I forgive you that characterization of who we are. You are the unwilling victim of literature and press who relentlessly portray us that way in order to sell copy.

...are wimpy losers who do puppet shows only for bratty kids and are not very funny. There is some truth in this stereotype.

...are unskilled amateurs who fumble around with their dummies, flap their lips like awnings in a hurricane, and are not very funny. There is some truth in this stereotype, too.

Okay, you got two out of three. But you need to know about the others who do not fall into any such category.

For example, many ventriloquists who specialize in family entertainment are indeed good technicians who are funny, too. But. according to what I've seen, read, and been told, many are not. Thus, the stereotypes.

And then there are the adult comedy ventriloquists. You cannot succeed with adult audiences unless you are really good, and so there are not many, if any, bad ventriloquists playing the comedy club circuit.

For starters, check out the number 7 selling DVD on today. It was number 1 for several days.

Jeff Dunham - Arguing With Myself

Jeff Dunham is funny. Damned funny. And he uses ventriloquism and puppets to entertain adults with adult humor.

How about some others? Here are some links:

Otto and George
David Strassman
Jonathan Geffner
Pete Michaels

And, of course, you can look at the promo videos on my website, linked in my profile. Decide for yourselves into which category I fall.


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