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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » I'm a real boy! » » Is the Art of Ventriloquism "Dying?" (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Bob Baker
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Not uncommonly, I hear ventriloquism being referred to as a "dying art." I'd be curious to know your thoughts on this subject. I'll post mine in a few days. I'm not looking to start an argument here, but I think it's a somewhat controversial subject that we can discuss in a thoughtful, reasonable way.

Bob
damien666
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It's not dying - it's dead...
Honestly, in an age where kids can go to Toys R Us and buy state of the Art Animatronic puppets that talk to them - it's no big deal to see someone do it on stage.
Who knows how the next generations will respond to Vent (if at all). It is going to come down to what is funny and shocking.. In order for vent to survive in a mainstream world - it will need to follow the same trends as mainstream comedy.
Regardlesss, I hope that there is enough work for all of us for a few more years yet (the rest of my life time at least)..
I am also curious to find out what others feel about this issue.
I often hear the 'dying art' line - cause it is usually said with a note of indifference - like no one will really miss it if it ever does disappear. Time will tell..
Wanlu
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Two words to prove that Ventriloquism is alive and kicking...JEFF DUNHAM Smile
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4merryhearts
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Vent is alive and well. A one man ventriloquist show just won a Tony for his Broadway show. Look at shows like America's Got Talent where a singing vent is in the finals and another vent made the quarter finals. Vent conventions such as Vent Haven continue to grow and get good press and TV coverage.
rannie
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Proof that Vent is not dead....... Come visit Manila Philippines. It is having a re birth or a rennaisance if you will. Yes it is a small country, but we are proud to say that we are helping keep the art alive and strong.

Vent in the adult circuit is rising. IMHO the reason why its thought of as a dying art is because Magic/street magic etc... seem to get more of the spotlight nowadays.

Rannie
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Doug Higley
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Automaton Puppet Toys are not very funny. It really doesn't matter a wit if your figure is an old badly painted war horse and your lips flap like shutters in a wind storm (See Otto and what's his name Smile ) it's the material. As long as the figure can get away with what you can't, ESPECIALLY in a PC world, Vent can only get bigger and bigger...play the times you live in...leave the hokey drinking a glass of water bit in the trunk or to Lucas...technique shmeknique...be funny...get writers...pull the string!
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Ony Carcamo
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I agree, Doug. In this century who cares if your figure has all the animations? Everybody knows it can be done... easily. To let the vent art live the most important thing for vents to do is to entertain and kill the audience with laughter.

Look at Otto and George. And Jeff Dunham.
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Tom Bartlett
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Doug Higley put into perfect perspective for us all. The same goes with magic, it's the entertaining presentation of unique material, not technics and expensive tricks that bring the house down.
Our friends don't have to agree with me about everything and some that I hold very dear don't have to agree about anything, except where we are going to meet them for dinner.
Father Photius
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Its all in the performance, just making a puppet or doll talk has never been entertaining. Ron Lucas has had a long running show in Las Vegas, and there are many good Vents out there making a full time living. You may not see a lot on TV right now because there aren't a lot of "variety" shows around. The big thing these days (with the networks, not the audience) is the reality show. So Vents don't exactly appeal to the TV people right now for a series. But it is far from dead.
"Now here's the man with the 25 cent hands, that two bit magician..."
Regan
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Doug is exactly right....as usual. Tom made the comparison to magic, and he is exactly right too. It is all about entertaining. If it were only about secrets and/or knowing how something is done magic would have died with those Fox specials when the so-called masked magician was exposing everything. Yet magic still goes on. As magaicians we know how most everything is done, yet we love to watch an entertaining magic show, At least I do. It's kind of the same way with vent I suppose. I love to watch it when it is entertaining.
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Bob Baker
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OK. Time for the thread starter to put in his two cents. Ventriloquism as a form of entertainment will never die. Why? Because at it's core, it's about two characters interacting, and that is the most basic of human relationships. Vent will never die for the same reason that theater will never die. Vent has humor, conflict, and the potential for deep emotion, just like theater.

Unlike our "allied art" magic, vent has no deception at its core; there is no underlying challenge to the audience. Everyone knows exactly what is going on, and the ventriloquist's skill enables the spectators to suspend their disbelief without any blow to the ego.

Every time we do a good show, every time we send an audience away happy and entertained, we are keeping ventriloquism alive. And every time we do that, there is the chance that one kid in the audience will think ventriloquism is the coolest thing he/she has ever seen, and another generation of ventriloquists will be born.

Bob
Doug Higley
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This thread is worth 2 volumes of anybodys book. This is the skinny so far. If you have techiniques your a leg up (if that's not your whole act). If you don't have techniques honed over a decade or so...so what. Get jokes. Make 'em laugh. Bergan's lips could have signaled ships at sea...Otto and George, probably the least accomplished of the current working crop in suffering from ridgid lip syndrom...so what? He cashes checks I think and people don't give a hoot if he can drink a keg of Gatoraid and sing Blue Ridge Mountains Of Virginia. (unless they are from Richmond).

As an aside, I make a whole routine out of NOT being a ventriloquist...sure, I can do it but it's funnier if I'm a puppeteer and not a former High School Nerd and who had time to practice anything but giving puppets wedgys.

Just remember, you're all great even if you suck...as long as you do it your way and be funny!

(Otherwise your a former High School nerd who had time to practice and go around with a doll looking for revenge.)

:)

Bob Baker...that was a nice thing with words you did there. Smile
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olivertwist
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I agree with Bob Baker's point on the lack of deception in vent as opposed to magic. That's one reason I actually enjoy it more. It's just about entertaining, but it reminded me of a lecture I gave to the Society of Young Magicians in Nashua NH several years ago. Every trick I did a couple of boys would say "Ooh, ooh, I know how you did that". I finished with a vent routine with an Axtell orangutan and sure enough, these boys said "Ooh, ooh, I know how you did that. You had your hand inside him and were moving his mouth" Doh!
Regan
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Quote:
On 2007-08-15 14:03, Doug Higley wrote:

Just remember, you're all great even if you suck...as long as you do it your way and be funny!



Kind of like Kohl & Company, Carl Ballantine, etc.
Mister Mystery
Doug Higley
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Yep. But you need confidence that you can suck with class. haha
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Cinnamon
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If you guys had been here, you'd know that vent acts are very much alive, and into a different level. Say, adult entertainment with a hilarious twist. haha. kudos to wanlu and ony. they keep it aliiiivvvee~
Regan
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Apparently it is doing ok in America too. I just heard that a ventriloquist act won the finals of America's Got Talent. Anyone know who it is?
Mister Mystery
harris
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Harris Deutsch
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Kudos to Terry Fator and Vent...one of his comments was he is proud to help bring back and celebrate the art of vent.

Harris
Harris Deutsch aka dr laugh
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axtell
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Terry Fator won America's Got Talent last night.....won $1 million and has helped raise ventriloquism to a new respected level.

Judging from our ever increasing customers and sales and all the videos in our contest It's been years since I thought this field was dying.....it's been silently growing for years now.

Add to that Jeff Dunham's success on Comedy Central and his tours, Ronn Lucas's hot shows in Vegas (now at the Luxor), Jay Johnson's Tony award winning Broadway show "The Two and Only" and his national tour starting up soon, David Letterman's new annual "Ventriloquist Week" on TV.......

With Terry's win it may be the "Tipping Point" we need.....familiar with that book?

Puppets & Ventriloquism may soon be something that every magician wants to add to their show.... exciting times!

http://www.axtell.com

Ax
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harris
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Harris Deutsch
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Vent has been a selling point to my programs since the late 70's...

Puppets and Mime were the ultimate mask for this shy performer...who did manage to come out of his shell..(not so disguised turtle puppet reference....)

Harris
Harris Deutsch aka dr laugh
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