“There is a process by which you become a ventriloquist. It’s a matter of repetition, repetition, repetition. We practice, we rehearse. We’re very disciplined about it. People become proficient. It’s usually about 2½ to 3 years.”
What are the stages?
“The stage of ventriloquism is the first couple times you put your lips on the dummy.”
How do you know when it’s time to move, or stop?
“There’s a stage, the first time you pull down the mouthpiece in the act. Your lips are still moving. Now you have to pull them down. You’re done.”
But that doesn’t sound fun! Why do you want to do it?
“You’re not doing anything! We’re just doing it. The more people that do it, the better it gets. It turns out that everyone’s got to be somewhere, so it’s not just you.”
In which state is a comedian on the stage?
“A ventriloquist would have his head up there. The ventriloquist would be able to keep his head on the dummy. He’d be able to speak, even though his voice’s not in his mouth.”
Where is a comedian on stage?
“It’s kind of like a puppet show. You have to be able to walk around on stage. It’s just a matter of making sure that you get in the place that you need to be. Most people are onstage in a place where they’re looking at you. Maybe they don’t even realize they’re there.
“I do it all the time. If I’m having a rough time, I’ll go into the audience or down to the bleachers. That’s where you see the funnier comedians.”
Is it true when a ventriloquist goes “off-script”?
“One of the best actors I know was once in this room in Boston. He had been performing for several hours. A friend saw him doing this and suggested to my wife, ‘Do you think he’s talking? Maybe he’s drunk.’ So that’s what we thought. Then the show started to get out of control.”
You were in a Broadway show and an opera. Is getting a laugh always important when ventriloquism?
“I think getting laughs is important. But what we know is that you have a very specific