When it comes to choosing a ventriloquist figure I, unlike most, do not have to worry too much because I am a collector and I love most all figures and the look they have is secondary to me at best. This makes my search for figures super easy. But for all those that are performing then choosing a figure has a few criteria that you must consider.
I think that the most important thing the ventriloquist has to decide on is the personality that the figure is going to have. Case in point is Jeff Dunham. He knew that he wanted to use an old man, with a grumpy disposition so he first sought out some ideas on how he would look, and if I am not mistaken Bill Nelson came up with the character, then Jeff went about having his figure made, and hence the birth of Walter. To say the least Walter is an old curmudgeon. Walter certainly has his own personality and everyone knows exactly what to expect when he arrives on stage with Jeff.
After you have found the character and the character’s personality , I believe , you must then find the correct skit or dialogue that will bring you in the laughs. Lets face it if you can’t sing and do impressions like Terry Fator then you must have comedy. Laughter is the key and you must be able to make that figure’s personality create laughter or you will never go anywhere. Of course if you are doing ministry none of this pertains but I am talking outside of the ministry. It would behoove anyone to watch the old masters at work. They either wrote or had writers that wrote great material for them. Bergen, Winchell, Nelson and now Dunham can show you the way to creating the type of laughter I am talking about.
So that is my take, from a non performer collector who loves this art, on finding the right ventriloquist figure for you to use as your partner.
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