A regular contributor to Ventriloquist Central, Bob Abdou, has written this article to share with you.
Now that’s funny!!
By Bob Abdou
Ok, you just bought the perfect puppet that you now want to use and you are happy. You have practiced day & night with lip control and manipulation and you are pleased. You have worked on stage presence (shoes shined, clean and pressed clothes, hair combed) and you now know how the mic works and you are pleased…..What’s left but material for your show!!
You could steal material from you tube, you could steal other vents material from the convention or from their shows, You could buy their dvd’s and do everything they do because they get tons of laughs and that is what you want. But NO, that is not smart, practical or nice, Don’t do it. —There are too many ways to find your own material.
I will give you my thoughts, opinions and ways that I have used for my shows since being involved with ventriloquism for 20 years. You might know other ways, if so please share with us, this article is what I have done to make my shows funny and successful.
Life brings a tons of emotion in a day, when things are funny keep track on what made you smile or laugh that day. Life is full of things that are funny.
Keep a notebook handy, when you hear a funny word or line and you can rewrite that in a dialogue for your act, write it down as soon as you hear it, chances are you will not remember it 5 minutes later.
When watching tv and something makes your laugh, write it down and put it in a box, at the end of the month take out that piece of paper, if it did not make you laugh again – throw it out, however if it made you laugh again – rewrite it in a dialogue for your act.
The best description I ever heard about watching a ventriloquist act is this…“it is like listening in on a conversation, ease dropping”. Since vent is mostly all verbal – it must be interesting and confrontational. It must make your audience want to listen. If they don’t, they will look at their watch, that is a clue your act is not interesting and it is time to do tons of rewriting. Write your show as if someone is listening in on it, which basically that is what a ventriloquist act is all about.
Talking about violence, death, blood, Aids and killing – I find is not funny, it divides the audience ( ok, what about Achmed? ). – Jeff is an exception to the rule, Let’s focus on us, for we are not the Dunham’s or the Fator’s of the world…..yet.
Too much pausing, or saying “mmmm” is a distraction, dead space between lines can hurt and make your act boring. Treat your act as if your puppet is real. Remembering your lines is as important as lip control or manipulation.
Stay currant on material, telling Clinton jokes will only get laughs from certain ages of your audience. You don’t want that, you want the whole audience to enjoy your show. So keep your material fresh and know your audience.
What about joke books?
Here is what I do about joke books, because there a ton of books out there. When I pick up a joke book and open it up, I try to read 3 jokes. If any of the 3 jokes make me laugh, I buy it immediately. Why? Paying $5.00 for a joke book is well worth it and it will make my shows more funnier, longer in length and polished.
Read the local paper and find funny stories from the city you are living in, that will make your act fresh, appealing and make your audience care.
I get asked, where do I get my material from?
My answer is mostly from the above suggestions. I also get them from listening to other entertainers besides vents. Get out and associate with the world. Clowns, magicians, jugglers and others can help you create new material, just don’t hang out with mime’s, they don’t talk to anyone.
Every comedian is different, so should you be.
Thanks, Bob for writing this great article.
Dan Willinger is a ventriloquism enthusiast and ventriloquist figure collector. He has been collecting for over 25 years. He created the Ventriloquist Central Collection. It now has over 100 ventriloquist figures and over 50 of them are Frank Marshall figures. Because of his love for the art of ventriloquism, Mr. Willinger created the website Ventriloquist Central. For more information about the website, go to: http://www.ventriloquistcentral.com
Copyright 2010 by Dan Willinger
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