Ventriloquist Or Comedian Or Both?

It is funny but I received an email from a regular that commented to me that the art of throwing your voice was gone. He was even afraid that if you use the word ventriloquist or ventriloquism you could be chastised because those are archaic terms and today the performers of this great art are and want to be called Comedians with puppets.

I myself think that is way off. If you are a ventriloquist you are just that. You do throw your voice ( so to speak ) and are breathing life into your figure. Just because one of the greatest ventriloquists of our time, Jeff Dunham, books himself as a comedian ( which he in fact is ) certainly doesn’t mean you can’t call yourself a ventriloquist. As a matter of fact if you were able to get the writers to do the comedy Jeff has and work as hard as he has you too would be called a comedian.

The art of throwing your voice has never been more alive than it is right now. We have Terry Fator and Jeff Dunham, two of the best ventriloquists in the world, front and center of the entertainment world and they are helping everyone else who does this art to make their own way. I say hooray for the “Art Of Throwing Your Voice”.


Have you seen the Frank Marshall Tribute DVD, click here


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:

Copyright 2012 by Dan Willinger

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11 Responses to Ventriloquist Or Comedian Or Both?

  1. Ben and MJ says:

    Very true Dan. Ventriloquism isn’t about being a comedian, it’s the ability to bring life to an inanimate object and give it a voice without moving your lips (the comedy is a small part of it). I don’t consider myself a comedian, I’m a ventriloquist. Sometimes MJ and I will perform comedy and sometimes we have a message to share that is relevant. It’s through the art of ventriloquism that we as a team communicate a message whether it is comedic or not.

  2. LeeDean says:

    Clifford Guest, Autralian born, excellent ventriloquist/polyphonist, highly proficient in the art, used only very clever lines and funny bits, and a Frank Marshall Rickie Tik. The only joke I heard him tell was when he asked Marilyn, a lady in the audience, to hold his baby crying doll, he said, “Can I call you Marilyn (she said yes, he continued) What’s the best time to call you Marilyn?”

  3. bob abdou says:

    with vent being done all over the world, the general public might not know what a ventriloquist actually does, even though they know about performers with puppets. I had an agent ask me what I do, I said “I’m a ventriloquist”. She said “wow, that is terrific, but I need to ask you a question….how can you bend your leg behind your head without breaking a bone?….she did not understand what a ventriloquist does. She thought I was a contortionist! I never got work from her :(

    • Ben and MJ says:

      Bob that is funny and tragic lol.

      I had a similar situation here with a so-called puppeteer at a new establishment. He emailed me to meet MJ and I because he thought having a ventriloquist at his teahouse would be good for business. Now we all know the rule of never having our vent partner inanimate when he’s out, this guy couldn’t handle it and thought it was too odd to have around his puppet teahouse… go figure

    • got left with foot in mouth ?

  4. I promote myself as Montana’s Premiere Comedy Magician-Ventriloquist. Works for me.

  5. John Savale says:

    I see people laugh at my figures when I’m talking for he or she..without even saying anything humorous! I think people like the illusion of the figure talking(or just it’s appearance makes them laugh naturally!) Good jokes are great,but if you can’t make people believe that the figure is actually talking..all the great jokes or songs will not help you a bit. I’m a relative newbie to venting and found out that talent is in the eye of the beholder..the illusion of throwing your voice is really key to this artform

  6. Neale Bacon says:

    I am proud to call myself a ventriloquist. When I do any kind of walkaround bits, the kids talk directly to the puppets. It’s like I am not there. Why? Because they believe the character. They talk about all kinds of stuff .
    I see part of my job is to educate people as to what a ventriloquist is and does.

  7. Dave Boiano says:

    Maybe “Comedians with puppets” is supposed to be the new politically correct name for ventriloquism………nothing and no one is safe from being PC’d.

  8. Ted Nunes says:

    I have friends who have moved to England and tell me they have to adopt the accent to be understood at drive-through restaurants. I wonder if, in Jeff Dunham’s case, referring to himself as “Comedian and Ventriloquist” in that order, was a similar effort to sell himself to clubs. If a booker hears “Ventriloquist” they will either get a specific, narrow idea in their head, or just become confused.

    I just participated in a Christmas show at a senior living facility and the young emcee didn’t know the term “Ventriloquist,” so I was just introduced as “Ted and Tommy.” It actually made for a fun moment as I brought the case out and opened it and the crowd gradually caught on.

  9. Kenny Croes says:

    It’s unfortunate that for some folks the term “ventriloquist’ conjures an image of a socially clumsy guy with a creepy doll. Jeff Dunham explained in a recent documentary that even comedy clubs were disrespectful to ventriloquists. That being said, I’ve never met anyone who wasn’t fascinated by seeing a vent figure in person. “Ventriloquist” is just a word. I’m okay with whatever term opens the door for a performer… “stand-up with stand-in”…”surrogate personality provider”… “alter-ego manipulator”… “self-contained argument supplier”… whatever gets you the gig.

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