Ventriloquists have been a popular form of entertainment for ages. Even with the success of ventriloquists like Jeff Dunham, people still have misconceptions about the art. It is time to debunk these myths in our own version of Ventriloquist Myth-Busters!
Myth Number 1:
Ventriloquists are born with a special ability.
This is definitely not true. Early practioneers of the art tried to hide their methods using deception. Ventriloquists, like magicians, didn’t want people to learn their secrets. They created and spread the myth that ventriloquists were born with special abilities. Some people still believe that a ventriloquist has double throats or a second set of vocal chords.
The truth is, anyone can perform ventriloquism. To be a ventriloquist you simply need proper training and practice. There are books and even on-line ventriloquism lessons. People of all ages have learned and practiced the art.
Myth Number 2:
Ventriloquists talk with their mouths closed.
Ventriloquists use a resonant voice, like a hum. The resonant voice needs two air passages for the sound to escape. The upper breathe stream escapes through the nasal cavity. The lower breathe stream escapes through a small opening between the lips of the ventriloquist. This makes a louder sound so the puppet can be heard.
If the ventriloquist had his or her lips closed, the air would not escape and the puppet voice would be muffled. So this myth is also busted.
Myth Number 3:
Ventriloquists clench their teeth together.
This is another falsehood that spread. Usually by people who never learned to perform ventriloquism. If the teeth are clenched together, the lower breathe stream mentioned above could not escape. This would muffle the puppet’s voice. A skilled ventriloquist separates their teeth slightly and learns to talk without the use of their lips. There is no short cut for this technique. It requires practice.
Myth Number 4:
Ventriloquists believe their dummy is real.
The movie and television industry have created this popular myth. Movies wouldn’t be half as scary if a ventriloquist placed his figure in a case and put it away.
There is a thread of truth behind this myth. When the ventriloquist figure or puppet is on-stage, the ventriloquist treats the puppet as if it were real. By acting this way, the audience will suspend their belief and “buy into” the illusion of life. We realize that the puppet is just a tool. It is the instrument that a ventriloquist “plays” to present their performance.
Myth Number 5:
Ventriloquists are weird.
The picture of a lonely person talking to dolls seems to be a popular image to people who have never experienced the magic of the art. The truth is, ventriloquism is a skill that takes practice, persistence and talent to present. People who take the art seriously and develop their skills are true artists.
Like any art or profession, there may be a few strange people, but most are down to earth and friendly. Ventriloquists even have an international convention where the pros teach amateur and semi-professionals.
If you are looking for a ventriloquist to entertain your audience, contact Tom Crowl now. Tom is a founding member of the International Ventriloquist Society. He is also the creator of the Learn-Ventriloquism Course. As a staff member of the Vent Haven ConVENTion, Tom is a respected leader in the industry. If his program is not right for your event, Tom is happy to direct you to a someone who can help.