The art of ventriloquism is not as weird as movies depict. In fact, it is rather fascinating. Ventriloquists are a rare and unique type of entertainment for events. While many have witnessed ventriloquism on television, it is seldom seen as live entertainment. With fewer than 400 professionals in the world, the rarity of the professionals is the cause.
Today we’d like to dig deeper to share some fun filled facts and interesting information behind the comedians with puppets.
Jeff Dunham – Highest Grossing Touring Comedian
Jeff Dunham reached new heights of popularity through a viral video featuring Achmed the Dead Terrorist. Jeff’s combined video view totals exceeded 350 million as of October 2009! (Sorry we don’t have a more recent figure but we can’t count that high.) Forbes magazine recognized him as the highest grossing touring comedian in the world. His comedy puppet skits on YouTube not only resulted in skyrocketing fame but generated worldwide tours that even included Muslim countries.
Another interesting fact about ventriloquism is that there is only one museum in the world which is dedicated to this unique art form. The Vent Haven Museum is located in Fort Mitchell Kentucky, and houses around 800 ventriloquist figures. Open to the public by appointment, it provides guests with a deeper understanding of the history and scope of the art form.
Vent Haven International Ventriloquist Convention
The Vent Haven International Convention is an annual event, which celebrates its 40th anniversary this July, 2016, as a successful gathering of ventriloquists. This laugh filled, fascinating gathering of approximately 600 ventriloquists included show stopping performances and lectures from the top experts in the industry. Jimmy Nelson, TONY award winner Jay Johnson, Jeff Dunham and many other ventriloquist comedians have entertained at the yearly convention.
Each year there is a different topic and theme of discussion. It is a unique opportunity for amateurs to learn from and be inspired by professional ventriloquists from around the world.
Famous Actors And Comedians That Started Out As Ventriloquists
A number of comedians and actors, started their careers as ventriloquists. Because these stars achieved fame as actors and comedians this fact which is known by very few. Don Knotts, who gained popularity as Barney Fife on the famous Andy Griffith Show, started out as a ventriloquist. Ted Knight was a ventriloquist who gained fame with his appearance on the Mary Tyler Moore show. Another well-known ventriloquist is Johnny Carson. The king of comedy on The Late Show began as a ventriloquist and magician.
Artificial Heart Patented By A Ventriloquist
Most people assume Robert Jarvik invented the artificial heart. The truth is Paul Winchell the ventriloquist actually invented and patented the first artificial heart! Winchell was very famous. In addition to starring on his own television show he voiced famous cartoon characters. His vocal talents were behind Dick Dastardly on the Wacky Racers and Tigger for Walt Disney’s Winnie The Pooh.
Professional Ventriloquists’ Organizations
Throughout its history, ventriloquism has never had a lasting professional organization. Magicians have the Society of American Magicians and the International Brotherhood of Magicians. Jugglers have the International Juggling Association. Even clowns have a professional organization. For that reason, ventriloquists Tom Crowl, Ken Groves and Mark Wade created the International Ventriloquist Society in 2013. The International Ventriloquist Society is the only professional organization currently dedicated to this unique art form. The society has members from 20 countries and an active base of members who help contribute to the organization’s success.
If you want to learn ventriloquism, check out our free how to do ventriloquism lesson here!
If you want to hire a ventriloquist comedian for your next live entertainment event, contact Tom Crowl to ensure an interesting evening of fun!