While it is true that many people consider ventrilquist acts boring and old fashioned, the truth is that ventiloquism is gaining popularity.
The art of ventriloquism was certainly a lot more popular decades ago than it has been in recent times. However, it’s gone through a minor renaissance since the turn of the millennium, largely thanks to the career and work of Jeff Dunham. His breakthrough Comedy Central special culminated from years of trial and error on the touring comedy circuit, leading to many more specials and even a television show.
Many have followed in his footsteps, as ventriloquists are now showing up regularly on local comedy club stages and as participants in reality television talent shows a lot more often. The question is, why do people enjoy watching ventriloquists perform?
People Enjoy Watching Ventriloquists Perform
The reason why this is a question in the first place is just due to how the popularity of it dipped for several decades. As such, there might be a generational component to it. While there are certainly Baby Boomers that enjoy ventriloquism, they might have seen it so much as kids when it was still in its initial heyday, that other forms of comedy have grown on them. In fact, ventriloquism for a long time was more associated with children’s programming and seen as something for kids.
Dunham definitely changed that, as much of his material was quite adult, but he also recaptured what makes ventriloquism so magical for an audience, since they’re getting entertained on multiple levels at once.
America’s Got Talent Has Made Ventriloquism More Popular
America’s Got Talent, also known as AGT, has been a godsend to the craft of ventriloquy. Why is this? Since the advent of this popular talent show, many amateur ventriloquists have performed on a stage that reaches millions of people. Ventriloquists such as Terry Fator, Paul Zerdin, and Darci Lynne Farmer all won the competition and the top prize of $1M plus an act in Las Vegas.
People Appreciate the Skill Needed to Be a Ventriloquist
Ventriloquism has also gained popularity because people are amazed at the skill required to master this stagecraft. For starters, just seeing someone ‘throw’ their voice without moving their lips much or at all is really impressive and not something most people can do. Secondly, when the material is written well, they’re playing two different characters at once, themselves, and their doll. This is again a multitasking and acting skill not many can pull off.
The combination of these two skills, plus the very medium and the jokes it allows for, all add up to an evening of entertainment unlike any other.
With the increasing popularity of ventriloquism, who knows? You too can become a ventriloquist and may even be on the world-reaching stage of America’s Got Talent. You may even have your own Vegas act. All you need is a dummy, lots of practice, and you’re own your way!