“What do you think of my video?”

“Did you see my FaceBook post?”

“Do you like my new vent figure?”

Do you want the truth? Or acceptance? Or do you want the facts?

When I started, Ken Groves used to critique me. He still does. After seeing my show years ago, Ken told me I’d rate about a three on his 1-5 scale. After my Vent Haven ConVENTion performance in 2017, he raised that to a 4.5.

(In fairness to Ken, he doesn’t rate himself a 5 either.)

Some people are nervous to hear the truth. Others are afraid to say it. That is why there are so many video posts that get glowing reviews in FaceBook vent groups.

“Great job!”

“Keep working at it!”

“Nice puppet!”

No one wants people to criticize them. It hurts. It raises doubt.

Likewise, no one wants to criticize because it stands a chance of being misunderstood. Or accepted in a manner not intended. Or even worse, not really wanted.

But I’m here to tell you that sometimes, we all need to hear things that are not complimentary. Yes, it can sting. But when the criticism is constructive and comes from a position of helping others, it can be golden.

So if you ask my opinion, be prepared. I will try to help in the nicest way I can. But I also realize, without truth and insight, people continue to make mistakes they can avoid.

So this week, pick up a puppet and video a short routine. Watch it. Are you really as good as Jeff Dunham, Terry Fator or Jay Johnson? Or do you need to work a bit harder?

It helps to start by being honest with yourself.