It is bound to happen. After a performance, someone will approach you.
Then you will hear:
- You are like that guy on TV!
- I’ve seen you on TV!
- I saw the guy on TV do that!
- The guy on TV is funnier …
- You are funnier than the guy on TV!
Welcome to the popularity of ventriloquism.
Not since the 1960’s has ventriloquism been so visible. Jeff Dunham’s dominating ratings on Comedy Central and YouTube made him an international sensation. The visibility of America’s Got Talent turned Terry Fator and Paul Zerdin into superstars. Then there was David Letterman’s Ventriloquism Week. Plus Nina Conti’s appearances on major television shows and YouTube viral videos.
There is little doubt that few in your audience have not witnessed a ventriloquism performance.
So how do you handle these statements? What can you say?
I attend the Vent Haven International Ventriloquist conVENTion every year. I have met each of these talents. (And many others.) That is a benefit you should take advantage of.
If they mention a specific ventriloquist, my reply usually begins with – “Yes, I know (insert name here). He/she is brilliant and their success couldn’t have happened to a nicer person.”
If they can’t remember the name of the ventriloquist, I usually know it and offer the information. Then continue with the above response.
Some will ask if I really know him or her. I explain ventriloquism is a pretty small community and many of us gather annually for the conVENTion. (Do you?)
If they think they’ve seen me on TV, I tell them it is possible. I have done some.
Though never take credit if you know it wasn’t you.
On occasion I have people say they saw someone else perform a mask routine. They often don’t remember the content of the routine, just the masks. I explain it is a ventriloquist prop and a bunch of acts use them.
If they tell you the act on TV was funnier … I give them a sly smile and say tongue in cheek – “Well, that is why they are on TV and you saw me here …”
If they tell you that you are funnier than the act on television – or that you should be on TV – thank them. Don’t dismiss the praise. Accept it graciously. The audience member is usually being sincere and to dismiss it would belittle the experience for them.
BUT – don’t let it go to your head. Ego is a dangerous thing. Remember you are only as good as your last performance. Always do your best. Always strive to be better. And who knows, maybe one day, you will be the one on TV!