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A Crash Course in Ventriloquism – When Talking to Yourself is Okay Part Two

How to end your act.

Magicians have a rule – always end your show with your best trick or illusion. Singers do the same thing. If they’re known for a certain song they always save it for their big finale. You should make sure your act ends on your best joke. Try to always leave the audience laughing.

When you’re eventually doing a 30-minute show instead of just a 10 minute act, you’ll probably want to use more than one figure. For a 30-minute show you’ll need three or four different figures. It’s good to use a variety of characters. You might want to have one or two animal puppets as well as a child or older person puppet.

Be sure and vary the lengths of your acts. You might do a short five minute skit or song with an animal puppet. As we talked about above, use your best vent figure as your closing act. Your ending skit can be ten minutes or so with a few stories included.

In the middle of your show it’s always good to have some audience participation. You can have your figure asking the audience questions. You might want to even bring some people up on stage with you. They can interact with the puppet or there are ways to make them “living” puppets. While they move their mouths you say the words for them. These skits are always a hit if they’re done well.

What to do with hecklers.

This is the situation that all performers fear. Especially when you’re first starting out. Hecklers come in all shapes and sizes. In a Sunday School class it might be as simple as a four-year-old trying to take over your act to let you know his turtle died. You’ll just need to tell him that they’ll be happy to listen to his story later, but now it’s time to let the puppet tell his story.

Hopefully, a helpful Sunday School will come to your rescue. But don’t count on it. Sometimes you’ll have to specifically ask a teacher to come sit with a noisy or rambunctious child. This can be true at preschools, too.

Comedy club hecklers are a whole different animal. First off, they’ve probably been drinking. The best course of action when you’re new at performing is to try your best to ignore them. If other audience members are enjoying your act they’ll tell him to be quiet. This lets them be the bad guy and not you.

If he causes too much of a problem, the club security should ask him to calm down or leave. At some point you might have to engage a heckler in a conversation. Have a few lines ready that put him in his place without being too mean or obnoxious. If the audience turns on you it can get ugly. Only experience will help you feel confident in these situations.

When possible, have a friend video tape your act. Find out which lines get laughs and which ones bomb. Then, obviously, cut the ones that bombed.

Have fun interacting with your figure and your audience members and people will enjoy your ventriloquist act.

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