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The line between puppetry and ventriloquism

Discussion in 'Puppet News' started by BobThePizzaBoy, Oct 18, 2010.

  1. BobThePizzaBoy

    BobThePizzaBoy Well-Known Member

    This thread has to be done because I don't know if anybody else gets this as much as I do.

    Ever since high school when I got my bird puppet from Axtell with the bird arm illusion, people have always been asking me about me being a ventriloquist. All the time I have people asking me to attempt to do ventriloquism when I have a puppet around. I honestly don't see the point in trying to do it, though. While I do know how to do ventriloquism, I'm not good at it. I've expressed little to no desire in learning the skill. It almost seems like two different fields. I've never seen any ventriloquists become puppeteers or vice versa. It just a bit of a pet peeve to be continually associated with Jeff Dunham or Terry Fator over Jim Henson constantly. Does anybody else feel the same way about this or have this happen to them?
  2. crazy chris

    crazy chris Well-Known Member

    i was at the state tax office the other day getting my paperwork in order and the lady said...PUPPETS! LIKE JEFF DUNHAM?... i just giggled and said..."yeah something like that"

    im just happy to see people smile about puppetry.... now if they hate puppets because of jeff dunham... then thats a different story...LOL

  3. puppetise

    puppetise Well-Known Member

    happens every time but i just explain that its a different field of puppetry
  4. Slackbot

    Slackbot Well-Known Member

    I've explained that I can either hide my lip movements or speak intelligibly, and then told them about walking around with a puppet and having people completely ignore me and talk to the puppet. When I did a show for some little kids, afterward some of them even hugged the puppets, completely ignoring the grownup attached to the character. If you bring the character to life, it won't matter if they can see you talking and making funny faces!
  5. Puppetainer

    Puppetainer Well-Known Member

    I agree that any acknowledgment or appreciation for the art of puppetry in whatever form is a good thing! I've had the same experience as others here. When I mention that I build and perform puppets people have often asked if I mean like Jeff Dunham. I usually say something similar to what Chris says or say "more like the Muppets".

    It's just that American society has a relatively short attention span and memory. So currently the only example of puppets for "grown-ups" that people are aware of is what Jeff Dunham does. I think most people tend to think of the Muppets as strictly for kids these days. They've forgotten or don't know that they started as evening and prime time entertainment for us grown-up types.

    I think when people meet an adult that claims to work with puppets they try to imagine how a serious adult could pursue such a childlike career or hobby and think of Jeff Dunham as someone they've laughed at (as opposed to their kids) and so they can respect that. It makes them feel less embarrassed for the person they're talking to (me) who until moments ago seemed like a perfectly nice, normal adult.

    Okay, it's possible I'm reading waaaaay too much into all of this but this is what I've thought when faced with a similar situation to the one you've described. Fortunately for me I gave up caring what the world in general thought of me many years ago.
  6. crazy chris

    crazy chris Well-Known Member

    i think your DEAD ON marc...

    or maybe they are simply hiding the inner child-like glee that they are immediately feeling inside at the mere thought of puppets by shielding it with a reference to something more adult based... more a self hate issue than projected pity...lol... maybe even a bit of jealousy that their job isnt as fun... so they try to put us down a peg by subliminally ridiculing us by adding us to the same bracket as jeff dunham...LOLOL

    now i KNOW i am reading too much into it...

    society is such a funny thing.... most people i tell usually try and hide their emotion about it all but their eyes and grin tell the story... theyre kids again immediately...

  7. Alvin

    Alvin Well-Known Member

    I think it was interesting...Jim never claimed to be a ventriloquist, and he even made those comments in public. I too get asked that question too...OH LIKE JEFF DUNHAM? i hate that response...but I quickly defer to NO...like Jim Henson...and the Muppets. I loved the fact that Jim even went on TV shows with Kermit and sat right there and did Kermit and was visible at the same time. I HATE doing that...using my voice when people can see me, but I have to remember...kids see the puppet not me...but I behind a stage MOST of the time so...it's OK. But yeah...I wish people would remember history...the Muppets...wow. Where would we be today without Jim Henson. What an Icon.
  8. Buck-Beaver

    Buck-Beaver Well-Known Member

    Is it wrong to point out that we should be thankful the average person knows the name of a puppeteer other than Jim Henson?
    Zappetman and Frogpuppeteer like this.
  9. Frogpuppeteer

    Frogpuppeteer Well-Known Member

    you know whats funny i find ventriloquist dummies, the older human style ones..a tad creepy...people tell me that me being a puppeteer they find that odd and dont understand..also they dont understand my fear of clowns
    Zappetman likes this.
  10. DannyRWW

    DannyRWW Well-Known Member

    I feel the same way ever since seeing a Twilight Zone episode when I was a kid..... Alot of people don't get how I can be a puppeteer and scared of dummies... I'm so glad a lot of Jeff Dunham's are not creepy wooden ones.
  11. Baconroadtrip

    Baconroadtrip Member

    Not sure if you have all seen this guy from Britain's Got Talent? Incredibly funny.

    VentSenpai likes this.
  12. Alvin

    Alvin Well-Known Member

    That was pretty good! Loved it. Not bad without a stage...I could do that :) lol
  13. Puppet crazy

    Puppet crazy Well-Known Member

    For me they are very close. If I'm in view of the audience, I use ventriloquism. If I'm not I just use my puppeteering skills. Although I've been told I still don't tend to move my lips.
    I do feel if you are hidden, it allows you to move the puppet's body more though.
  14. Walter

    Walter Well-Known Member

    I think there is a clear difference between the two, however like many of you have said, Peple in general see no difference. Whenever it is brought up that I build puppets, people say most of the time "Like jeff Dunham." I also say "Like The Muppets". often times when I have a puppet with me and I'm holding him, I don't speak..I just make him jester or give sarcastic movements. For example, with Walter I make him smile or nod(although I may talk as him from time to time...I am NO good at ventriloquism..so it's very difficult to keep the kids(or adults!) focused on the puppet..adults are harder...because while kids look at the puppet as a living creature, adults will immediatly look at me... Uncle deadly is a little easier.. because I can't do his voice. his prescence alone is scary enough!(seriously, my little cousing are crazy scared of him!)
    Zappetman likes this.
  15. DannyRWW

    DannyRWW Well-Known Member

    You know I don't know anything about Ventriloquism, but I've often found myself with a puppet out in the open. Usually i just make the puppet talk, move, etc; and the people ignore me and pay attention to the puppet. The funniest example of this was I was on the news once with my puppet and they kept putting the microphone up to the puppet and I kept trying to explain that my voice wasn't coming from the puppet....not sure how that works with a ventriloquist with the whole voice throwing thing though. I mean in the end they are both forms of puppetry, but I'd rather be behind a stage or on camera than in front of the audience holding the puppet. Though is suppose Avenue q and the Jim Henson Improv group did that ok (don't they show the puppets on a screen though for the improv)
  16. MrBloogarFoobly

    MrBloogarFoobly Well-Known Member

    Puppetry is intriguing, Ventriloquism is terrifying. :p
  17. Walter

    Walter Well-Known Member

  18. VentSenpai

    VentSenpai Member

    I like Ventriloquism because it's terrifying :D especially when creepy dolls are used :excited:

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