How to Be Funny With Ventriloquism

by Kent Page McGroarty
Keep up with current trends to help make the routine fresh.

Keep up with current trends to help make the routine fresh.

Creatas/Creatas/Getty Images

Ventriloquism had a rather dark start in the ancient Greco-Roman world with the practice of necromancy, or communication with the deceased. The necromancer would "invoke" the spirit of the dead, and with the spirit would have the ability the foretell the future. That practice was eventually outlawed, especially with the rise of Christianity. In 16th century England, ventriloquism emerged as a form of entertainment, though it still carried magical connotations by the turn of the century, as ventriloquists can speak without moving their lips. Perfecting and ventriloquist routine and making it funny takes time, as you are re-learning how to speak while crafting your own brand of humor.

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Step 1

Write a routine or jokes based on what you know. For example, if you do not know anything about running a farm or being a nurse, do not attempt to write jokes on these subjects. Successful comedians also often say the best material is based on simply observing how people behave and think, and putting a comedic spin on such observations. Also refrain from telling jokes you yourself do not find amusing. If you do not believe what you are saying is funny, the audience will not believe it either.

Step 2

Choose a funny voice for your puppet. The voice should be very different from yours, such as a high-pitched or gruff sounding voice, like the characters on "Sesame Street." Give the puppet its own character and dress it completely differently from you to make the contrast even greater between you and your puppet.

Step 3

Tell your jokes as though you were telling them among your friends. This makes for less of a line-joke-line-joke routine, which can get old quickly. Always give the puppet the punch line.

Step 4

Work on your ventriloquism. Read books and articles for ventriloquist tips or take classes if desired. Certain letters make your lips move more than others, so learning to substitute letters for one another, such as "D" for "B," is among the first steps in learning how to speak without moving your lips. Remember that re-learning how to talk in this manner will probably take some time before you get the hang of it.

Step 5

Practice your routine. Once you feel comfortable speaking without moving your lips and have created a unique puppet character and routine, look into performing your ventriloquist act at venues such as comedy club open mic nights, friends' children's birthday parties and church and community festivals and events.

Tips & Warnings

  • Refrain from imitating other comedians and actors, particularly if their style of humor and delivery are the opposite of yours.

Photo Credits

  • Creatas/Creatas/Getty Images