Professional Puppets & Ventriloquist Figures

Today I want to answer some questions I get from beginners regarding professional puppets & ventriloquist figures:

“Do I need a professional puppet?”

“I want a really funny puppet, where can I get one?”

“What type of puppet should I use?”

“Where can I buy a professional puppet?”

These are not dumb questions. A lot of beginners stress over selecting their first puppet.

Some of you may know the answers.

Some of you may think your know the answers.

Others of you may be curious.

And some who should know better, still have no clue.

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Let’s start with:

“Do I need a professional puppet?”

No.

If you are starting, you need to learn the skills. You need to learn how to entertain an audience. But you do not need a professional puppet.

I’ve seen Ronn Lucas pull a sock off his foot and entertain an audience for 15 to 20 minutes with it.

I’ve seen other ventriloquists pull out a tennis ball and have their audience laughing hysterically.

The quality of your puppet has nothing to do with the entertainment value of your act.

A professional puppet doesn’t improve your skill.

Just because you have a professional puppet doesn’t mean you are good.

And if you aren’t good – you’ve wasted your money unless you like dust collectors.

This brings us to:

“I want a really funny puppet, where can I get one?”

No puppet is funny.

I’ve never had a puppet tell me a joke.

They just sit there until you put them on your hand and manipulate them.

Just because you have a funny looking puppet, doesn’t mean it will be funny.

Just as:

A Professional Puppet Will Not Improve Your Skill
A Funny Puppet Will Not Improve Your Comedy.

I have a professional ventriloquist friend who is constantly looking for his next figure. The character that will take his career through the roof.

He’s bought a bunch. They don’t work out, and he sells them. Usually for less than he paid for them.

Why? It wasn’t the right character.

I’ve told this friend time and again, it is NOT the puppet.

“I know that!” he replies, “but when I get the right puppet the audiences will go wild. Look what Achmed did for Jeff!”

Here is the problem with that my friends:

Achmed is a character – not just a puppet.

Jeff didn’t just see a skeleton puppet and it started saying funny things.

Jeff created Achmed. (Actually he started with Dead Osama.)

He started with an idea and built it into a character.

That character was tested in front of audiences for years before it appeared on his TV special.

And my friend KNOWS that. Still, he is infatuated with the idea that the next puppet may be his big break.

So I will say it again –

It Is Not The Puppet
It Is What You, As The Ventriloquist Do With It!

This leads us to:

“What type of puppet should I use?”

I have no idea.

That is a personal decision.

You can use:

  • A sock puppet. (Shari Lewis built a career with one.)
  • A tennis ball.
  • An oven mitt.
  • A toy puppet.
  • An animal puppet.
  • A person puppet.
  • A “thing” puppet.

It can be a hard figure – or a soft puppet.

Before you buy a puppet …

Create a character first.

Think about what type of character you want to create.

Will it be:

  • A smart aleck?
  • A tough guy?
  • A wimpy/nervous/scared personality?
  • A baby?
  • A senior?

Think about the voice. Think about what it will do. Think about what it likes or doesn’t like.

The International Ventriloquist Society has a free Character Profile WorkBook and lesson here on the website.

The time you put in creating your character BEFORE you make, shop for or purchase a puppet, will save you time, money and frustration.

Finally, if you go through the above steps:
You have learned the skill.
You have learned to entertain.
You have created a profile,
and you are still looking for a professional puppet or ventriloquist figure …

We have a page of links to some of the best ventriloquist puppet and figure makers around. Just click here to visit!

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