VERILY, I SAY UNTO THEE, TIS A PARODY
By: Dennis Murphy
PARODY: An imitation of the style of a particular writer, artist, or genre with deliberate exaggeration for comic effect.
I enjoy Parody though its use with children is fairly restricted. For Parody to work the original needs to be familiar to the audience and children are known for their narrow frames of reference and limited life experiences.
Sending up the classic preschool songs like “Baa, baa, black sheep” still works among that crowd. I used to do Top 40 parodies for primary school kids but with so many different sources of entertainment now available it’s hard to find things that everyone knows in common.
The target’s style of writing needs to be whirling around in the mind. Reading things in the style for an hour or two spent will usually get the whirling started.
Spike Milligan has written several books of parody in a series starting with THE BIBLE: According to Spike Milligan. He also covers Treasure Island, Frankenstein, Robin Hood, Wuthering Heights, etc., etc., etc. Wordsmith Don Watson’s DEATH SENTENCE, WEASEL WORDS and BENDABLE LEARNINGS are very enjoyable.
Ian Frazier has done an hilarious parody in his essay COYOTE V. ACME. (Google it for a great laugh) It’s the transcript of a fictitious court case. Wile E. Coyote is suing the Acme Company for the physical and emotional damage caused by the Acme products he has purchased over the years. Frazier got the legalistic language just right. Brilliant, See also any book by Henry Beard.
Raymond Queneau’s EXERCISES IN STYLE is an unusual book. It comprises only a two paragraph-long story about a minor incident on a bus. It then re-tells the story using 100 different writing styles; as a cross-examination, as an olfactory experience, a comedy, a haiki, a telegram, as reported speech etc.
THE JOY OF JARGON by Tom Fahey has a lot to say about the background to jargon but his examples are dated and there’s little actual joy in his writing. Check out Steve Poole’s truly joyous books, UNSPEAK and WHO TOUCHED BASE IN MY THOUGHT SHOWER?: A Treasury of Unbearable Office Jargon.
Two impressive resources for writing styles are THE POOH PERPLEX and POSTMODERN POOH by Frederick Crews. They are collections of papers submitted to an imaginary seminar written by various Phd’s using their respective jargons. Winnie the Pooh stories are analysed for their ‘hidden meanings’ by, for example: a radical feminist, a Postconstructionist Marxist, a literary critic, a New Historicist, a Freudian, etc.
At MURPHYS PUPPETS we deliver Ticks in Boxes but outside the square to fast-track an enhanced Mindset and Go the Extra 1.6 kilometres. Our World’s Best Practice core-competencies will be Result-Driven to deliver a Knock-on Effect to the Bottom Line.*
We take this as our Benchmark and Put it To Bed at the end of the day by pushing the Envelope of Outcome Excellence along its cutting edge.
We go forward with our eyes set not on the day after yesterday but on the day before tomorrow.
*Past performances are not necessarily an indicator of future performances.”
The Tonya Traylor Collection
“Preserving History One Figure At A Time”
The collection is constantly growing and has taken a life of its own. There are quite a few full collections and full acts inside the collection including:
The Jack Beckitt figures, James Tattersall’s partner and approximately 7 of his figures, Walter Botleys Collection from the Botley family, Over 90 figures and hard puppets created and performed by Dorothy Rankin, The Harry Bowes Collection, W.E. Whittle’s full act from 1890’s, figures from the acts of Jon Bouchier, April and Ernest Castro, Asta Svenn, There are so many acts and stories inside the collection and every single one is so precious. I am a figure builder and restorer BUT I prefer to only do restoration work that is needed to preserve the character unless the figure has massive damage in which case restoration is sometimes needed to preserve.
That’s why our true passion and mission statement is:
“Preserving History One Figure at a Time”
Because each has a story to tell.
*Tonya Traylor is an educator, performer working in the United Arab Emirates.
Tonya uses puppeteering and ventriloquism in classroom and advertising environments.
A Professional vocalist and actress Tonya has toured in a National production, and hosted and performed in shows for television and cable.
THIS SUMMER AT THE VENT HAVEN CONVENTION!!!
Photo Sessions – $250
- 30 Minute Session includes candid, posed and branding images
- Shot in hi-resolution RAW format for maximum quality
- No limit on number of puppets/characters (as time permits.)
- Full resolution digital files of all images from the photo shoot.
- Full image rights
- 2 Magazine quality image retouches included.
Perfect for headshots, social media, websites and all of your promotional needs!
Limited appointments available – to schedule yours email: firstname.lastname@example.org
David Compton writes:
I just messaged Mark Wade that I won’t be able to make it to the convention.
You see back in February I slipped on my icy porch and snapped the two bones in my left leg right where they meet the ankle.
I had a couple of surgeries and had to spend 12 weeks in non-weight-bearing status. I just left the rehab facility last Saturday. Developed atrophy in both legs and just started out patient therapy. So I really don’t picture me trying to maneuver my walker through the dealers rooms.
Now if you could convince Mark to make the lectures Zoom-compatible?
Tom’s Note: David – hoping for your fast recovery and that we will see you in 2022! Unfortunately due to copyright issues, we are unable to Zoom the VHC lectures. Some of the lecturers do video record and offer their presentations for sale, so keep your eyes open for that!
Gary Ray Howell writes:
I am now doing “The Gary Ray Howell and Jake Cody Show” on youtube. As I review each show, I learn how to improve on the next show. I also review ventriloquist courses I had taken from Maher Studios, such as, Discussions on Showmanship and Master Maniputation with Dan Horn to help me as I continue to improve my ventriloquist skills.
I had included with this article my third YouTube show, Two Birds and A Frog, to give you some examples of items I had found to improve on for the next show. First, I had made the show introduction more fancy from the last show. I also shorten Jake Cody name from the last show, so to sound better. It was Jake Cody Young. Jake Cody also sounds more like a cowboy name as well. I see from this show that I need to focus the introduction signs better for my next show.
I had a problem in the first two shows of wanting to turn my head 90 degree to look at the puppet. If I face the camea, it would look like I wasn’t talking to the puppet. I solved both problems in this third show by stepping back from the puppet. Now my face appears in the camera and at the same time show that I am looking at the puppet.
As I watched this video, I decided that I needed to either wear a turtleneck shirt or a cowboy neckerchief with a western shirt. This would cover up the movement in my neck.
I wanted to try something new for me in this third show. I wanted to tell a story while the puppet makes comments on it. After I had made this video, I still wasn’t sure if others would like it. It turned out to be one of my best shows. The public seem to like it very much. I hope you enjoy it as well as.
Another place where I go to continue learning and improving my ventriloquist skills is the Vent Haven ConVENTion in July. Hope to see you there.
Steve Devitt writes:
I have 2 outside day care shows this summer scheduled. Plus I applied to perform at a festival in NH.
I will be attending the convention in July.
Tom’s Note: Glad work is starting to return for you Steve! See you in July!
Kerry Joe Miller writes:
In February we did an outdoor birthday event and it was 8 degrees. We sang happy birthday to one of the supervisors for a large company in Springfield, MO. Sorry no picture as the camera froze. 🙂
Recently, we traveled to Kansas to do a show for Hutto Grain and there were over 100 people and it sure felt good to have a large live audience again.
We are performing in June at Ridgecrest Baptist Church in Springfield, MO for their Celebrate Recovery celebration. This will be fun.
We did add a new sound system in order to do more outdoor events. Keep sharing those smiles everyone!
Until next time!
Nancy Rosekrans writes:
Nothing is going on in my world of vent. Neighbor came by and brought her 3 little ones along and I did bring out a puppet for about 10 minutes. They loved it, but no pictures of it.
The pandemic really put a damper on what little was out there. They wanted virtual! Yikes, had no idea what I needed for virtual and it would probably be expensive and not worth all the work to get going.
So needless to say I’ve started to sell my magic tricks, props, etc. at a local Ring.
I’ve got all my puppets and a clown and magic birthday show I could still do though.
Justin Dancing Hawk writes:
I’d like to invite you to enjoy my newest ventriloquism video with my little CHEESY Wisconsin Rat Buddy – Havarti!
Please click the THUMBS UP button & Subscribe! I”ll be posting new videos regularly as I prepare for the International Ventriloquist’s ConVENTion w/ Vent Haven Ventriloquism Museum in Erlanger, Ky – July 14 – 17!
Bob Layton writes:
My name is Bob Layton, in my latest book, I’ll Puke in Your Pocket! one chapter tells the story of how I became a ventriloquist. Already an entertainer, It started with a correspondence course and continued with attending several ConVentions.
I took advantage of the Live Mic sessions and appreciated the helpful comments. This chapter, very special to me, outlines what I learned at workshops given by Jeff Dunham and Terry Fator. It then goes on to outline funny, bizarre and sad circumstances that can come out of a performance. The lady who ran out believing my puppet was looking at her. How I developed a response that brought laughter to those who said my squirrel puppet looked more like a beaver. An important lesson I learned from a ventriloquist in Hawaii. How the response from children is different from adults. The time I brought out my puppet at a banquet and a group of Indigenous people left their table and came right up to me, and more.
Luanne Donnadio writes:
I’m only a few months out from major surgery for cancer. Will take some time to get back on my feet.
My best to all……
LuLu and Alice
Tom’s Note: Luanne, I’m pretty certain I speak for all members of the IVS in that we are praying for you and sending positive vibes your way! Wishing you a succesful surgery and hope you will keep us updated. You can do this!
Trish Dunn writes:
OMG what a year and a half??? Is everyone like me in thinking, since we didn’t get to have a 2020 can we at least not acknowledge that we are a year older?? Just saying.
Thank goodness things are slowly returning to normal and we are all hopefully getting back to work performing. Like many of you, all of my scheduled shows in 2020, and the first half of 202,1 were cancelled. Slowly we are getting many of those venues rescheduled for my new show “International Incident”. It is a slow process, as so many of the theaters are fitting over a year and a half of shows on the calendar, and everyone scrambling for spots. Currently we have confirmed 3 dates and are working on negotiating several other venues, please look to my Face Book page, Trish Dunn Comic/Ventriloquist, or just type in www.USUKTrish.com and it will take you right there.
When I return to the UK I will be hosting two “American Themed” nights of comedy.
The “First Amendment night of Comedy” will be the second Saturday of each month beginning in August at the Red Lion in Swaffham.
Hooma Comedy is presenting a night of comedy the last Saturday each month at the “Liberty Restaurant” in Wroxham.
I’ve also been lucky enough to participate in a new mini (6 episodes) Comedy Series expected to be available for streaming this fall on Apple TV and/or Amazon Prime. The show is called “Heckle House” and follows five stand up comedians who move in together to save money and inspire each other to help further their careers in stand-up comedy. The show features several different styles and genre’s of stand up comedians, and obviously, I am the stand-up comedian ventriloquist.
Thank you so much for allowing me to share whats going on and I look forward to seeing everyone this summer in July at the convention!!!
Georgi and Gergana write:
Hello friends and colleagues. We are happy that this year the important ventriloquist convention will take place. We are extremely pleased that this whole huge family will come together and exchange experiences, skills and shared emotions. Unfortunately, we will not be able to participate but in our thoughts, we will be there with you and support you in your adventure.
We are Georgi and Gergana from faraway Bulgaria and we have been involved for many years in the field of art related to the production of handmade wooden sculptures, woodcarving, marionettes and ventriloquist dummies. We are happy and proud, even though we make only a small contribution to the development of this unique art. From many years of practice and experience, we have delivered to ventriloquists in every corner of the globe. We make everything by hand from wood and to the order of the client, specialising in the creation of ventriloquist dummies from photos, including real human faces.
We are happy to be part of the family and members of the IVS since 2018. We wish you a good time and look forward to seeing photos and wonderful reviews from the convention this year.
And now we want to introduce you to some of our recent custom-made ventriloquist dummies from real human faces. One has left for Sweden and the other two are in the USA.
By: Ken Groves
WoW! The last year has been fun. Everyday I thank God my father insisted I have something to fall back on. Dad made sure I could build stuff, fix stuff, or make stuff because: this “Puppet Thing” won’t last.
I have used this training all my life and it has filled in the gaps here and there, but this last year was a kick in the butt. 2020 was a crazy year and the entertainment industry went flat, no work almost over night.
I thought this Covid thing would last a month and then we would get back to normal … I’ve been wrong before, but I was way off on this mess.
2020 was a year I had to rethink where I was and where I wanted to go. Sometimes your “dream” changes or gets put on hold. I’ve been in the entertainment business full time for 37 years and looking back over my life I’ve seen my “dream” change.
I went from school shows ( the most fun) to doing comedy clubs. I went from amusement parks to trade shows. I went from doing college shows to working in 8 different casinos in Vegas. I went from doing TV to doing 625 cruises.
Now look where I’m at … a theater show in the biggest Amish community in the country.
Get ready … your “dream” may change.
Change is good. Change helps you grow as a person. Be ready for change. Save some money to help you with the change. Look into other things that interest you and you can build on. It is good to have more than one “dream.”
The last year I spent working on another “dream.”
I’m doing what I’ve done all my life, building cars. I’ve built cars from 6 different states. I’ve done hot rods, customs, restorations, and brakes on the daily drivers.
For the last 20 years we have built the “Garage” up and created some of the best looking cars at the car shows. We some have won national awards and ended up in car magazines.
Since I couldn’t perform, I worked on cars.
You need more than one “dream” but remember to make your “dreams” realistic. If you have no sense of humor, comedy might not be for you.
I’ve always had a “dream” to be a pole dancer … that would be a nightmare.
Here I sit with more life behind me than in front of me. I never thought I’d get this old this quick.
There are 3 things that you never forget:
#1 your first true love.
#2 your first car.
#3 your first Colonoscopy … when a doctor drives a golf cart thru your colon you don’t forget that.
To those I will add:
#4 SAVE SOME MONEY for your old age! It comes quicker than you can imagine.
#5 Have a “dream” but be ready for that “dream” to change.
#6 you really don’t control much in your life so be ready for change and go with it.
#7 Faith, Family, Friends … then career! Because when the career is over all you have is your Faith, Family, Friends.
All the best.
By: Dennis Murphy
Early Harry Worth and Company
HARRY WORTH was a British comedian who is credited with bringing silliness back into British Comedy after the rigours and hardships of World War Two. He began his career as a Ventriloquist on the Variety Circuit.
He always warned his audience beforehand that he was not a very good Ventriloquist. This was the start of his apologetic and inept style of dithering without realising it. The charming, gentle and genial character he developed was totally bemused by life but he liked trying to ‘help’ people. The result was comedic confusion wherever he went.
Early in his career Worth toured for two years with Laurel and Hardy when they toured the UK towards the end of their careers. Hardy watched his show and persuaded Worth to drop the vent routine and concentrate on becoming a comedian. Worth went on to become a very successful radio and TV comic.
One evening a variety artist was chatting backstage with fellow troupers and told them he had just seen Harry’s act saying, “Harry Worth, my God, that fellow is funny.”
The others not having heard of Harry’s more recent successes said, “What do you mean, funny? He’s a vent.”
YouTube: “TOP TURNS” – HARRY WORTH – (Comedian)
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