Lisa Laird and Pockets Full of Fun!

Lisa Laird and Pockets Full of Fun!

I like to say that my decision to become a ventriloquist is all my children’s fault!!“

Lisa Laird s a professional who, with her puppets, entertains, educates and encourages her young audiences and their parents as POCKETS FULL OF FUN!

In 2000, Lisa began using puppets in her preschool classroom and in 2005 she added ventriloquism to enhance the educational value of the puppets.. Retiring in 2008, She became a full time entertainer and she says that traveling the Midwest to perform has been a wonderful and unexpected adventure.

Lisa acquired her initial ventriloquial education via the Maher Ventriloquism Course. Refining her skills through three levels of the Ventriloquist in Training program offered by Creative Ministry Solutions, she further honed those skills with private training from Stephen Knowles, Ken Groves, and Mark Wade.

Lisa enjoys challenging herself. She has earned four Gold awards from Creative Ministry Solutions and a first place in the 2013 Axtel Video Contest. She was a featured performer at the Vent Haven Ventriloquist ConVENTion in 2014 and 2018.

The Iowa Public TV show PBS Kids Club featured her in an episode, and now she has the thrill of being recognized by children who have seen her on TV.

More recently, she branched out with programs for senior citizens and women’s groups. She works as a library’s children’s outreach director, using her puppets for story times in schools, preschools, day cares and a special intergenerational story time at a nursing home.

Lisa reports that some of the most joyful and heartwarming experiences she has had are when the children remember what her puppets have said in weeks past, and when parents of severely handicapped children share that their children respond to her puppets and how they are more open after those visits.

This article was written by I.V.S. Member and contributor Ann Seeton.

Ventriloquism – What & Why?

Ventriloquism – What Is It?

Ventriloquism or ventriloquy is an illusion of sound. A ventriloquist uses misdirection to create the impression a voice is coming from somewhere else. Ventriloquism is often called “voice throwing.” (Although that is not technically accurate.)

Ventriloquize: to speak or create sound in the manner of a ventriloquist.

Depiction of the Oracle Of Delphi

Ventriloquism comes from the Latin words Venter meaning belly, and Loqui meaning to speak. The early Greeks called the art gastromancy. This is why ventriloquists are also known as belly talkers.

The voices ventriloquists created were thought to be the dead. People believed the deceased took up residence in the ventriloquist’s stomach. Ventriloquists would “interpret” the voices as though they could talk to the dead or the Gods. The Oracle of Delphi in Greek history is believed to have been a ventriloquist.

Other cultures also have a history of ventriloquism used in ritual and religious practices.

In the middle ages, ventriloquism was considered spiritualism. Ventriloquists were considered in league with the devil and associated with witchcraft.

In the eighteenth century, ventriloquism along magic, began the shift from spiritualism to entertainment. Performances became more commonplace at traveling fairs and circuses.

By the end of the century, ventriloquism was an established form of entertainment in England. History tells us most ventriloquist performances during this period featured “distant ventriloquism.”

Distant Ventriloquism

Distant ventriloquism involves the modulation of the ventriloquist’s voice. This creates the illusion the voice originates much further away from the ventriloquist. (Another reason for the common phrase: Throwing The Voice.)

In performances of distant ventriloquism, the ventriloquist would “talk” to invisible entities. The illusion was enhanced by the ventriloquist’s acting skills. He or she would need to act accordingly to convince the audience a voice was coming from a different area.

Near Ventriloquism

Some ventriloquists began to incorporate dolls into their acts. They would “throw their voice” into the doll and have conversations. Irishman James Burne is said to be one of the early adopters of this form known as “near ventriloquism.”

In near ventriloquism, the voice appears to emanate from a puppet located near the ventriloquist.

Fred Russell & Coster Joe

Ventriloquism – As Entertainment

Although several ventriloquists were using puppets and dolls prior to 1886, that is the year Fred Russell began performing at the Palace Theatre in London.

Russell worked with a cheeky-boy figure or dummy called “Coster Joe.” The banter of back and forth dialog has influenced ventriloquists ever since. For this reason, Fred Russell is known as the father of modern ventriloquism.

Following the comedy team format of Fred Russell, British ventriloquist Arthur Prince worked with his figure Sailor Jim. Mr. Prince became one of the highest paid entertainers on the music hall circuit.

The Great Lester

The Great Lester & Frank Byron, Jr.

In the United States, a ventriloquist, The Great Lester became a famous performing with his figure, Frank Byron Jr.

A student of the Great Lester who went on to achieve even greater fame was Edgar Bergen. Together with his character Charlie McCarthy, Bergen appeared in movies and was also a major star on the radio. Bergen was not only famous, but a saavy businessman. He licensed Charlie McCarthy to create toys and souvenirs which were snapped up by the public. A young Walt Disney got the idea to merchandise his characters based on Bergen’s success.

Edgar Bergen & Charlie McCarthy

Paul Winchell & Jerry Mahoney

Jimmy Nelson, Danny O’Day & Farfel

Bergen’s popularity inspired many other ventriloquists. He was followed by Paul Winchell, Jimmy Nelson, Senor Wences and Shari Lewis. All of these ventriloquists appeared on television and became major stars of their day.

During the late 1960’s and 1970’s ventriloquism’s popularity waned. Ventriloquist Willie Tyler appeared in Motown concerts and later on television. Perhaps his most notable appearance was a commercial for McDonald’s, which put Willie in front of millions of viewers.

Senor Wences & Johnnie

Shari Lewis, Charlie Horse & Hush Puppy

Willie Tyler & Lester

Shari Lewis took her fame to the television screen as a children’s entertainer. Her educational programs brought millions along for “The Song That Never Ends.” Lambchop, Charlie Horse and “Hush Puppy” became the introduction to ventriloquism for a whole new generation.

Jay Johnson rose to national fame on the television series SOAP. Originally cast for a bit part, Johnson and his character Bob were such a hit, they remained a part of the show.

During this time another ventriloquist named Ronn Lucas took ventriloquism in a new direction. Ronn was working large venues and needed a puppet with a bigger mouth so it could be easily seen. His solution was a large mouth soft puppet, and Cowboy Billy was created.

Jay Johnson & Bob

Wayland Flowers – Talented Puppeteer

Ronn Lucas

Wikipedia listed Wayland Flowers as a ventriloquist, but Wayland was a very talented puppeteer. Sorry Wikipedia, you got that one wrong.

The difference between a puppeteer and a ventriloquist? The puppeteer moves their lips and doesn’t necessarily interact with the puppet.

Ventriloquism Today

Today, a new generation of ventriloquists have achieved a level of fame never considered by their predecessors.

Jeff Dunham rose to fame through comedy clubs and television appearances. His first comedy special broke viewing records on Comedy Central. Jeff followed that with the creation of Achmed The Dead Terrorist which made him famous throughout the world. According to Forbes Magazine, Jeff is the highest grossing touring comedian in the world.

Ventriloquist Terry Fator won the second season of America’s Got Talent. He then went on to sign the biggest contract ever awarded to a reality contest winner. As of this writing, he headlines his own theater at the Mirage Casino & Resort.

Following in Terry’s footsteps, two more ventriloquists have won the television competition. Paul Zerdin of the United Kingdom, and Darci Lynn of Oklahoma.

The “Got Talent” program is international in scope. Swedish ventriloquist Zillah & her monkey Totte won Sweden’s Got Talent. Zillah & Totte are now one of Sweden’s most popular family/children acts.

David Strassman

Another ventriloquist who has achieved an extremely high level of fame is David Strassman. An American, David appeared on television in Australia. The public had an instant love affair with David’s character Ted E. Bear. As a result, David now sells out auditoriums all over Australia and New Zealand with his touring show.

Nina Conti

Ventriloquist Nina Conti brought her ventriloquism to YouTube and achieved massive fame. In addition to being the rare female ventriloquist, her comedy is extraordinary.

The art of ventriloquism is currently at an all-time popularity high. The International Ventriloquist ConVENTion regularly has between 500 – 600 ventriloquists from around the world. The conVENTion is held every July near Fort Mitchell, KY., the home of the Vent Haven Ventriloquism Museum.

Online, ventriloquist and co-founder of the I.V.S., Tom Crowl offers virtual training in the art of ventriloquism. Crowl’s course may be found at:

And of course, if you are a ventriloquist or fan of ventriloquism, you should consider joining the International Ventriloquist Society. Click here for more details.

Ventriloquist Organizations – A History Of The Ventriloquism Community

Ventriloquist Organizations – A History Of The Ventriloquism Community

The longest running ventriloquism organization was the North American Association of Ventriloquists. North American Association of Ventriloquists - N.A.A.V. - NAAVThe NAAV was originally founded around 1936 by Fred Maher. Fred searched for a way to build the ventriloquism community. He taught ventriloquists through his mail order course, and brought them into the organization. It also allowed him to stay in touch with his clients, while promoting his figures and products. Clinton & Adelia Detweiler purchased Maher Studios from Fred’s widow in 1969. Clinton made the NAAV more visible and turned it into more of an organization, although he still promoted Maher Studios products. Newsy Vents was the official periodical of the NAAV. Clinton closed the NAAV in 2004 due to lack of support from the vent community. In an effort to create a more complete profile of ventriloquist organizations, I reached out to John Arvites. John was a friend of W.S. Berger, founder of the Vent Haven Museum and the head of the now defunct Ventriloquists’ Guild. I started with the above because the N.A.A.V. was not mentioned in the information John sent me. The following information was pulled and re-written from John’s publication. According to the Ventriloquists’ Guild Journal, Volume 3, No. 2-3 (1990): The ventriloquism community as we know it today was founded in 1939.

Ventriloquism was becoming a popular art form.

Bob Neller was the first ventriloquist to appear on the new medium of television. Edgar Bergen appeared on the big screen in the movie: You Can’t Cheat An Honest Man. Max Terhune, the cowboy ventriloquist was appearing in B Westerns. Plus, Bergen was the king of radio. It was the first time that a ventriloquist was one of the most popular entertainers in America.

The public’s interest in ventriloquism was high.

This brought forth young and old ventriloquists hoping to become the next Bergen. It was time for ventriloquists to try and unite like magicians had years earlier. In the spring of 1939, ventriloquial figure maker Frank Marshall tried to organize a meeting of ventriloquists. His hope was to start a club. This meeting was to take place at the Society of American Magicians convention in New York. Only 2 – 3 people showed up, and Frank abandoned the idea. The first official meeting of ventriloquists happened on June 16, 1939. Grace Larsen, known as Madame Pinxy was attending the International Brotherhood of Magicians convention in Battle Creek, MI. Together with ventriloquists Ralph DeShong and Claude Burke, they decided to try and organize a vent “jam session.” Magician Jay Marshall, who also did some ventriloquism helped spread the word. That gathering drew 57 people. As part of the session, they discussed creating a fraternal organization of ventriloquists. Fred Maher (of Maher Studios) spoke in favor of the proposal. Ventriloquist John Ellwood pitched the vent magazine “Double Talk” which had been started by Revello Pettee two years earlier. It was then that the group created an organizational committee for the organization and “Double Talk” became the official magazine of the group.

IBV - International Brotherhood of Ventriloquists

29 members signed up that day.

At the 1940 I.B.M. convention, the ventriloquists held their first business meeting. They officially adopted the name: The International Brotherhood of Ventriloquists. William Garrison was elected the I.B.V.’s first president. Revello Pettee soon folded his magazine and gave his mailing list to the new I.B.V. In June of 1941, the I.B.V. elected a full slate of officers. Judge Frank W. Carter became President, W.S. Berger of Vent haven fame became V.P., Grace Larsen became Secretary and John Ellwood was named Treasurer. It was that year that the Grapevine News was named the official magazine of the I.B.V. The organization had 62 members that year. By October of 1942, the number of members had grown to 138 and by 1943, the I.B.V. had over 200 ventriloquists in their ranks. It wasn’t until 1948 that W.S. Berger was elected President of the I.B.V. He held that position until the club folded in 1960. In 1950, the Grapevine News changed its name to The Oracle. The magazine usually consisted of between 12 to 28 pages. At the height of the I.B.V. in the mid-1950’s, the organization boasted over 1,400 members. Most of the membership was in contact only through the magazine. I.B.V. meetings were still connected to the I.B.M. convention and drew between 20 – 60 people. The club officially closed in1960.

International Ventriloquists' Association - I.V.A. - IVA

The I.V.A.

Gregory & Walter Berlin started the International Ventriloquists’ Association. W.S. Berger provided them with a mailing list. The brothers published the Vent-O-Gram, a mimeographed magazine, from 1963 – 1967. In 1968 – 1969, the Vent-O-Gram was printed, but the Berlins ceased publishing at the end of 1969. Jim Stukel took over the Vent-O-Gram and continued mimeographed editions for a few more years.

The S.A.V.

In 1976, Mark Wade founded the Society of American Ventriloquists. Mark published The New Oracle as the organization’s official magazine. The organization existed for ten years before Mark had to close the doors.

The V.G.

In 1986, the same year the S.A.V. closed, John Arvites started The Ventriloquists’ Guild. The official magazine was The Ventriloquists’ Guild Journal. Without the mailing lists associated with earlier organizations or Vent Haven, the Ventriloquists’ Guild had a tough start. It was thanks to Jay Marshall and Magic, Inc. that the Guild was able to publish their magazine.

International Ventriloquist Association - Ventriloquist Organization

Birth of the I.V.S.

At the end of 2013, Mark Wade, Ken Groves and Tom Crowl re-opened Maher Ventriloquist Studios. The three decided to relaunch the old North American Association of Ventriloquists. Deciding to make it an international organization, the N.A.A.V. was renamed: the International Ventriloquist Society. In November of that year, the International Ventriloquist Society started accepting members. The first Spotlight newsletter was published online December 15, 2013. In 2016, Mark & Ken decided to step down from Maher Studios. Tom took over the reigns of Maher and the I.V.S. The I.V.S. Spotlight continues to grow and additional perks continue to be added for the members.

Let Us Know:

  • Tell us about what ventriloquist organizations you have been a part of.
  • What does a vent organization mean to you?
  • How can we continue to promote and serve the ventriloquism community?
Please comment below:
Questions About Ventriloquism

Questions About Ventriloquism

At the International Ventriloquist Society, Maher Studios, Learn-Ventriloquism and my Comedy Ventriloquist websites, I get a lot emails with questions about ventriloquism.

Today I’m going to answer some:

Questions About Ventriloquism

So in the future, I can just send a link …


Question 1:

Is Jeff Dunham a member of the International Ventriloquist Society?

Yes, he was made a lifetime member shortly after the society was founded.


Question 2:

Can I meet Jeff Dunham or can you tell me how to get in touch with him?

I can not give out any contact information for any of our members. There are privacy acts that prevent this. Even if there weren’t, I respect the privacy of others.

Can you meet Jeff? Possibly. He attends the Vent Haven International Ventriloquist ConVENTion every year. Some years he is in a hurry, stopping by to lecture and then headed right back out for shows. Other years you may pass him in the hallway or be able to get an autograph or picture with him. Jeff’s a very nice guy.


Question 3:

What is your real job?

This is it. I’m a professional ventriloquist. Between my shows, my online activities for the I.V.S., Maher Studios and Learn-Ventriloquism – plus handling the VH ConVENTion website and helping with the convention – I have no time for anything else.


Question 4:

How do ventriloquists talk without moving their lips?

Practice. You must learn to hold your mouth in the ventriloquist’s mouth position. The teeth and lips are slightly separated. This allows a clear path for your voice to emerge and makes your puppet’s voice clearer. There is no magic trick to this technique. It requires a lot of practice.

We have a few tutorials here on the International Ventriloquist Society website:

Jeff Dunham’s Ventriloquism Videos

A Beginner’s Guide To Ventriloquism Tutorial

and you will find additional information on:
How To Do Ventriloquism (With Pictures and Video)

Plus five free lessons on the foundational skills of ventriloquism on:


Question 5:

How do ventriloquists throw their voices?

They don’t really. The voice continues to come from the ventriloquist. Ventriloquism is actually an illusion. By varying your voice’s level and modulation, a skilled performer can make it sound like the voice is further away. For more on how ventriloquists appear to throw their voices, refer to the links in the question above.


Question 6:

How do you become a ventriloquist?

Practice. (I’ve said that before haven’t I?) Ventriloquism is the illusion of life. To be a ventriloquist you must master:

  • How to talk without moving your lips.
  • How to create a different voice for your puppet.
  • How to keep your puppet alive through manipulation.
  • How to hold a believable conversation with your puppet.


Question 7:

How do you talk with your mouth closed?

You don’t. This is a common assumption and it is completely wrong. Your lips and teeth must be slightly parted or the voice will not be intelligible. If your mouth is closed, you will be mumbling and no one will understand you. Refer to Question 4!


Question 8:

What does it mean to throw your voice?

I refer you to Question 5 above. The voice can’t really be thrown. It is an illusion achieved through vocal levels and modulation. Throwing your voice is really creating the illusion that your voice is coming from somewhere else.

I once had someone say they tried it and it didn’t work. Understand that proper training is needed to create the illusion. There are some links above that will take you to ventriloquism tutorials. Check them out!


Question 9:

Who is the most famous ventriloquist?

That depends on who you ask. People you’ve never heard of can be famous.

There are many famous ventriloquists. Today’s most popular ventriloquists include Jeff Dunham, Terry Fator, Darci Lynne, Nina Conti, and the list goes on.

Some of the most famous ventriloquists of all time include: Edgar Bergen, Ray Alan, The Great Lester, Paul Winchell, Jimmy Nelson, Senor Wences, Shari Lewis and again, the list goes on.

I recommend you do some searches for these all time greats and if you find any video, study it! They were greats for a reason.


Question 10:

What does ventriloquy mean?

Ventriloquy is another term for ventriloquism. It is a skill in which the ventriloquist changes his or her voice and makes it appear someone else is talking. That someone could be a puppet or even a “person” offstage or in a trunk.

Ventriloquy is derived from the Latin words: venter – which means belly, and loqui – which means to speak. That is why ventriloquists are also called “Bellytalkers.”


Question 11:

Who invented ventriloquism?

His name was Randolph Ralph and he was born in 1861 … no wait, that is the wrong answer.

Ventriloquism has been around for a LONG time. No one knows exactly who “invented” it. It is said the Greek “Oracles” was actually a ventriloquist who created the voices from the Gods. For a long time, ventriloquism was considered witchcraft or demonic. You have to remember that inanimate objects didn’t speak. At that time there were no voice recorders, radio or television. People felt that voices were proof of life.


Question 12:

Who was the ventriloquist on the TV show SOAP?

That is my friend Jay Johnson. He got the role of Chuck Campbell and the show created the figure Bob to be his sidekick. Today, Jay still performs with Bob. In 2007 Jay won a Tony Award for his Broadway Play “The Two And Only.” You can purchase the recorded show here. It is highly recommended.


What if my ventriloquism question isn’t answered here?

Contact the International Ventriloquist Society – or even better, join us and ask your questions in our member’s forum!

How Long Does It Take To Learn Ventriloquism?

How Long Does It Take To Learn Ventriloquism?

Asking how long does it take to learn ventriloquism is like asking how long does it take to learn to play a piano.

It depends on how well you want to do either.

Learning the basics of ventriloquism or the piano is fairly simple.

The questions is: Do you want to play Chop Sticks? Or are you hoping to play Beethoven’s Fifth?

How long does it take to learn ventriloquism?

With minimal instruction, perhaps even self-taught, you could likely pick out chop sticks. And you could likely do the very basics of ventriloquism, or at least pretend to be a ventriloquist.

I’m often confused about why people think they can just “do” ventriloquism with little to no practice. Yet they would never think the same of playing an instrument or even the art of juggling.

It may have something to do with the fact a good ventriloquist makes it appear so easy.

That is the ventriloquist’s job.

The puppet is supposed to look as if it is alive and separate from the ventriloquist. If the ventriloquist looks as if he or she is operating the puppet or struggling with any aspect of the act, it would destroy the illusion.


Some people believe to learn ventriloquism, all you must do is master how to talk without moving your lips.

That is not true. Lip control is only one aspect of ventriloquism.

But lets get back to the original question:

How Long Does It Take To Learn Ventriloquism?

Everyone has different abilities. Some are quick studies and can learn faster than others. Some may struggle with different techniques.

One thing you don’t want to do is rush the learning process.

Ventriloquism is a lot like building a house. You need a solid foundation or the structure will fail.

The foundation of ventriloquism is and understanding of how our diaphram, lungs, voice box, vocal cords, uvula, throat, nasal passages, mouth structure and tongue work together to create sound.

You can learn how to do ventriloquism in a few weeks. Some people even begin to entertain their family & friends after a few weeks.

But to become a proficient ventriloquist it can take years.

Professional ventriloquists like Jeff Dunham, Terry Fator, Dan Horn and many others rehearse daily to maintain their skill.

If you are looking for an easy talent that works right away, ventriloquism may not be for you.

But if you enjoy a challenge and like to make people laugh, ventriloquism is the perfect art to consider!

If you would like to learn how to do ventriloquism, consider checking out our free ventriloquism tutorial here on

Jeff Dunham has also created some simple ventriloquism video lessons that are available by clicking here.

Finally, if you wish to get some advanced training, the International Ventriloquist Society recommends:

The Maher Course Of Ventriloquism


Tom Crowl’s Learn-Ventriloquism

Today’s Hottest Ventriloquists

Today’s Hottest Ventriloquists

Today’s hottest ventriloquists are superstars in the world of entertainment. Thanks to social media, they have eclipsed their wildest expectations. So who are these talented vents? We’ve created an infographic below. The ventriloquists are in no particular order and this is not a list of top ventriloquists. It is simply a share of some of the best known by the public and ventriloquism community alike.


Hottest Ventriloquists Today Infographic


We invite you to share this colorful infographic with your friends and social network. To download, simply right click the image above and save. Or use a sharing button to post this article to your social media.

If you are a ventriloquist or a fan of one of these talented vents, consider joining the International Ventriloquist Society. You will learn about ventriloquism around the world, get the latest tour schedules from the pros and there are plenty of other benefits to being a member.

Join today!

Let us know in the comments below:

Did we miss someone? Who in your opinion are the most popular ventriloquists of today?


Who would be on your list for the most popular ventriloquists of yesteryear?

Who would be on your list for the most talented ventriloquists of all time?

Tell us below because those infographics will be coming soon!


First Annual IVS Script Writing Contest To Launch In September

First Annual IVS Script Writing Contest To Launch In September

IVS Script Writing Contest Announced!

Tim Fisher, a new member of the I.V.S., offered a great idea in the comments section of issue #23 of the Spotlight.

He suggested the I.V.S. hold an annual (or bi-annual) script competition. Members could post a script and we can all vote for the best.

This reminded me of something Chuck Lyons and I had discussed in the past.

Chuck told me that Clinton Detweiler used to have members of the NAAV (North American Association of Ventriloquists) submit scripts.

IVS Script Writing Contest follows in the tradition of the NAAV

Clinton would compile the scripts into a book and publish it under the NAAV banner.

Tim mentioned that this could be used to build up a library in the members only area. New ventriloquists (and some who have been around awhile) always want new scripts.

True dat!

Plus the script area could be an enticement to join the Society.

Again – great idea Tim!

So in the September issue of the Spotlight, we will be launching our first annual IVS Script Writing Contest.

If you are an I.V.S. member, start sharpening your pencil and your jokes! We’d love to have as many of you as possible enter this competition.

If you aren’t a full member of the I.V.S. yet, now is the time to join!

Oh! And there will be a prize. We will announce that in the Spotlight!

Tim’s idea is a great example of how you can help the I.V.S.

How would you improve the organization?

What would benefit you and other ventriloquists?

Feel free to comment in the forum, or email me with your ideas.

Together, we can make the I.V.S. a stronger community that will help everyone.

Thanks for being a member (or even a future member!)

2018 Vent Haven Ventriloquist ConVENTion Notes

2018 Vent Haven Ventriloquist ConVENTion Notes

We just finished the 2018 Vent Haven Ventriloquist ConVENTion in Erlanger, KY.


Why there? Because it is close to the Vent Haven Museum.

The conVENTion raises funds for the museum, the only one in the world dedicated to the history of our art. It houses over 900 figures, photos of ventriloquists from the pros to the amateurs, literature and so much more.

We had 18 countries represented.

When folks in the U.S. say they can’t afford to be there, I can promise them it is much cheaper than adding airfare from South Korea, Australia, Germany or the U.K.

Some of the highlights for me were:

The first group photo of the Learn-Ventriloquism course!

The unofficial group photo! Thanks to all who participated.

Eddie Siller championed the idea and we had a pretty good showing. Unfortunately not everyone knew and we heard about that!

So, if you are a Learn-Ventriloquism member, next year we are doing it again! It happens right after the group photo.

Plus, I’d like to do one for the I.V.S. members that show up!

The performances of three Learn-Ventriloquism students!

Lisa Laird starred in the Wednesday night show and left everyone talking about her character. She filled her 20 minutes with just one puppet and had everyone laughing.

In a world where most ventriloquists do 8 -10 minutes with a puppet, it was refreshing to see this. You have to develop a strong character to create a routine that has that depth.

Dan Sachoff rocked the house on the Thursday night show. His act is so different and very entertaining. If you missed it, it would be hard to explain. You should have been there!

Friday night, Sari Aalto from Finland took to the stage in the International Show. She was so natural and her technique was flawless. She really stunned the crowd with her last routine. It became the talk of the conVENTion.

I would like to stress here that it is her idea and I truly hope no one tries to copy. Sari deserves to make a name for herself with that invention.

Beyond that, it was great to see so many of my friends again. Neale Bacon came from Canada to perform. Chuck Lyons ran the Maher Studios/IVS table in the dealers room. Mark Truman, Wally & Virginia Petersen, Ken Groves and so many others kept the showroom together.

There are truly too many to thank and I know I would miss someone, so I’ll just give my:


And of course, thanks to everyone who attended. The conVENTion is a labor of love and without you, I’d have to spend the week with Mark Wade & Ken Groves in an empty hotel!

Brrrrrr … that gave me a chill!

If you were unable to attend the Vent Haven Ventriloquist ConVENTion this year, start saving now for 2019! Details will appear on the conVENTion website in October!


Exciting new things are coming to the IVS site. Make sure to tell everyone about the new free content and encourage them to consider joining!

Finding A Mentor

Finding A Mentor

Do you need a mentor? So many people try to do everything themselves. A mentor can not only coach, encourage and motivate you, but also shorten the learning curve.

In this week’s episode, we discuss the subject of mentors. What makes a good mentor? How to find someone you trust. How a mentor relationship works. If you have ever wished you could have personal help with this art, pay close attention to this episode.

Don’t have time to listen now? Download this episode to your computer, tablet or phone and listen on the go!

Right Click & Save To Download This Episode

Take a moment to leave a note and share your thoughts in the comment section below:

(Please note – when the I.V.S. transitioned to this site, all previous comments were lost – so please share your thoughts!)

Finding A Mentor

The Coolest Gigs Ever

This week Mark, Ken and I will share our memories of our coolest gigs ever!

During the show, I mentioned a video I shot in Mexico. In case you want to see it – here it is!

Don’t have time to listen now? Download this episode to your computer, tablet or phone and listen on the go!

Right Click & Save To Download This Episode

Take a moment to leave a note and share your thoughts in the comment section below:

(Please note – when the I.V.S. transitioned to this site, all previous comments were lost – so please share your thoughts!)