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!