Learn the basics of ventriloquism from the master ventriloquist, April Brucker, as she talks about how you can write your very own ventriloquist routine!
How to Write a Ventriloquist Routine
Hi everybody! I'm April Brucker and I'm a master ventriloquist, comedienne, and pupeteer, and I'm here today to show you the basics of writing a ventriloquist routine. You may have seen me on Rachel Ray, Talk Soup, the Wendy Williams Show, My Strange Addiction, What Would You Do?, Telemundo, MTV Europe, and many, many more shows. I've also appeared in venues in New York city, Las Vegas, and Los Angeles. Sp sit back, relax, and let me show you how to make a routine!
Who, What, Where, and Why
When writing a ventriloquist routine, you have to ask "who, what, where, and why?" It's like writing a story for school or an essay. Who are you, and why should we hear about your routine? Because in establishing a ventriloquist routine, you need a straight man and comic relief. And when I say straight man, I don't mean gay or straight, I mean serious. And then you need the foil. It all goes back to Shakespeare. Actually one of the best examples of this is Abbot and Costello, and that is where you can get the basis for a ventriloquist routine. For instance, Abbot was always the serious one, Costello always had the hairbrain scheme. Both people have to be believable, and the relationship has to be believable.
Some of the best advice I got when I started writing comedy was to watch Abbot and Costello. As one friend of mine said: you need a salt shaker and a pepper shaker. You can't have two salt shakers, and you can't have two pepper shakers. So before you start writing for your puppet, you have to know who YOU are! For instance, are you that quite person at the library that doesn't talk? Are you the church lady that's really pious? Are you the pretty lady down the street? Are you the tough guy that likes to work on cars? Or are you the weirdo that lives in the attic? I say this because all of these are ventriloquist personalities. Now the question is, who is your puppet and how are they different from you?
In establishing yourself, the jokes for your puppet or ventriliquist figure, if you want to get technical, will come. Now, before you write a routine, you have to know who your figure is. Who is your figure and why are they important? What are their motivations? What makes them tick? What gets them up in the morning? And remember, they are real! I know that makes me sounds like I crawled out of some scary movie, but the point is that they are real to YOU!
When you put them in the case, that's a different story. When you treat them like they're real outside a performance, that might make you a little weird, but when you are on stage they are real to you. Now how are they different from you? I'm just going to use the example of the tough auto mechanic. The tough auto mechanic guy might have a grandmother puppet that's always hassling him. The church lady might have a bad Sunday school pupil. The pretty woman might have a suitor that's always hassling her. The weird kid in the attic might have an outgoing roomate. But the point is, that they've got to be different than you and they have to cause conflict.
Your ventriloquist figure has to be likeable. Because here's the thing: they can take jabs at you, but they have to be likeable. If they're not likeable, and they're just mean, that's not comedy. If you both jab back and forth, that's comedy.
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