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Big Jeff
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301 Posts

Profile of Big Jeff
I saw Willie Taylor and Lester on a cruise this month and he was GREAT!!! He sang a lot of songs and did the 'Who's On First' routine from Abbot and Costello. He was the best entertainer they had that week. His first show was on Thurs. and about 6 of our group went, the next night all 12 of us were there and EVERYBODY had a GREAT time. Our ages ranged from 25 to over 80.

This was the first vent I have ever seen live and I was very impressed. Every time willie sang, Lesters mouth never moved.

Big Jeff
Ony Carcamo
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610 Posts

Profile of Ony Carcamo
Hi Big Jeff, when Willie Tyler and Lester did their songs, did they use a minus-one music (background music) or they sang without any accompaniments (just the voices and nothing else)?
Ony Carcamo
Big Jeff
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Profile of Big Jeff
Some of the songs had taped music and some used the live band, I think they all used music. It really sounded like willie was singing, but with sound effects these days it could have been recorded, but I really doubt it. I think he is just that good.
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North Hollywood, CA
262 Posts

Profile of Slappy
I've read some interesting posts here asking whether or not it's appropriate to "borrow" lines or routines. I feel totally compelled to interject. I realize magicians purchase effects that quite often are accompannied by "patter". these are basically suggestions on how to incorporate a particular effect into your is NOT the same as using a pre-written, store bought, routine for your vent figure. Ventriloquism, IMHO has much more in common with stand-up comedy. It is NOT kosher to borrow somone elses routines. It is NOT kosher to borrow even a line!!! I know, I know, it's done all the time...but believe me, for every stolen line there is a comic that knows you stole it and who you stole it from! If you are serious about your work, take the time to write your own, original routine.
"Help, I've got a silver ball stuck on my thumb"
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Inner circle
1193 Posts

Profile of kimmo
I will usually use a published routine as a starting point. As I rehearse it I improvise lines for my characters and it begins to change to suit my style. I also find that many ad libs come out in performance that can be incorporated into the next show and very soon the routine takes shape and becomes my own. Most of the best lines in my act were developed during performance in this way.

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Atlanta, Georgia
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Profile of Chatterbox41
The problem I've found with most routines I've bought over the years, is their style is often outdated. I bought one dialogue book a few years back that actually had a routine that was published in Paul Winchell's book back in the 1950's! Comedy styles have changed a lot over the years, but it seems from watching most vents that they're holding on to what was done by Bergen, Winchell, Nelson, etc.

Ron Lucas once told me that he actually approaches his vent like a stand up comedian. Jeff Dunham does the same. I actually took a course in stand up comedy and am SLOWLY adapting what I've learned to my vent act. My audiences seem to really enjoy it! Even if you're new, be true to your character and be true to your figures character.

An idea one new vent had for learning to write his own material was to keep a box and pen and paper by the tv. When he heard something funny, he wrote it down and put it in the box. Than he would go back every so often and pull the pieces of paper out of the box, put like subjects together, and try to rewrite them to fit his characters. Today he is a full time vent, but he learned what was funny and how to write this way.

Hope this helps,

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