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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » I'm a real boy! » » Comedy vs. Least amount of movement (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Dynamike
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What do you think is most important that will please an audience, comedy or least amount of movement? I think comedy is most important. Jeff Dunham does move his lips where they can be seen, but has great comedy.
Chatterbox41
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Comedy is most important, but it really doesn't have to be an either or situation. Jeff's technique used to be perfect when he was younger as are some others. The late Johnny Main opened for some of the "biggies" and they couldn't follow his humor and his lip control was perfect! I remember at the Vent Haven convention someone zoomed in on his lips with a video camera while he did tongue twisters... not a quiver! Most of us don't maintain that level of practice and therefore technical ability all the time. We still should strive to keep still lips even though some don't.

Just my humble opinion,

Gary
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Material and the figure's personality. Bergen's the obvious example. We ignored his lips because they were so compelling that we wanted Charlie and Mort and Effie to be real and didn't want anything getting in the way of that. That's the genius of Bergen's work. Lip control, not so much.

-Philip
Dickens & Dave
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Oh Please. No. Not the Bergen example again.
And who here is going to be Bergen?
As I understand it, his lip control was quite good before radio, then came the radio show and he had to sacrifice lip control for clarity on the radio, and after that, his and Charlie's popularity was so phenomenal, it didn't matter as much.
So again, I ask, who is going to be Bergen? Who, now, is going achieve incredible fame and stardom on radio?

If you want to be a good puppeteer, material and the figure's personality are all that's important.
If you want to be a good ventriloquist, then material, figure's personality and lip control are all important.
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Servante
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Hey, don't make me come up there.

Bergen was good as an example, okay? Everybody knows Bergen. I would have used Irving Feetlebaum, but most people have never heard of him.
marshalldoll
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Philip I am with you. There is no better example of a combination of movement and comedy to show how ventriloquism should be done. I too think lip control should be the best you can do but if you have the other two working right no one is going to be looking at your lips. They should be laughing too hard to even care.
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Quote:
On 2011-11-21 17:06, Servante wrote:
Bergen was good as an example, okay? Everybody knows Bergen.

Bergen was/is a good example for manipulation and especially for looking like he is really relating to the figure.
But as I've said before, I seriously doubt that he would want part of his legacy to the art to be using him as an example not to worry about lip control.

Quote:
On 2011-11-21 17:51, marshalldoll wrote:
There is no better example of a combination of movement and comedy to show how ventriloquism should be done. I too think lip control should be the best you can do but if you have the other two working right no one is going to be looking at your lips. They should be laughing too hard to even care.

There is no better example, of the things I mentioned above, but not of how ventriloquism should be done.
"....no one is going to be looking at your lips."?
The one thing the general public knows about ventriloquism and they are not going to look to see if your are doing the one thing they know about it?
That doesn't even begin to make sense.
Yes, if manipulation and material is good, they may stop paying attention to the lip control, but to think they're not going to notice is self-delusion.

I'll just never, never, never understand how people can keep trying to downplay this one aspect of the art.
I know why they do, because it's hard, it takes a lot of practice, and it's easier to say it doesn't matter and not worry about it.
If it's right, then every book about ventriloquism needs to be rewritten because I've got near all of them and have yet to see one that says it doesn't matter, on the contrary, they spend a good amount of pages describing how to do it.

I'm not saying everyone has to be or can be perfect, but everyone practicing the art should always be trying to do it the best they can - completely, and if you're going to use someone as an example who doesn't, use them as an example for the parts they do well, but don't use them as an example of the parts they don't do well and as an excuse to not do that part well.
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Dickens & Dave
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Quote:
On 2011-11-21 17:06, Servante wrote:
I would have used Irving Feetlebaum, but most people have never heard of him.

Sure, Irving, isn't he Harry Hendershnickerson's cousin?
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Servante
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Okay. Fine. YOU'VE heard of him.
Dickens & Dave
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Actually, I heard about him from his other cousin, Pauline Sandnicapaloosinia, she's the one that lives over in Allbeweinersville and runs The County Home for Wayward Cats with ADHD. I understand Irving regularly does free shows for the residents.
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Wanlu
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Oh sweet Pauline... we went out a few times. She did mention Irving but never mentioned Harry. Smile
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My lousy lip control almost made me quit ventriloquism...

Then I realized my lip control is only terrible when I am with my old man character... for the rest of my characters, my lip control is still not perfect but much better. Which is why I seldom use my old man character. Smile
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harris
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Usually I have pretty good lip control. I also have noticed I don't have the throat movement some vents exhibit.

Three weeks ago, I was video taped at an open mic. The tape might someday make it to youtube. The response of the audience was great. While watching, at first my ego focused on my less than perfect lip control. The audience's reaction indicated, that they didn't seem to mind.

Bergen joked about trying to have his lips insured by Lloyd's of London. Charlie quipped, They wouldn't insure a moving target.

On a side note, comedy is not the only thing vent can be used for. Dramatic moments can and imho should happen during routines. All emotions joy, sadness, fear can work in vent programs.

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manal
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Lately I have been watching all the footage of Bergen I can find. I have intentionally been focusing on watching for lip movement but it is hard to do as when Charlie "speaks" my eyes are involuntarily drawn to the dummy.
I noticied that Bergins lip control seems to me to be pretty good. However his entire head moves all over with every word Charlie "speaks". I never noticed until I made a conscious effort to watch Mr. Bergen .
He really made his figures come alive.
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Yes. I noticed that about him back in the day...right about the time he started hosting a show called "Do You Trust Your Wife," which was a stupid quiz show (Later taken over by some kid named Johnny Carson with a name change to "Who Do You Trust?")...I believe he started the head movement business to hide the lip control thing. He shouldn't have bothered. Though I was a kid vent back in the day, and watched the program SPECIFICALLY to see Bergen's work, I found myself watching Charlie, instead. Absolutely right. Couldn't NOT watch Charlie. Smile

-Philip
KeithS
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Interesting point about Bergen's head movement. I never really thought about it until I read Al Stevens book. He briefly mentions it. Now I see that he even did it in his early Vitophone shorts. While it may have been to hide his lip control, it seems to me his head movement mirrors Charlie's head movements. Perhaps this was simply a bad habit he developed early on and never corrected it - or needed to since, as was mentioned here, we are so drawn to watch Charlie anyway that it doesn't really matter. I think that's another example of his brilliance.

It reminds me of how Dizzy Gillespie blew his trumpet, by puffing out his cheeks. This is such a huge no no that any elementary school band teacher would correct it as soon as it was detected. But, it didn't matter in the end because Dizzy was such a genius.
Dickens & Dave
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I've noticed his head movement as well, I never really thought it was something to hide his lip movement, just thought of it as just something he did.
I've always said the brilliance of Bergen is how he related to his figures, but that's really a simplified way to say it. I think a big part of it with him was just his own manner. I never had the honor of meeting him, but I have a strong feeling anyone that did meet him were probably made to feel immediately comfortable and at ease around him despite his fame and stardom, and he carried that to his conversations with his figures.
While his was still the standard, figure gets the funny lines, while vent is the straight guy butt of the jokes, it wasn't the "standard" same old funny guy/straight guy feeling - he had sort of a fatherly way of interacting with his figures.
Mostly, I guess in the end, he just had that "something", a "something" that is very difficult to describe, not a technique that can be taught in a book, it was just his manner is the closest I think I can get to describing it.
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Servante
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Keith, I haven't seen the Vitaphones you mention, but I don't remember seeing the head thing in the full length films. 'Course, the difference might be in the film director(s). A director of shorts is hurrying to get things shot on a smaller budget with a smaller crew, and might not spend as much time with the actors as with the camera, light and sound guys.
To me, the fact that I couldn't keep my eyes off Charlie attests to the amazing talent of Bergen. In his later TV appearances, I simply couldn't watch what I meant to watch for.
Hawk (If people continue to call you by your real name, I may have to abandon my nickname for you), I think that's a splendid point about Bergen's "fatherly" characterization. Never thought about it till now.

-Philip
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Quote:
On 2011-11-23 11:34, Servante wrote:
Hawk (If people continue to call you by your real name, I may have to abandon my nickname for you),

I would have signed up under my real name, or with "Dickens & Dave, but I started using blueshawk a long time ago from being on music forums, it just got to be a habit to use it and I haven't wanted to bother to go through whatever I got to do to change it on here.
(Of course, that's assuming you're talking about "hawk" and not some other nickname I'd rather not know about.....) Smile
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manal
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Check out "Letter of Introduction". Bergen does the head thing every time Charlie speaks. Same with the WC Fields movie where he is in the circus.
Life is too important to take seriously.

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