"I’m dying to be able to throw my voice like a ventriloquist, and freak people out at parties. Does that sound crazy?" – CHARLIE M., BUTTE, MT
Not to ventriloquist and 2015 America’s Got Talent champ Paul Zerdin. “I have a lot of fun being a ‘vent,’” he says. “My girlfriend thinks I have the latest top-of-the-line GPS—she doesn’t know it’s me!”
It can be a bit tough to master: “Your tongue has to take over and re-create the sounds your lips make,” says Zerdin, “almost like learning to speak again.”
But it doesn’t have to take forever. “I learned in three months, though it can take longer,” says ventriloquist Steve Axtell. And, oh, the fun he’s had with it: “I once dismissed everyone from the high school cafeteria during lunch by imitating the sound of the horn,” he says. “A snitch got me taken to the principal’s office, but he just said, ‘Do it for me,’ then laughed and told me never to do it again.”
To start “vent”-ing, try Axtell’s free online “Ventrilo-Quick” guide (axtell.com/vent.html) for intro tips; then check out learn-ventriloquism.com, which offers a full course for just $97.
And if anybody breaks your balls about your new hobby, tell them that AGT champ Zerdin walked off with a $1 million prize. So...who’s the dummy?