David Pendleton – Ask A Ventriloquist
This week, I’m coming to you from Kalispell, Montana with my dear friend, funnyman and ventriloquist, David Pendleton… and of course, the 94 year-old spinster, Aunt Tilly! And, we are taking questions from our audience.
Q: How old were you when you started comedy?
Daren: Well, define “start comedy”. Is it a wanted thing? Because I was trying it in kindergarten, but I’d quickly find myself facedown in the mud in the middle of the playground from people who didn’t want it. But, professionally, I started when I was 26.
David: I started very young.
Aunt Tilly: I think his parents dropped him on his head when he was a baby.
David: I actually started learning how to be a ventriloquist when I was six-years-old. I had a vinyl record that taught me how to do it. (that’s an old sound recording device that you’d put a needle on and it would go around and around making sound). Anyway, it was called Instant Ventriloquism by Jimmy Nelson, who used to Nestlé’s Chocolate commercials back in the day. And, I did my very first performance when I was eight-years-old.
Q: How old are you now?
Daren: I am 46.
Aunt Tilly: You’re old enough to know better… too young to resist!
David: I’m actually 53.
Aunt Tilly: Oh my… you are old!
Q: What is the strangest place you’ve ever performed?
Daren: Well, I’m from Minnesota, so I’ve been hired to perform at several unique places. I once performed at an ice rink… in the dark, during a snow storm. I’ve also done a lady’s bridal shower. I’m a man who saw what happens on the inside of those things, and I lived to tell the tale… but I’m still not ready to talk about it.
David: I once performed at a bowling alley… while people were still bowling. With all the pins falling and balls rolling and bowlers cheering and jeering, no one could hear a word I was saying.
Daren: Were you invited there, or did you just saunter in and start doing your thing in the midst of the bowling crowd?
Q: David, where did you get your Wooded Americans?
David: Well, Aunt Tilly was actually made for me by a woman named Verna Finley, who actually used to do work on The Muppets years ago. I learned about Verna at a ventriloquist convention.
Daren: What would a ventriloquist convention be like?
David: It is a very fascinating place.
Daren: Yes, I’m sure everyone there is very mentally sound.
David: So, Verna made Aunt Tilly for me, and quick-witted trouble maker Mack Elroy
was originally created in 1938. He’s had a little work done over the years, but his original luster and look has never changed. They only made a few dozen Mack Elroys in the 1930’s, and good ol’ Mack is actually the only one still performing today. All the others are held in private collections and museums.
Daren: So, while you were playing with your dolls, was your sister fixing the car, or what?
Q: What kind of dog is the dopey yet adorable Buford?
David: I don’t think he knows, actually.
Daren: I don’t think he knows that he’s a dog.
David: Quite true
Daren: I had a little girl come up to me after one of our shows recently. She said her favorite puppet was Buford the dog. “I like him because he’s soft… and stupid.” That was her endearing description of her favorite.