Ventriloquist Paul Zerdin – seen here with, left to right, Albert, Sam and Baby – performs at the Stress Factory Comedy Club in New Brunswick in March.
It’s weird to interview a ventriloquist like Paul Zerdin on the phone for the obvious reason: you can’t see if her lips are moving. So you have to ask.
âMy lips move like any other human’s lips would move if they were on the phone like a normal person’s. I’ll let you know when they’re not moving,â Zerdin said in an interview with NJ Advance Media. Then her voice grew more childish, “They’re not moving now.”
Since winning the 10th season of “America’s Got Talent” in 2015, Zerdin has completed a race on the Las Vegas Strip and is currently touring the United States, stopping in New Brunswick. Stress Factory Comedy Club for six shows from March 23 to 26. His current show presents sat, a smart kid or a “naughty boy” as Brits like Zerdin would say; grumpy old man Albert; and whiny, demanding Baby, the same puppet trio that helped him win the variety show’s $ 1 million top prize.
Zerdin was the second ventriloquist act to win “AGT”, the first being that of Terry Fator in season two. (In 2008, Fator started a 5-year, $ 10 million run in Las Vegas. He still heads a show at the Mirage – Las Vegas and tours regularly.) Decades later Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy, Shari Lewis and Lambchop and the peak of “The puppet show”, the puppets are hot again. In December, NBC announced that it was screening a new competitive show called “Best puppet” which would feature contestants and their puppets performing in front of a live audience and three judges.
When asked if “mannequin” was considered a politically incorrect term in her field, Zerdin was practical.
âModel, puppet, doll, I don’t care. It’s just a prop for me, which might seem hard for a fan,â he said. “When I’m on stage I pretend they’re real and talk to them like they’re real because that’s part of the illusion. But after the performance they go away and we don’t talk anymore. the next performance. “
What matters most is the comedy of the routine, Zerdin said.
âIt’s not just about not moving your lips, even if you don’t want to move your lips because that helps the illusion. It has to be entertaining. It has to be funny,â he said. . “You can be a brilliant ventriloquist, technically, but it’s really about doing things in a way that people haven’t seen and find really funny.”
Zerdin was already well known in his native UK as a stand-up comedian who dabbled in magic before focusing on ventriloquism. After this tour he will cross the pond again for another tour and develop a show for British television. He is also working on a new act which will include two new puppets. He won’t reveal many details, noting only that one will be American – his other three are British – and the other will be an animal. Both are under construction in London.
âI’m like a kid at Christmas, waiting to get my hands on my presents,â he said. “When you still have that feeling, it means you still love her.”
Stress Factory Comedy Club
90 Church Street, New Brunswick
Tickets: $ 32 – 41, available at www.laughstub.com. March 23-26.