Monday, May 10, 2010

Le vie en ventriloque

Bonjour, mes amis français, sur mon blog, Graine de ventriloque.

Greetings, my French friends, to my blog, Budding Ventriloquist.

I’m already nervous on so many levels about this post.

I wanted to make potential French readers feel welcome by greeting them in their native tongue. However, the French have a reputation for being kind of persnickety about their language, and kind of nasty when it’s not used properly. My computer generated translation might be all screwed up for all I know.

Then there is the whole French/German rivalry thing. Can I get all the way through this post without just dissing their whole country, thus ruining my growing reputation as one of the ventriloquism world’s finest international ambassadors of goodwill. All just because my parents and my parents' parents never said anything nice about French people?

(Quick note: The term “French/German rivalry” makes it sound like I’m talking couple of high schools and the big football game. Anybody know who won the Hamilton High/Pulaski High game this year? Go! Go, go! Go you mighty Wildcats! Sorry, got all nostalgic there.)

But wouldn’t you know it… I did research and I was really impressed with what I found out about French ventriloquism history:

In the 16th century, Louis Brabant, valet de chambre of King Francis I, won for himself a rich and beautiful heiress by aid of his wonderful talent as a ventriloquist. So you might say that this is the first evidence that being a ventriloquist is a chick magnet.

Hard to knock that as a great national legacy, I say.

Alexandre Vattemare (1796 – 1864) discovered at the age of seven that he could do ventriloquism and imitate sounds. When schooling to be a doctor, the school to give him a diploma because he made cadavers seem to speak during surgical exercises. He went on to perform under the name Monsieur Alexandre.

Talking cadavers! Now that’s funny! That’s Jerry Lewis funny. That’s even funnier than Jerry Lewis funny.

Oops. There’s that Jerry Lewis thing. You know… Jerry Lewis is Monsieur Comic Genius, they think. Now the argument starts and it’s my fault. I could have not brought up how wrong the French are about that.

Can I say that the French make up for it with their contribution to passionate kissing? Or am I reaching to get back to saying good things?

Oh well. I tried.

Now, I had a tough time picking a video this time. There's lots of great ones out there.

Here's French Ventriloquist Yves Malori  doing schtick from his ventriloquist and magic burlesque show entitled "Gastric lavage" that toured Paris and throughout France in 2008.

Just a quick question:  If the French are so finicky about how their language is spoken, how do they deal with the slurring and blurring that comes with ventriloquism voicing? Or are French ventriloquists really, really good? Too bad I can't really tell, though once again I find myself just loving watching ventriloquists make jokes, even if I haven't the foggiest idea what the joke is.

You can find more about Yves Malori at

Quick French lesson:

Ventriloque = Ventriloquist
Ventriloquie = Ventriloquism
Mannequin ventriloque = ventriloquist dummy

No, if I type just the word "dummy" into the translator, it doesn't say "Monsieur Jerry Lewis."

There. That wasn't too insulting, was it?

Think I earned myself some free french wine? Cheese? Both?

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