Hi there, I’m Lee
You're standing behind the curtain, ready to go on stage for the first time. You're excited and your adrenaline is pumping because you've dreamed of this moment for as long as you can remember. The MC announces you and your partner's name, and you walk on stage, into the spotlight, to the applause of the crowd!
You begin your routine, joking with your "sidekick" and the audience responds with laughter, wonderment and applause. You're a huge hit! After the show many people crowd around to compliment you on your amazing talent and you think to yourself:
"Why did I wait so long to become a ventriloquist?...”
Well, now you can join the thousands of others who have made their dream of becoming a ventriloquist come true by becoming a student of the Ventriloquist Academy Online Ventriloquist School!
I've been online teaching people ventriloquism for over 25 years!
How it all began
Hi. My name is Lee Cornell. I first became “hooked” on ventriloquism when I was 9 years old. The only gift I wanted for Christmas that year was a ventriloquist puppet from the annual Sears Christmas catalog (anyone else remember those?). I vividly remember lying awake in bed each night – wanting so badly to become a ventriloquist.
On Christmas morning, with it gently snowing outside (it's cliche', but true) and the smell of my mom's hot chocolate heating on the stove (no microwaves in those days!), I carefully opened the one package that I felt might contain the gift I so desperately wanted. My wish came true!
The box contained what would become my first ventriloquist puppet. I named him Jerry. Now, I thought, I was on my way to becoming a ventriloquist!
The puppet came with a little four page booklet that only explained the basics of ventriloquism. And, it was nowhere near detailed enough to show me how to become a ventriloquist. I tried to learn from the booklet, but I could not. So, my quest to become a ventriloquist continued.
I went to my local library and checked out books on ventriloquism. I took mail order courses. I sought advice from a local professional ventriloquist I knew at the time. I practiced every chance I could. And, quite frankly, I thought about giving up. People around me told me that I was wasting my time and that I would never succeed.
But, I still had "the dream." So I kept working. And, finally, after many months of practice and hard work, I did become a ventriloquist.
I'll never forget the look on the faces of my friends and family when I made Jerry "talk." Their jaws dropped! Suddenly I was not the kid who would "never be able to do it." Instead, I was admired by all of those around me. I had always been a shy person, but ventriloquism gave me a lot more confidence in myself and opened opportunities for me that I would have never been offered.
I began performing when I was 12 years old and have been doing shows ever since - over 40 years!
Was it worth it?
There is nothing like the feeling of performing a show for a live audience. It’s such a rush and people always want to talk after the show about the magic and illusion of ventriloquism.
Over the past 40 plus years, the question people most often ask me is, “How did you make that puppet look so alive? You had me believing he was a real person!” This is the greatest compliment you will receive as a ventriloquist. It’s when the audience gets so caught up in the illusion of your skill that, for a few moments, they think of your puppet as a living thing.
The performing opportunities, and the chance to make a really good income (either full time or part time), for a ventriloquist are nearly endless. Stage, night clubs, television, banquets, corporate functions, comedy clubs, school shows, churches, hospital shows, fairs and carnivals, library shows. The list goes on and on.
And, if you are a magician, clown or some other type of entertainer, adding ventriloquism adds even more variety and excitement to your show and makes you more in demand as a performer. This allows you to charge more money for your services.
Does it have to be so hard?
Years ago when I was starting, I realized that most ventriloquism books, videos and courses were either too complicated, did not contain enough information, were out of date, or took months to complete. That’s what I experienced when I was learning.
The reason most people don’t become ventriloquists is because a lot of materials on the market today make it difficult to learn as quickly as most people would like. They lose interest and quit before they reach their goal of becoming a ventriloquist.
Who can become a ventriloquist?
Let me shatter a big myth right now. You don’t need some sort of weird throat or voice, or be some kind of “freak of nature” to become a ventriloquist. Can you talk? If you can, then you can become a ventriloquist. All it takes is a willingness to follow my step-by-step instructions and the commitment to practice just a few FUN minutes per day.
You can be performing in as little as 30 days!
The course is broken up into short, fun segments and guides you with video demonstrations in each of the lessons.
You can become a ventriloquist by only practicing 10-15 minutes per day!
Creator of Ventriloquism 101
Tapping into my degree in TV and video production, I decided to produce a video course, drawing on my (at that time) 25 years of being a ventriloquist. And I designed the course so that people could learn the secrets to this wonderful art form quickly and easily. You’ll become a ventriloquist faster than the driver of the pole position car at the Indianapolis 500!
I called it Ventriloquism 101 and it was released on the World Wide Web in 1997. It quickly became the bestselling Internet video course in the world - selling thousands and thousands of copies over the years.
Over the years
I've been featured offline, online and in several magazines
over the years - recently as a cover story. I also have been booked as a performer at the Vent Haven International Ventriloquism ConVENTion.
Actively Involved in the Ventriloquism Community
I have been in the Ventriloquism community since I got my first puppet, and it has been a blast. I was extremely honored recently to be chosen as a recipient of the W.S. Berger Distinguished Service Award.
Ventriloquism Continues Strong
Ventriloquism is SUPER HOT right now as a performing art. Even though I've been performing nearly my whole life and teaching people for decades, a lot of people thought that ventriloquism and ventriloquists were a dying breed.
But with vents like Jeff Dunham becoming one of the top entertainers in the world selling out stadiums night after night, Terry Fator and Darci Lynne Farmer winning America's Got Talent and longtime pro Jay Johnson winning a Tony Award for his one man show The Two and Only on Broadway, there has never been a better time to learn how to become a ventriloquist.
Time Marches On
Over the years, as my Ventriloquism 101 website grew, I began creating other training resources for ventriloquists. Some I put together on my own. Others I worked with other professionals on - videos, audio CD's, books, etc.
But as time has marched on, I've realized that people aren't much interested in purchasing physical products like DVD's, CD's and books. In today's streaming and digital information world, people want access to training on demand.
I not only wanted to move my Ventriloquism 101 instruction over to a digital platform, but I also wanted to make it easy to add new offerings as I come out with them!
That's why I created the Ventriloquist Academy Online Membership website. So, you can immediately begin learning from all of the included resources and then be notified as I add new materials. And I have a ton of ideas for additions to the academy.
There are no physical products shipped - No DVD's, CD's or books. All of the content is accessed online in a secure members area that you can access from any device - computer, laptop, iPad, mobile device!
The Academy is Born
Behind the Scenes with Friends
Who hasn't heard of superstar comic ventriloquist Jeff Dunham, Walter, Achmed the Dead Terrorist (" I Keel You!") and Peanut? I've been good friends with Jeff for 20 years and have seen his sold out arena show many times as his guest. He is one of the top money making comics on the planet. And just a great guy.
You may have seen Terry on "America's Got Talent." He won the competition and the $1 million in 2007. He now has his own theater in Las Vegas and is one of the must see shows in town.
You may remember Jay from his starring role in the hit TV series "Soap" that ran from 1977-1981. Jay and his sidekick Bob were on the show for it's five year run. He also won a Tony award for his one man Broadway show "The Two and Only" in 2006. Jay continues to work on nearly all of the cruise lines that set sail.