Friday, February 16, 2007

I’m glad to be back on land, although it is hard to get any sympathy for having to “work” in the Caribbean while most of the country is experiencing record cold weather. The shows went very well, I was delighted at the response. I was asked to do a special midnight show for the crew one evening. It was an honor and a pleasure. There is nothing like doing a show for the “inside” audience.

I obviously had a lot of emails to catch up on when I returned and I am doing that as efficiently as I can. There were a couple of emails defending my show. There seems to be some Internet chat in the “ventriloquist circles” about the “Two and Only” closing. I don’t usually keep up with that sort of thing. There is an old yarn that goes, “get two magicians together and you have a convention, get two ventriloquist together and you have a fight.” I have always preferred to keep out of the “vent” discussions for that reason. They are generally petty remarks by dilatants that choose to judge rather than up lift the art of ventriloquism. It is not my cup of tea.

David Letterman decided to do Ventriloquist Week II and which ventriloquists got chosen to do the week was the topic. For some reason the “Two and Only” was cast into that fray. I don’t read reviews and certainly don’t read Internet chat, so it is hearsay. But my feelings are not.

It seems some are blasting my show. “If it was any good it would still be running.” “Probably not as good as everyone touted.” “What made him think he could compete on Broadway?” Somehow the length of the run has been equated to the quality of the show.

One would think that practitioners of the art of ventriloquism would delight in another’s attempt to break a glass ceiling. Instead it seems to have engendered some odd resentment.

In hindsight the toughest hurtle of my show was trying to overcome the natural bias against the art form itself. A bias that I now know comes from these very “vents” who choose to belittle everything and everyone. Perhaps if those who snipe from the sidelines would attempt to perform better ventriloquism instead of judging and condemning those who are, we could all get a little more respect.

Not that they are reading this, but to those “vents” who demean my show here is a challenge. If you have all the answers where is your show? The Helen Hayes is empty right now. Go for it. Put up or shut up. I would be happy to come and see it and give an unsolicited mean-spirited opinion. Of course your show will have to run for more than seven months on and off Broadway, because right now… I hold that record.
As you were,


Anonymous said...

Any vent who would disparage your show must be an idiot! I'm a fairly accomplished amateur vent with 40 years' experience, and I loved, Loved, LOVED it! I was so thrilled to see one of the world's great vents doing "legitimate" theater on Broadway, elevating the art, and bringing it to the public's attention.

Any self-styled vent who did not revel in your success is no vent at all!

Bob Baker

the other one said...

Maybe if some of those other vents had gotten up off their butts to come see the show they would understand why TAO needed to have a go on B'way. I have a lot of contact with people in the biz and everyone I spoke to that saw TAO had a wonderful experience...including some very cynical theatre people that HATE everything (they are still talking about the show).

Now if any of you bitter vents want to put your money where your mouth is...go for it. Let's see what you can do. I don't need to defend Jay, his talent speaks for itself. Maybe I'm a little biased but of all the vents I have ever seen perform, I've never seen anyone as talented as Mr. Johnson (and I'm old enough to remember a few on Ed Sullivan).

Now that I got that off my chest...glad you're back Jay!

Usher Bob said...

One can always say "IF" about so many things related to theatre.

The show WAS the best it could be and that's that.

IF it ran in the Spring, if there was a different ad campaign, if there wasn't the seemed potential for a Spring booking, if Rosie saw the show, and so on...

*sigh* And who knows if there will be a Spring booking since the Star has dropped out?

Jay, can you rollerskate? ;+)

FiftyNinth said...

Length of run doesn't relate to quality [cough CATS cough]. My favorite one-woman show* played maybe a month, and my favorite one-man-plus-many-puppets show ran over twice as long (which still isn't nearly long enough).

People love to carp and tear other people down. But people who saw your show love to applaud and rave about it.

Welcome back, J. (It's your letter.)

*Favorite one-woman show: Julia Sweeney's GOD SAID HA!

Mr. Pitts said...

Ditto what Bob Baker said, you're a credit to the art.

David Pitts

dan whitten said...

From a producer's perspective, just getting the show to Broadway was monumetal. The legacy of the Sardi's Caricature with BOB, the Smithsonian interest in enshrining BOB next to Howdy Doody and Winchell Mahoney, and of course the National Publicity, the (probable) Tony Nominations and the predictable return to nyc after playing many cities would never have been possible without the Broadway run...finally, it's teh tourist audience that held the show back from a longer run--these are the folks who support broadway at a '65% of the audience' rate and who would prefer to see the tried and true of PHANTOM, MAMA MIA, THE PRODUCERS, etc.

Neale Bacon - Ventriloquist said...

I for one would LOVED to have seen the show. I am sorry about any negative stuff people have been flinging your way.

I agree that we need to work on promoting our art and skip all the BS!

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately Jay, you are right in everything you wrote. Sad, isn't it?
You're definitely one of the best of the best in our art. Keep up the good work, it's great to have someone like you "out there" representing our art!

Dave Boiano

Roy White said...

It appears that there is 1)a lot of jealousy from vents who resent someone succeeding in a what is a difficult art and performance medium and 2)trashing said success is the poor compensation for some who have not been successful because of a lack of talent and/or poor development of their skill. Well, to them I say (and I think the majority of the vents would say) FOOEY ON THEM! I very much want to see "The Two and Only" when it goes on tour. NY is a bit pricey for me, but I plan on getting to the site nearest where I live to see it when it goes on tour.

Please, Jay, do not let a few malcontents "ruin your day" or detract what is a fantastic benchmark in the art of ventriloquism. You are pointing a whole new generation towards something that breaks through the still too prevalent "me and my buddy" kind of performance. A whole new venue and ideology is now there for anyone who has the talent ability to build on it, thanks to you.

Roy White

Matt Bronsil said...

My experience in life...someone is ALWAYS going to complain about a job well done.

Too bad? Yes.
A problem? Yup.
Your problem? Don't let it be.

You have nothing to defend. Your show got great reviews. The vents who are doing well love what you did. Don't let anyone's words make you lose sight of that.

Matt Bronsil

Anonymous said...

I attended "The Two And Only" with family and was shocked when it did not run longer.

Well done Jay!! Thank you for furthering the art! You are appreciated.

Steve Brogan

Anonymous said...

As one of, if not THE best, ventriloquist is the business, it goes without saying that if you weren't good,you would never have had a show on Broadway to begin with. How many vents have had shows on broadway? Exactly.
Jim Bruce