Ventriloquist Paul Zerdin pulled out all the stops during his “America’s Got Talent” performance at Radio City Music Hall. After engaging in a comical argument with his dummy Sam, Zerdin eventually walked off-stage, allowing the mechanical puppet to spring to life and talk by itself. A departure from the classic conversational shtick, this big stunt left the judges gasping in delight and was ultimately enough to advance him to the semifinals.
However, while Zerdin is only now taking American audiences by storm, he’s certainly no stranger to the television spotlight. He’s performed three times at the prestigious Royal Variety Performance, an annual event attended by members of the British Royal Family. Zerdin also won “The Big Big Talent Show” and has been featured on programs such as “Tonight at the London Palladium,” “Generation Game” and “The Jerry Springer Show.” His resume includes stints at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and Montreal’s Just For Laughs Festival.
According to his website, Zerdin became interested in puppeteering at a young age after being gifted a book by celebrated English ventriloquist Ray Alan. He later devoted much of his teen years to the craft, practicing endlessly in front of a mirror to master the skill of speaking with his mouth closed. Now, as a seasoned performer, Zerdin stands out from the crowd, infusing his ventriloquist act with modern stand-up comedy. In fact, he’s been repeatedly heralded for making ventriloquism “cool” again.
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