Thursday, August 22, 2013

One Man's Dummy

Today's Bizarro comic imagines an embarrassing predicament particular to a certain segment of the entertainment industry.
Here's my submission sketch for comparison.
In the sketch, one puppet asks the setup question, while in Dan Piraro's finished panel, the conversation is between the ventriloquists. I'm only guessing, but I think Dan made that choice to keep the magical/absurd aspect focused on the sleeping dummy. This is a quiet little gag, so it probably doesn't need two dummies behaving like people. Either way works, but it is interesting to note the slightly different feel in each approach.

Dan likes to draw the dummy and ventriloquist in matching outfits, which is a nice, funny touch. And now I want a red tuxedo.

An earlier sketch, never submitted, shows just one ventriloquist on stage with a sleeping dummy. 
I'd intended to show him thinking something like What a time for my arm to fall asleep!, but felt the gag didn't have enough punch, and almost immediately scribbled this thumbnail in the margin of the same sketchbook page.


Dan's drawing of the matching outfits reminded me of these uncannily accurate dummies of the band NRBQ, which appeared on the cover of their 2004 album Dummy.
Clockwise from top left: Joey Spampinato, Tommy Ardolino, Johnny Spampinato, Terry Adams
NRBQ has been around in various incarnations since the late 1960s, and have created a large body of wonderful records and compositions. The current band includes one original member, Terry Adams. The NRBQ dummies were made by an artist named Heidi Kennedy.

Back on topic:

Ventriloquists and dummies are certainly staple characters in gag cartoons (not to mention bad horror movies). One wonders if there's been a cartoon with a ventriloquist and a dummy on a desert island, being visited by the Grim Reaper.

Here's a ventriloquist-themed illustration I did ten years ago. I believe it was done for the now-defunct New York Press, probably for the astrology column.
As always, you are invited to browse the many collaborations between Dan Piraro and me right here in this blog's Bizarro archive.

Another new bit will appear a week from today.


  1. I like this one. My arms fall asleep regularly due to neurological issues and now I can make a joke about it.

  2. Thank you, Linda, for your comment. I admire and applaud
    your good humor in dealing with this symptom.

    Perhaps you can say that's why you had to abandon a promising career in ventriloquism!