There are no official statistics, but the industry is an enormous cash cow for talent agencies and companies like the National Council on Improv Education. With each ventriloquist, several thousand dollars is paid to his agency.
“How many of their customers are in need of help from the ventriloquist?” asked John Fidler, president of NCOE, who is also the director of the Ventriloquist’s Company.
The answer is not easy to find. A 2008 survey of over 400 ventriloquist companies conducted by the National Council on Improv Education found that, on average, the ventriloquist earns 10 cents per mile for a ventriloquist’s time. So, a $10,000 ventriloquist may make $90,000 per year.
And, that number is not the typical hourly rate. The average is $16.50, according to Michael Schulman, executive vice president for the International Association of Ventrilovers.
“If all you’re doing is doing it on weekends, $16 a mile would be a good, steady, regular income,” said Schulman, who has worked as a ventriloquist for the past 25 years.
That means that in five years, it takes one ventriloquist less money to earn $1 million. But because that’s an average, it could take the work of 50 people.
“You have to start paying attention when doing business with a ventriloquist,” said Bob Deutsch , a former teacher and owner of the Denver ventrilovers-for-hire company, the Denver Ventrilovers. “If they’re charging over four or five figures a month for their services, they don’t need any help.”
There are, of course, exceptions.
According to an article in Vocativ, three ventriloquers won America’s Got Talent in 2007. They were Tony Hurd, who received $3 million; Adam “Dogg” Williams, who got $2.2 million and is a co-host of “Top Chef,” and John “John J.” “Johnny” Deutsch, who won $1.1 million ($1 million of it going to charity). There are several other ventriloquers making the same amount, including Johnny and John’s son, Jason.
So, even if you’re not on the bottom of the food pyramid, your Ventriloquist’s
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