If you’ve ever gotten so frustrated with someone you just threw up your hands and walked away, you’re hardly alone. Not that big a deal, really, but what if millions of people were watching you on TV? An on-air fight with your costar would be pretty embarrassing and depending on the circumstances, career ending. On the most important night of his life, British ventriloquist Paul Zerdin stormed offstage after having a fight with his sassy dummy.
For Paul and his dummy Sam, it was a massive career breakthrough: they’d landed a spot on season 10 of “America’s Got Talent” and were now in the quarterfinals. They took the stage at New York’s Radio City Music Hall, their mission being to once again impress the panel of celebrity judges (Howard Stern, Heidi Klum, Mel B., and Howie Mandel).
Almost as soon as they were onstage, Paul and Sam were bickering, their fight rapidly escalating. Paul reminded his dummy, “Look, if it wasn’t for me, you wouldn’t talk.” Fair enough, but Sam fired back with, “Yeah, if it wasn’t for me, you wouldn’t eat.” Apparently the truth hurt. Completely fed up with his dummy’s backtalk, Paul decided to teach him a lesson. He propped Sam up on a stool, lowered the microphone for him, and stalked offstage. The audience and judges were left wondering what was going on. Was this part of the act or had the ventriloquist completely lost it?
But then Sam suddenly looked up and asked, “Has he gone?” As the audience roared with laughter, the triumphant dummy boasted, “Look at this! I’m hands-free!” Sam enjoyed some banter with the audience and the judges until he heard Paul’s footsteps and suddenly shut his mouth and went limp. Striding back onstage, Paul had a good comeback line ready: “Ladies and gentlemen, please don’t get caught up in the world of make-believe. He is, after all, only a puppet.”
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