In a new documentary entitled "The Hymie and Stymie Show", I chronicle an inspired journey into the ancient art of ventriloquism. I was a working musician and jazz guitar innovator when at age 33, a chance encounter with a ventriloquist dummy set me on a brand new path. And though the comedy act that resulted was rooted in the patter and parody style of comedy's golden age, the content of that act was a far cry from Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy.

   Ventriloquists are not normally thought of as social satirists. While comedians from Aristophanes through Lenny Bruce regularly lifted the veil off society to expose its hidden underbelly, no such tradition ever existed in the white bread medium of ventriloquism. There had never been a known ventriloquist act that addressed social issues and where the subtext spoke louder than the stage action. In 1989 however, I created one.

     The Hymie And Stymie Show was a comedy act that juxtaposed two characters from a bygone era - one Jewish, one Negro, and one need only read Hymie's introductory parody lyrics to George M. Cohan’s “You’re a Grand Old Flag” to see that this act aimed beyond the joke:

I am Hymie the Jew, and I’m better than you
I’m a member of the chosen race
I got a clever mind, I can rob you blind
While I’m smiling right in your face
I’m only out for me and my own fam-i-ly
And I couldn't’ give a damn for you
I should live and be well, but you can go to hell
That is why... I am Hy......mie the Jew

       I drew both characters straight from the stereotypes and their cultural disconnect provided comic fodder for song parodies like “There’s No Business Like The Ho Business” and a penis size lament entitled “In My Pants”. Even Hitler made it into the act as a Senor Wences-style puppet who'd been hiding in a box since the end of the Third Reich.

     Ventriloquism had been a departure for me - a jazz musician who at age 23 became the first man on earth to invent a way to improvise harmonized guitar melodies - an innovation that Guitar World Magazine in 1981 hailed as "more profound than the contribution of Les Paul".

     But I always had a passion for antique collecting and in the mid 80's, that passion turned to ventriloquist memorabilia. One day I picked up two puppets and using an old Amos 'N Andy script, took a blind stab into the art of voice throwing. But no sooner had the dialog begun when one of those puppets went off-script, suddenly began speaking in a Yiddish dialect, and a comedy act was born.

      Part One of this film documentary traces the history of that act from its moment of inception through the poignant realization that what I'd created was simply too controversial to ever hope for a spot on Johnny Carson's couch. Part Two showcases that original Hymie and Stymie Ventriloquist Show in all its uncensored glory. Finally, the world will get to see what may've have been the funniest ventriloquist act ever captured on videotape.

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