I have people ask me this question all of the time - usually from people who are over 40 and remember when there were ventriloquists on network and cable television. And you know, you don't see ventrilquists on TV as much, so vent must be on it's last leg, right?
I say a resounding "No." In my opinion, ventriloquism is indeed live and well. Sure, you may not see a ventriloquist on TV as often, but that's because there are no "variety" type shows (which ventriloquists were a major part of) on television anymore.
People are more interested in who Brad Pitt is in love with, or who Britney Spears just broke up with. You know - "entertainment" and "reality" shows. Here's some reality for you - those shows provide no lasting entertainment value whatsoever. Who is going to remember or give a flying crap about who the winner of American Idol was 5 years from now. Nobody. But I digress.
Let's examine where ventriloquists are working today. Comedian and vent Jeff Dunham finished in the top 5 of Comedy Central's Standup Showdown this year, and he had his own prime time Comedy Central special that had unbelievable ratings. They were so good, he was asked by Comedy Central to do a second special next summer.
His "Arguing with Myself" show DVD was in the top 5 on amazon.com for several weeks and sales went double platinum! Amazing.
David Letterman had "Ventriloquist Week" in September. What may have started out as a joke, ended up being a huge success.
Jay Johnson (of the TV show "Soap") had his one man vent show appear on Broadway.
There are several vents performing as the headline acts in the mega successful tourist city of Branson, Missouri - Todd Oliver and Jim Barber, to name a couple.
There are over 600 ventriloquists on the yahoogroups ventriloquist list.
Nearly 500 people attend the annual Vent Haven Convention in Ft. Mitchell, KY.
My ventriloquism101.com website averages 12,000 to 16,000 hits per month.
At any given time there are between 250 and 300 vent items for sale on eBay - year after year.
Ventriloquists may not be seen on mainstream television as much anymore, but the art itself is still going strong. You are in good company.