Profile: Paul Zerdin, ventriloquist
- Brian Donaldson
- 31 March 2016
After finding glory on America’s Got Talent, UK ventriloquist Paul Zerdin looks set to take on Las Vegas with a permanent residency. Before he heads off into the sunset, his Spongefinger show is coming your way
Having to cancel a large chunk of a tour is not a new thing in showbusiness circles. Sometimes dates can be pulled through illness or (worse) lack of interest, but in Paul Zerdin’s case, he can most likely be forgiven. Let’s face it, were you ever to be offered your own residency on the Las Vegas Strip, chances are you’d be snapping that opportunity up too.
The reason behind the upsurge of interest in Zerdin’s old-school ventriloquism act is clear: a victory in a certain America’s Got Talent TV show while performing with his buddies, the precocious Baby, cantankerous OAP Albert and cheeky pre-teen Sam. He even beat off another Brit in the final, magician Piff the Magic Dragon.
That glorious achievement last September may have lost a slight glimmer from its triumphant sheen when other vents came forward just days after he scooped the prize to cry foul over potential plagiarism. Zerdin immediately hit back claiming that his techniques were standard in the business and pre-dated even those who were bawling ‘j’accuse’.
Still, winning TV talent shows is not a new thing for Zerdin, given that he won the Jonathan Ross-helmed Big Big Talent Show back in 1996. Two decades on and Zerdin celebrated Yuletide 2015 by appearing on Michael McIntyre’s Big Christmas Show in front of mere handfuls of port-soaked viewers. The phrase ‘catch him while you can’ has probably never been more pertinent. Once Zerdin’s Spongefinger dates are done, will we ever see him and his sleight-of-mouth back on these shores again?
Paul Zerdin: Spongefinger is on tour from Fri 8–Mon 18 Apr.