David Strassman takes a selfie with Ted E. Bare. Photos: Adam Shane
David Strassman takes a selfie with Ted E. Bare. Photos: Adam Shane

Man behind the personalities

DAVID Strassman. He's the dark-edged, avant-garde artist who lifted ventriloquism into the 21st century, acquiring a multitude of fans and critical acclaim along the way.

Led by the evil Chuck Wood and delightfully cute Ted E Bare, Strassman's eclectic band of puppets create a multi-layered stage performance.

Audiences forget that it's actually a one-man show.

As a concert act, Strassman is one of the top 5 comics touring Australia, filling theatres nationwide for weeks at a time. As with Tim Minchin and Ross Noble, he combines a unique perspective with jaw-achingly funny material.

And he's not only popular in Australia. Strassman's radically original theatrical productions have played London's West End, New York's Off Broadway and the Edinburgh Fringe. Yet he's most proud that he gets as many laughs in a club in Kalgoorlie or Broken Hill - without all the tech wizardry - as he does in LA or New York.

Strassman has twice revolutionized the dusty old world of ventriloquism.

Firstly, he developed his signature robotics. He and a NASA engineer mate snuck into the Ames Research Facility in Oakland, California one (drunken) evening to create the machinery that would bring Chuck to robotic life. Even in our CGI world, the robotic puppets still shock and delight audiences.

Then Strassman did it again at the famous Edinburgh Fringe, 2010.

He created Duality with acclaimed American writer-director, Steve Altman. The first ever dramatic play (as opposed to comedy sketch) created by a ventriloquist, it garnered five-star reviews.

Critics called his act breathtaking in linguistic and ventriloquistic dexterity taking the ancient art of ventriloquism up several notches as he embraces advances in technology.

Strassman's characters have also made him a unique television personality.

With Chuck asking the questions we all wish we could ask - but are forbidden to by human politeness - Strassman created hilarious television chat shows on Channel 9, in the United Kingdom and New Zealand.

David Strassman lives in Los Angeles with his nine-year-old son, Carson.

He started his career as a street performer in New York City, after opting out of drama school, and rapidly built a career in the comedy club boom that made Seinfeld and others into household names.

Since then, he has toured throughout the world, presenting his show in countries as diverse as South Africa and Denmark, and from Mt Isa to Las Vegas.

When not performing, Strassman is a dedicated adventurer.

A licensed pilot, he loves to escape Los Angeles, and can often be found in Alaska, the Australian outback or visiting islands far far north of Cairns.

Strassman will be back in Australia in November for massive national tour - iTedE, It's about Chucking Time - which also includes Grafton's Saraton Theatre on November 18.

Stay tuned for The Daily Examiner's exclusive interview with the master entertainer in the coming weeks.



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