Neil Skinner, ventriloquist

Posted on April 24, 2013


When the weather gets nice, Madison residents may come across Eddie the Italian sitting outside of State Street Brats, cracking jokes to those who pass by. Eddie is about three feet tall with bulging green eyes, a large nose and rosy cheeks.

Eddie is one of the many puppets brought to life by ventriloquist Neil Skinner. For Skinner, ventriloquism has been a life-long passion.

“I saw the Johnny Carson show when I was really little, and I actually thought the puppet was real,” says Skinner “I was so taken in by it. I just had to have a puppet.”

Skinner got that puppet in kindergarten. He grew up and went to the Fred Maher School of Ventriloquism in Littleton, Colo.

For Skinner, the best part of being a ventriloquist is making people happy.

“I do a lot of slapstick, maybe a one-liner or a joke,” he says. “Even if they don’t participate, they always smile as they walk by.”

— Jenny Ingish