Mark Merchant

When Mark Merchant was eight years old in Atlanta, Georgia, his parents were so concerned with his tendency to talk to himself they had him examined for multiple personality disorder.

The jury is still out on his level of disorder. However that same talking to himself, without moving his lips, has taken him around the world, paid for his home, and introduced Mark to his wife of 21 years.

A chance meeting with legendary ventriloquist Jimmy Nelson, of the Nestle’s Quik television commercials in the 1960’s started Mark on the path on which he is still thriving. Nelson’s record of ventriloquism instructions featuring the characters Danny O’Day and Farfel led to the development of Mark’s vocal characterizations and superb technical skill. In high school Mark was known to call himself out of class by using his voice tossing ability and make it appear to come from the PA system. Totally devoid of athletic ability, the penchant for making others laugh was his ticket to fun and girlfriends, not always in that order.

Mark’s first professional engagement as a comedy ventriloquist was on a USO tour for American service men and women at bases all over Europe. He continues his association with the USO and has recently entertained American forces at bases in Georgia and the Middle East.

A 30-year career in comedy ventriloquism has traversed from cruises to casinos and corporate events all over the world. Atlantic City Magazine awarded him “Best Variety Act” for his performance. Crystal Cruises gave him the award for Entertainer of the Year. This was a great honor to Mark and offered him a balcony stateroom for one voyage! Mark’s time on stage features original material as fresh as the day’s news headlines and political humor with something for everyone. Never partisan, he entertained for leaders as varied as President Jimmy Carter and Governor Sarah Palin. Valley Magazine reviewed Mark’s act as, “Clever, edgy and so funny we were wiping the tears from our eyes with cocktail napkins.” The Reno-Gazzette commented, “This act is politically incorrect and makes fun of its own political incorrectness by pointing out the ridiculous nature of that term. He and his friends are a talented and good humored team!”

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