America's Got Talent's Paul Zerdin will kick off his Las Vegas residency show at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino on April 30
If there is one thing you should know about a ventriloquist, it’s that they are “really not mad or crazy” – and absolutely do not have conversations with their puppets during the car ride home.
“Obviously, I believe that they’re real and I want people to believe that they’re real in the show and on stage, but when I’m off stage I don’t talk to the puppets,” Zerdin tells PEOPLE, while gearing up to kick off his Las Vegas residency at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino on April 30. “It’s like we drive home from the gig and all the puppets are sitting in the seats with their seatbelts on and we’re having a chat about how the gig went – that doesn’t really happen.”
This journey has been nothing but a dream come true for Zerdin, as he started to pursue his life goal when “I was 9 or 10 years old, and I had always been a massive fan of puppets, in particular Sesame Street and The Muppet Show and all those Muppet characters.”
“I entered a school talent competition when I was 15, and most people did something like poetry or tap dancing, but I levitated my sister,” says Zerdin. “I just blew them away, and from that moment on, I remember the next day in the dining hall when I was going to my lunch I could hear people saying, ‘That guy can do magic.'”
But his love for ventriloquism was one that never strayed far from his mind.
“When I left school I became a magician, but at the same time I was still very interested in puppets,” he says. “I was given a book on how to become a ventriloquist and so I started learning this.”
He continues of the milestone that begun it all: “I introduced the puppet character into my magic show and started doing magic with the puppets, and I eventually stopped doing magic and carried on with the puppets and the stand-up over the course of a few years.”
While his famous characters Sam, Baby and Albert are sure to be there by his side, it is a goal to get some of his fellow Las Vegas stars to make surprise guest appearances in the future.
He jokes, “That would be a good start, wouldn’t it?”