A Melbourne-based ventriloquist has boldly claimed to be in career-best form this year, but has also noted the bitter irony that he cannot perform his hilarious show at the moment due to current lockdown rules. Cameron Lonergan has dedicated most of his adult life to the dark art of ventriloquism, slowly developing a niche following at open mic nights across the outer suburbs of Melbourne.

Following a brief run of Melbourne International Comedy Festival shows between 2005 and 2009, Lonergan feared his best performing days were behind him, until the serendipitous fusion of compulsory masks and really bored Melburnians combined to elevate his show to all new levels. Speaking to The Watsonia Bugle, Lonergan said, “It sort of came out of nowhere really. I mean, I’d always struggled with keeping my mouth completely still whilst wrist-deep in my puppet. My material was generally quite good, but my inability to completely nail the art was costing me higher honours in the performing arts.”

Lonergan says things took a positive turn in late-July when compulsory face coverings across Melbourne helped him to paper over the cracks of his previously amateurish show. He said, “Everything just clicked for me, it was actually quite amazing. The mask has been a real game-changer for me. Now I’m wowing all my friends and work colleagues on Zoom chats most nights of the week.”

However, it seems not everyone shares Lonergan’s renewed enthusiasm for his craft. An anonymous friend of the artist contacted us separately to give their side of the story. They said, “It’s getting real bad. I mean, in the past when he invited me to open mic nights I’d just say I was busy, but now I don’t have that excuse. Plus, when he’s mid-show, there’s no way of just sneaking out the back of the room like I used to be able to do. The beady eyes of his little doll just drill right into my soul. It’s haunting.