Speaking while drinking

Question: I saw on your past blog that you would email the trick to speaking while drinking to Maher students. Could you fill me in on that trick yet?

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Answer: Without using a trick drinking glass (available at magic shops) I don't know that its possible to speak or sing words while "appearing" to drink water. (It's not physically possible to do such a thing - a trick must be employed).

It is possible, however, to pour a limited amount of water (or other liquid) into your mouth while humming a tune or holding the tone of a note for an extended time. Your tongue will close off the back of your throat. Then as the audience applauds, you bow your head slightly at the same time swallowing the water. Drinking glasses with thick sides, which make a small amount of liquid appear to be much greater, are often employed when perform the "drinking bit" in this manner.

Impressing the audience with this feat is as much about presentation and acting as it is the skill of the trick itself.


  1. Most ventriloquists use the nasal N sound when doing the humming, so that the the liquid in place in the mouth, head held back, and does get in nasal passage.

  2. Make the nasal humming sound by pressing the middle of the tongue against the roof of the mouth (very easy)and no liguid can escape the mouth.

  3. Anonymous1/28/2011

    I made error, like you said by pressing the middle of the tongue against the roof of the moouth (very easy) and no liquid can escape the mouth. The mistake I made is I meant to say it does not get in nasal passage. LeeDean

  4. Anonymous1/29/2011

    Later I got to thinking some more about all this and think that Madeline Maher wrote about it, and Paul Stadelman also, the all important word--"ungha", I think it was. When you say that word specifically the "ung..." part, this puts the tongue in that position (as you say, middle of the tongue against the roof of the mouth) to make the stop over nasal passage for the humming sound and to stop liquid coming out the nose, then when bow head forward when trick over (as you say, you bow your head slightly at the same time swallowing the water). I have one of those thick trick glasses mentioned so there is not much liquid. I think that it was in Grapevine that Ms. Maher wrote about it, and Mr. Stadelman put in book TV Ticklers. LeeDean

  5. Every person that has taken the Maher Course is familiar with the "ung" sound and tongue placement as that is the way Fred Maher teaches the ventriloquist to say the letter "M" in ventriloquist speech. (When I revised the Course I added, as an alternate choice, instructions for using the "N" with the tip of the tongue.)