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June 24, 2017

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Review: Funny, talented Paul Zerdin offers nonstop laughs in ‘Mouthing Off’

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Denise Truscello / WireImage / DeniseTruscello.net

The grand opening of Paul Zerdin’s “Mouthing Off” on Friday, May 13, 2016, at Planet Hollywood.

Paul Zerdin Grand Opening

The grand opening of Paul Zerdin’s “Mouthing Off” on Friday, May 13, 2016, at Planet Hollywood. Launch slideshow »

Paul Zerdin

Paul Zerdin

The hilarious laughter is nonstop, and “Mouthing Off” is exactly the right name for British comedy ventriloquist Paul Zerdin’s first headlining show on the Las Vegas Strip. I haven’t laughed so much and so hard since I heard Andrew Dice Clay rip 7-Eleven managers in one of his amazing riffs.

I don’t heap lavish praise on the Season 10 “America’s Got Talent” winner just because he’s British and can get away with the cheeky stuff with his suave London accent. I say it because he’s genuinely very funny and extremely talented. He does things with his ventriloquist voice that haven’t been heard before. How do his dolls keep moving and talking when he goes offstage?

Paul’s demonstrations of his vocal gymnastics are incredibly impressive, throwing his voice into the stage rafters where matching mouthing video suddenly appears. He also performs the difficult trick of swapping his dummy’s voice with his own.

But it’s his back-and-forth with his trio of comical misfits that gets the standing ovations and tremendous applause from the PH Showroom audience at Planet Hollywood.

Precocious infant Baby, sharp-tongued Sam and belligerent Albert are the supporting cast of doll characters, although we have to admit that stage partner Robyn Mellor also is a doll with her own beautiful vocal volleys for the songs that play a part in the production.

The opening video that shows Paul stranded on I-15 in the Mojave Desert waiting for an Uber pickup also is different from the norm. Grandpa Albert, the old-age pensioner, makes his entrance from a trunk where he’s caught sitting on a toilet. Sam holds down the fort for a shot at solo stardom, coming to life with his own dialogue while Paul takes an offstage break.

Each is a personality in its own right, but the laugh out loud moments came from the words Paul put into a couple’s mouth when he brought them onstage as volunteers. He re-created the “moving lips” routine he performed with “AGT” judge Howie Mandel that won him the $1 million prize in the most-recent season.

At Planet Hollywood, though, instead of one “dummy” from the audience, he recruited a duo to talk about adult marital situations and get them to dance intimately together. Priceless in every sense of the word!

Leading the cheers at last weekend’s premiere were Paul’s proud parents Dan and Hillary Zerdin, who had flown from England to watch his Las Vegas debut. “AGT” Season 2 ventriloquist winner Terry Fator, who has his rival show at the Mirage, watched the new show during previews, but Linq headliner magician Mat Franco, who also won “AGT,” was there for the official opening night.

Also in attendance: “Under the Influence” stars Frankie Moreno and Lacey Schwimmer of “Dancing With the Stars,” who play the same theater later in the evening; cast members of “Jersey Boys,” “Million Dollar Quartet,” “Absinthe,” “50 Shades! The Parody” and Murray Sawchuck’s nearby headliner show; and Duff Goldman of “Ace of Cakes.”

Everybody agreed that Paul has made the art of ventriloquism cool all over again — as cool as his lookalike impression of fellow British 007 actor Daniel Craig, which ends the 90-minute show in its final blast of hilarity. Many in the audience were astonished at his routines, which included a back-and-forth with his sound engineer trying to sync his voice with the mic.

Paul has landed a three-year residency at Planet Hollywood while prepping his NBC special. I’m guessing that it won’t be long before fellow hotel headliners Britney Spears, Jennifer Lopez and Lionel Richie will be in the audience before their shows. Paul has overnight become a superstar, too, and that’s said without him putting words into my mouth — which he could easily do!

Robin Leach of “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” fame has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past 15 years giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.

Follow Robin Leach on Twitter at Twitter.com/Robin_Leach.

Follow Las Vegas Sun Entertainment + Luxury Senior Editor Don Chareunsy on Twitter at Twitter.com/VDLXEditorDon.

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