Ventriloquist Celebrates Bar’s Anniversary with a Racist Puppet


Touché ventriloquist performance

For a Chicago bar’s 45th anniversary party, the owners hired a ventriloquist who introduced a racist puppet of a Black woman…or what was supposed to be a Black woman, per Block Club Chicago. The bar, Touché, held a town hall after the backlash once images of the caricature-like doll circulated social media.

Jerry Halliday went up on stage and introduced his puppet he named Sista Girl. The report says he used a blaccent, butchering AAVE trying to imitate a Black woman’s voice. Witnesses also recall him making jokes about loving watermelon, being on welfare and having many kids. Audience members left before the show was even over. One bartender, Cris Bleaux, was so disgusted, he quit mid-shift just to escape the racist mess on stage.

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“The longer I was there, I started feeling nauseous. I reached a point where I realized my integrity is more than this job. I had to go,” said Bleaux via Block Club Chicago.

Images of “Sista Girl” circulated social media, not only from the performance but also from the bar’s advertisements.

Read the owner’s response from Block Club Chicago:

Chuck Rodocker, owner of Touché, said he and the bar leaders “apologize profusely and sincerely” for the performance. The bar will host a town hall to collect feedback 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Leather Archives & Museum, 6418 N. Greenview Ave.

“Hopefully, people will look at the 45-year history of the establishment over a 45-minute tasteless performance,” Rodocker said. “If there’s something we can do to support someone more in the future, we’d be more than happy to because we are one of the oldest gay bars in the city and always had a very diverse crowd that’s welcoming of women, people of color and people with disabilities.”

In one video of the show, a white audience member tells Halliday, “Everyone in the crowd thinks this is a little weird for 2022.”

I agree, however, post-George Floyd America has either helped people recognize racism or encouraged them to be more racist.

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