Tim GilmerPlaying the part of a Whoopee cushion is not something you wake up one day and just decide to do. It takes years of hard work, conditioning and discipline before you are ready to make that kind of commitment. OK, you might do it impulsively for a Halloween party or in a bar on a drunken dare, but never for a church event, on stage, right?

It all started when I decided to become a competitor in an annual night of humiliation, chutzpah and all-out craziness called Fall Untalent Night, put on by my church. In my first Untalent Night performance, more than 20 years ago, I played a ventriloquist. My 7-year-old daughter was my dummy — decked out in a fluffy dress, face made up with large freckles and a square wooden jaw. She sat on my knee and flapped her jaw when I squeezed the back of her neck with my hand. What came out of her mouth was, of course, my voice. It was the perfect setup to make jokes about the church bigwigs. Visually, I wasn’t the one doing the skewering. It was my 7-year-old dummy-daughter. B