Germany-based performer Charles Prelle had a ventriloquial dog act, i.e. he placed masks over the dog’s mouths, they would move their jaws and Prelle would supply the voices. His so-called “Animal Circus” toured American vaudeville about a century ago. Whether he engaged in any bar bets is unknown.
To find out more about the variety arts past and present, consult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever nutty books are sold. And don’t miss Chain of Fools: Silent Comedy and Its Legacies from Nickelodeons to Youtube, to be released by Bear Manor Media in 2013.