With highest rated television series and specials in the history of comedy channels, half a million views on his You Tube videos, DVD sales exceeding seven million copies and live concerts being sold-out mega-events worldwide, Jeff Dunham is truly one of the most successful comedians of modern day. Small wonder it is then that Forbes entered him in the Celebrity 100 list of most powerful entertainers three years running.
Sowing the Seeds
Jeff Dunham has been practicing ventriloquism since he was only eight years old. He got a Mortimer Snerd dummy or Christmas. It raised Dunham's interest so much that he went to get a book on ventriloquism from the library next day. In an interview in 2011, Jeff stated that he still has that book with him. By the time Dunham reached fourth grade he had firmly decided to become a ventriloquist professionally. He began practicing in front of the mirror for hours and also kept learning about Edgar Bergen's routines and Jimmy Nelson's Instant Ventriloquism records. Dunham started attending Vent Haven ConVENTion in Fort Mitchell, Kentucky, since he was in sixth grade which is the annual international gathering of ventriloquists worldwide and it includes competitions also. Dunham has not missed any ConVENTion, except the one in 1977. The organizers of Vent Have ConVENTion have declared Dunham as ‘Retired Champion' which means that he is now ineligible to enter the competition. This step was essentially taken because other attendees were too scared to compete against him.
The Journey to Stardom
By the age of ten, Jeff Dunham was willing to perform his ventriloquism talents anywhere there was an audience. Right after his graduation, he moved to Los Angeles where he quickly became a sensation on the national comedy club circuit. He appeared on almost all of the standup comedy shows he got to know about as well as started giving guest appearances on Late Night with David Letterman and The Tonight Show. The year 2006 brought the first one-hour prime time special by the incredible comedian. The self produced show by Jeff Dunham; Arguing with Myself proved infectious and became the ultimate sensation of the day. Fans started posting vies and clips all across the Web and Dunham became a phenomenal success. He had actually revived the lost art of ventriloquism with contemporary voice and a new level of comedy altogether. His second production premiered in 2007, titled Spark of Insanity. Like its precursor, this sow went on to make record ratings as well. Dunham's 2008 television event A Very Special Christmas became the cable channel's most-watched program ever with, 6.6 million viewers. Today, Jeff Dunham is an internationally acclaimed comedy star with an undeniable global appeal for his comedy talents. Down the line all these years, Dunham continues to perform to sold-out arenas and Jeff Dunham tickets continue to make record sales making him one of the highest grossing comedy stars of today.
One of the loved characters created by Jeff Dunham is Walter. He is a beer-swilling, grumpy retiree who challenges every word Jeff utters in his presence. Then there is this resolutely red neck Bubba J who has profound likeness for NASCAR. The spicy pepper from the South of the border, José Jalapeño also sometimes accompanies Dunham on stage, much to the delight of fans. The maniac and furry Peanut and then Peanut's own ventriloquist dummy Little Jeff add exciting touch to the shows whenever they appear to perform. And of course there is the bumbling skeleton Achmed the Dead Terrorist. There's also Achmed's as dead long-lost son who sometimes come to say his part in the show with Jeff Dunham. These characters are undoubtedly Dunham's handcrafts but they indeed have an identity of their own and fans of their own. And as the incredible talents of Jeff Dunham make it appear, these characters also have a voice of their own. Jeff Dunham also continues to add new characters time after time in his repertoire.