Theater in Fargo
About Jeff Dunham
Ventriloquist Jeff Dunham launched his “Controlled Chaos Tour” on Oct. 6 in Loveland, Colorado. The comedian has scheduled more than 60 dates through March of 2012.
Highlights of Dunham’s lengthy itinerary include stops in Nashville, Atlanta, Las Vegas, Toronto, Austin, St. Louis, and Phoenix. The last show on his calendar (at least for now) is scheduled for March 31 at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles.
Dunham’s tour is in support of the DVD/Blue-Ray release of his latest Comedy Central special, “Controlled Chaos.” It was his fourth television special with the jovial cable network and it aired on Sept. 25—the discs dropped two days later.
Dunham’s Comedy Central special attracted 8.3 million viewers—5.5 million watched its premiere and then another 2.8 million tuned in for a repeat that aired later that night. His Controlled Chaos DVD/Blue-Ray has already sold more than 100,000 copies.
Dunham’s television special was the most watched cable show of the evening (Sunday). It beat out such lofty programs as “Boardwalk Empire” and “Breaking Bad.” The comedian also outdrew a NASCAR race—an event that has a similar demographic as a Dunham comedy special.
The funny man is one of the most popular and most successful comics working today. He’s been the world’s top grossing live comedian for the past two years.
Yet, for all his achievements Dunham is reviled by critics and comedy snobs. Obviously, ventriloquism is shunned by the comedy intelligentsia. Furthermore, Dunham has the great misfortune of “only” being funny; he’s not edgy, cerebral, or avant-garde. For bombastic critics and pretentious standup fans, producing guffaws is not enough you also have to be a comedy pioneer. Of course, those naysayers fail to realize that Dunham has done more for ventriloquism than any other artist besides Edgar Bergen.
Fans attending a Jeff Dunham show shouldn’t expect Monty Python-esque comedy or Steven Wright-style jokes. What they should expect is a side ache… from laughing so hard. Dunham and his cast of colorful dummies put on a high energy show where the laughter never stops.
We’re not the only ones who praise Dunham’s act. In writing for the Chicago Live Music Examiner, Roger Reiss said Dunham hits audiences with one joke after another. Adam Porter of KOWB 1290 wrote on the Wyoming radio station’s Web site that he’s seen Dunham perform many times over the years and has never been disappointed.
Some have accused Dunham’s comedy of only being funny because it comes from the mouths of puppets, so to speak. Critics claim that the lines Dunham throws to his dummies wouldn’t have the same impact if they came from an actual person.
That sounds astute but if all a performer needed to be funny was a ventriloquist dummy then Demetri Martin would have one. Besides, who cares who, or what, delivers a joke as long as it’s funny. ...read more
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