Tomorrow night at the Moncton Coliseum, there will be a bunch of dummies on stage.
No, this isn’t libel; there will literally be a bunch of dummies on stage when renowned comedian and ventriloquist Jeff Dunham takes the stage. These include a bevy of his most popular sidekicks, including Walter The Grumpy Retiree, the beer-fuelled redneck Bubba J and many more.
These dummies, combined with Dunham’s knack for comedy, have propelled the comedian to some dizzying heights. His Comedy Central specials consistently set global records for ratings and sales.
His fourth Comedy Central Television special Controlled Chaos premiered to more than eight million viewers last September, receiving a same-day debut in more than a dozen countries around the world. At the end of 2011, the Biography Channel’s premiere of Jeff Dunham: Birth Of A Dummy became the network’s top-rated telecast.
And it’s not only on the small screen that Dunham is a hit. The comedian routinely packs arenas all over the world and was named influential industry trade magazine Pollstar’s #1 Comedy Tour in North America for three years in a row. His autobiography All By My Selves: Walter, Peanut, Achmed, And Me
was released in the latter part of 2010 and quickly landed on the New York Times Best Seller list.
Not bad for a guy who, by his own account, wasn’t exactly Mr. Popularity in grade school.
‘Here I was, this unremarkable kid in the third grade,’ Jeff says. ‘I was as average as average could be. I wasn’t popular with girls nor was I popular with my other classmates. I was a little bit pudgy, not really any good at sports and was shy. But I had this dummy and could sit up in the front of the class and make people laugh and get accolades. From that point on, I never wanted to do anything else.’
Asked what those attending his show at the Coliseum can expect, Jeff says that the audience will be treated to an evening that he hopes will be full of laughs. He says that performing live differs greatly from the largely regimented world of television and is something that he relishes the opportunity to pursue.
‘I definitely have more freedom to ‘cut loose’ during live shows than I would if I were on television,’ he says.’Like I tell people, though, my live show has no socially redeeming value whatsoever. You are not going to learn anything by coming to my show. All you are going to do is have a big, goofy time and escape your problems for a while.’
Article published in the January 9, 2013 edition of the Times & Transcript