You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

The Jeff Dunham Show

The talented ventriloquist returns to TV in a weekly program.

With: Jeff Dunham.

Periodically a comic catches on much to the puzzlement of the comedy intelligentsia, or at least those who like to think of themselves as such. So it is with Jeff Dunham, a talented ventriloquist with a not-particularly-scintillating act, whose last Comedy Central special drew inexplicably boffo ratings. Dunham is back with a weekly program, one that mixes studio performances with segments taped in the field. It’s hard to imagine there’s a series in this, but then again, it’s difficult to sort out why 6.6 million people watched Jeff Dunham’s Very Special Christmas Special.”

The mere fact that ventriloquism remains a viable art form in this high-tech day and age — outside the confines of Las Vegas revues — seems rather quaint. In Dunham’s case, the stiff-upper-lipped craft hasn’t really evolved much from the days of Edgar Bergen or Senor Wences, if not the bluer stylings of Wayland Flowers and Madame.

Dunham’s main wrinkle appears to be that the dummies have been updated for a red-state audience, from the curmudgeonly Walter — who gripes “You’re on TV. There’s a black guy in the White House” as a sign the world’s going to hell — to Achmed the dead terrorist, who gets the audience to chant “I kill you” along with him.

Dunham augments the studio bits with location pieces — going to couple’s therapy with Walter, taking another of his alter egos, Peanut, on a speed date and a third, Bubba J, to a gun shop. (Dunham’s PR reps label this an “inventive mix of comedy and reality TV,” which would only be accurate if those participating aren’t able to discern that the dummies are, you know, dummies.)

Nothing here will expand anybody’s comedy palate, but Dunham’s successful formula is more basic than that — essentially dishing up grits and cheesy foods to an audience weaned on blue-collar comedy.

Then again, Dunham’s fans need to laugh, too, and for Comedy Central, tapping into that eager audience — even if some of them have sawdust-filled heads — qualifies as a no-brainer.

The Jeff Dunham Show

Comedy Central, Thurs. Oct. 22, 9 p.m

Production: Taped in Los Angeles by Levity Prods. and Whiteboard Entertainment. Executive producers, Jeff Dunham, Ross McCall, Aaron Peters, Judi Brown-Marmel, Robert Hartmann, Stu Schreiberg; supervising producers, Jeff Rothpan, Michael Dugan; producer, Cathy A. Cambria; senior producer, Christine Reed; director, Manny Rodriguez; segment director, Matt McNeil; production designer, Jeff Hall; music, Brian Haner, Synyster Gates.


Cast: With: Jeff Dunham.

More TV

  • Front row: CBS THIS MORNING co-hosts

    CBS Hurls New Anchor Team Into TV's Morning-News Wars

    News Team: Assemble. CBS News plans to hurl a new anchor squad into TV’s morning-news wars Monday when a different trio – Gayle King, Anthony Mason and Tony Dokoupil –  takes the helm at “CBS This Morning.” The A.M. effort that has won critical plaudits by focusing on harder news topics, like international affairs and [...]

  • Dutch FilmWorks Moves into International Sales

    Dutch Film Works Moves into International Sales (EXCLUSIVE)

    A major new international sales outfit is coming to market. Dutch Film Works (DFW), one of the largest movie distributors in the Benelux region, is moving into film and TV sales. DFW general manager Angela Pruijssers will spearhead the sales effort alongside Charlotte Henskens, who will join from Amsterdam-based Fortissimo Films, where she is director [...]

  • 'Game of Thrones' Series Finale Details

    'Game of Thrones' Series Finale Details Reportedly Leak Online

    Who will survive the finale of “Game of Thrones”? Some savvy watchers of the HBO series might have a clue heading into Sunday night’s episode after a detailed description of the final installment reportedly leaked online. [Note: This post does not contain any “Game of Thrones” spoilers.] A spokesperson said HBO had no comment. While [...]

  • ‘Hitsville: The Making of Motown’ Acquired

    ‘Hitsville: The Making of Motown’ Acquired by Showtime for U.S.

    Polygram Entertainment, Universal Music Group’s film and television division, along with Capitol Music Group, Motown Records and Fulwell 73 announced today that “Hitville: The Making of Motown” has been acquired by Showtime for release in North America with plans for a fall premiere, and Altitude for theatrical release in the UK and Ireland. The feature-length [...]

  • Game of Thrones Cast

    What's Next for 'Game of Thrones'' Cast Members

    Eight years and eight seasons later, the “Game of Thrones” cast finally has some downtime to relax or move onto other projects. Some stars, like Kit Harington, who told Variety that he doesn’t plan on taking another role as physically demanding as Jon Snow, certainly deserve a break, but others have wasted no time getting back on [...]

  • 'Fleabag' Season 2 Review: How Its

    'Fleabag': Season 2’s Top 10 Breaks From Reality, Ranked (Column)

    The searing first season of “Fleabag” felt like a complete story in and of itself. As adapted from Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s one-woman show, the series expanded on the world of a woman wild with lust and grief with such expert ease that by the time it ended, even Waller-Bridge herself was sure that it was the [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content