Jeff Dunham’s “big new challenge” is taking his new show, “Not Playing With a Full Deck,” to Las Vegas for six months, and there are “good reasons for doing it,” reports Dunham, who likens it to “settling down a bit” after a non-stop three decades on the road.
“I always used to tell my kids that Vegas is where a career ends or begins, so now they’re asking me, ‘Well Dad, does this mean you career’s over now?’ And before, I would have felt that way – and it is how it used to be. But now, Vegas is a completely different animal. There are a lot of major headliners there with their own rooms, and Vegas is sexy again.”
While the residency means “a lot more shows than normal,” it also gives Dunham a rare performance home base and some breathing space. “Instead of the constant traveling and packing, which gets very wearing after a while, it’ll be great to just stay in one place. We’re going to rent a house there and see what happens.”
His only worry? “Everyone’s been telling me, ‘You’d better watch it, as you’ll end up really liking it,’” he says. “And I’ve never, ever driven myself to work, so that alone is going to be really odd. We’ll drive 15 minutes to the show, do it, and then head back home each night. So at this point, I’m not sure exactly what I’ll do with all the extra time suddenly available — probably focus on the show and building new material. And then, within a year, it’ll be time for us to tape the next DVD.”
Dunham is also developing film and TV projects. “As my career grew, I was always conscious of how easy it is to get stuck in any one area, whether it’s cruise ships or corporate or clubs. You can make huge money, but be completely unknown outside those worlds, and I’ve never done my own films or TV sitcom, so I’m definitely looking to expand into those areas, as well as keep doing my TV specials.”
Mike Karz says his Gulfstream Pictures is “looking to develop a live-action movie around Jeff, as a starring vehicle for him, that’d utilize all his amazing abilities, including his voices and comedy. We’d like to take the experience he creates on stage, and develop that for the big screen.” Production is planned for next year.
Dunham has also teamed up with Aaron Kaplan of Kapital Entertainment, “to do a half-hour comedy TV show we’re intending to sell for the networks’ upcoming sales season,” says Kaplan. “I’m a huge Dunham fan. He has such a broad appeal and reach, and he’s a unique talent. He’s never done a scripted TV show of his own, so it’s a no-brainer.”
Dunham’s mulling over a book, but says it will “probably be down the road.”