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Jeff Dunham

Jeff Dunham Bio

Jeff Dunham (born April 18, 1962) is an American ventriloquist and stand-up comedian who has also appeared on numerous television shows, including Star Search, Late Show with David Letterman, Comedy Central Presents and The Tonight Show. He is familiar to Comedy Central audiences for his three specials on that network: Jeff Dunham: Arguing with Myself, Jeff Dunham: Spark of Insanity, and Jeff Dunham's Very Special Christmas Special. His style has been described as "a dressed-down, more digestible version of Don Rickles with multiple personality disorder", Describing his characters, Time observes, "All of them are politically incorrect, gratuitously insulting and ill tempered." His show, entitled The Jeff Dunham Show, premiered on the network October 22, 2009.

Dunham has been called "America's favorite comedian" by Slate.com, and according to the concert industry publication Pollstar, he is the top-grossing standup act in North America, and is among the most successful acts in Europe as well. As of March 2009, he has sold over four million DVDs, and received more than 350 million hits on YouTube, making him one of the most-viewed entertainers of all time. Spark of Insanity received the best reviews of any DVD on Amazon.com in 2008, and A Very Special Christmas Special was the most-watched telecast in Comedy Central history, with its DVD going quadruple platinum (selling over 400,000) in its first two weeks. Forbes.com reported that Dunham was one of the highest earning comics from June 2008 to June 2009, earning approximately $30 million during that period.


Critical praise and controversy

In January 2008, Dunham was voted by fans the Top Comic in Comedy Central's “Stand-Up Showdown”. He is the only person ever to win the "Ventriloquist of the Year" Award twice, was nominated "Comedian of the Year" by the TNN Music City News Country Awards, and has drawn praise from the Dallas Morning News for his technique and timing.

In 2008 a TV commercial for a ringtone featuring Dunham's character Achmed the Dead Terrorist (see Characters below) was banned by the South African Advertising Standards Authority after a complaint was filed by a citizen stating that the ad was offensive to Muslims, and portrayed all Muslims as terrorists. The ban angered Dunham, who pointed out that "Achmed makes it clear in my act that he is not Muslim." Dunham saw the ban as an infringement on free speech and a double standard, arguing, "I've skewered whites, blacks, Hispanics, Christians, Jews, Muslims, gays, straights, rednecks, addicts, the elderly, and my wife", and joked, "I'm considering renaming Achmed, 'Bill.'"

Posted on Tuesday, November 17, 2009

In: Jeff Dunham, Famous Male Comedians, American Comedians
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