Every year new shows debut in the fall and by January it’s usually pretty clear who’s going to make it to the next season and who’s not. Lots of shows experience big falls from grace and sometimes, a show like Chuck, which was nearly canceled last year is looked to return in January as the darling of NBC’s lineup. However for other shows things aren’t always that way, such is the case for Comedy Central’s Jeff Dunham show.


I guess it’s not really fair for me to review the Dunham show as I only ever saw one episode and could barely sit through it and tried one other time to watch it for a couple of minutes before changing the channel. I should make a confession, I like ventriloquists. I think it’s a neat thing and long before Jeff Dunham was a household name, I liked him.

I remember seeing Dunham on A&E’s “Evening at the Improv” which I could write a whole other rant about, WHERE ARE THE STAND UP COMEDY SHOWS ANYMORE?! However I’ll leave that for another time. Instead I’ll just say that back then Dunham’s act was brilliant, he usually worked with one puppet, Peanut and on occasion he’d use the old guy. Years went by and I rarely ever saw Jeff Dunham on TV.

Eventually he resurfaced and seemed to be doing largely the same stuff but his Jalapeno on a stick routine was down right knee slapping funny for a while. Once he had a whole cast of characters it really livened up his show. Dunham has never been a very good ventriloquist, it was his material that was good. Then one day, Jeff Dunham was famous. I’m not sure when it happened, it just did. He was all over the TV and internet.

Comedy Central came calling and gave him his own TV special. A few in fact. I watched some here or there and noticed that Dunham’s act wasn’t as funny anymore. He had too many characters, his act was getting a bit stale and some of his jokes played to the lowest common denominator. Still, I couldn’t argue with his success and that was that. Until I saw Comedy Central give him his own TV show!

I decided to tune in because I figured this guy must have gotten really good. Instead what I watched was an abomination of a show. To be fair, it’s clear that Comedy Central was trying to replicate all their other shows with Dunham’s. First there was Chappelle’s Show, which was racist black comedy. Then there was Mind of Mencia which was stolen racist Latino comedy. Finally we got Dunham who did racist white comedy, WITH PUPPETS! All of these shows are essentially the same and follow the exact same format, which is why no doubt Dunham’s show became a pretty massive flop.

It’s interesting because the original show attracted a 5.6 rating, which is gigantic for Comedy Central, but it quickly dropped off. Who thought it would be a good idea to run a show about a ventriloquist and then do a bunch of sketches with just the puppets? Wouldn’t a show about puppets make more sense? Dunham’s characters nearly all sound the same and are only funny because he’s doing a ventriloquist act. Beyond that it’s kind of pointless.

I’m not sure when Dunham ran out of material either, but it was pretty clear he didn’t have near enough material to sustain all the specials, much less a weekly TV show. Comedy Central’s format didn’t help matter either as it felt like they were trying to stick a square peg in a round hole. Plus as Dunham got more famous, his act began to get exposed more for basically making racially insensitive jokes, which I’m not sure when he added to his act but no doubt helped his rise to fame.

And so the Jeff Dunham show is no more. Good riddance I say, the show was terrible and only served to wear out what little humor Dunham had left. I wouldn’t worry too much about Dunham and his puppets though, he made around $30 million dollars last year. Plus Jeff Dunham was pretty awesome on 30 Rock earlier this year, basically doing a send up of his own routine. Hopefully this will get him back to doing more stuff like that, you know, comedy.

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