Jeff Dunham: Me The People
Jeff Dunham: This is my 11th special, and actually, I had an interim there with Comedy Central, where we did one on NBC and two on Netflix. But now, we made a deal with them for three more, and the first one was during the pandemic, and it was a nice attempt at a special and for day and date, when nobody could go anywhere. Everybody was in masks sitting at tiny little cocktail tables, there was 100 people, it was great, but now, we've moved back into the big arenas, and it's just a lot more fun. Comedy Central, they want people that will create ratings for them, and I have some great records there, and I think I might not be their first choice in brand of entertainment, but I think they have some executives in there now who recognize that numbers are numbers, and it doesn't matter where those numbers are coming from.
Jeff Dunham: Me the People
The Daily Show doesn't have any politics that line up with whatever I do, but I don't try and pick a side. [I go] back all the way to comedians like Will Rogers, Bob Hope, and Carson and Leno, where they made fun of whoever was in office and whatever was going on. But they didn't do it the way that comedians today do it. Usually what a guy or a woman does is pick a side, starts picking on that other side, and it turns nasty, and then sometimes the comedy show turns into more of a pep rally, and the jokes are gone. I don't like picking on big groups of people, I think it's okay to make fun of the one guy that's in office, and when Trump was in office, I had a lot of fun with that.
I love that the new special tackles a lot of modern culture, in terms of comedy and politics. You mentioned that you have your fan base, but what is that like for you finding that right balance in your comedy between something that is just edgy enough to get people laughing, but also not too far that it alienates anybody?
Jeff Dunham: Sure, I used to say that comedy was the last form of free speech, but obviously in the last few years, that's been trod upon greatly. The free speech thing is there's just so many conflicts with how people handle that, and how they interpret it, it seems to be there's a lot of, "It's free speech, unless you say something that I don't like, then you can't say that," well that doesn't make any sense. So I, again, just try and do what I've always done, but it is a landmine right now that you have to traverse very carefully, because even if you say you don't care, you still need to care, because you can't say inflammatory things that really get people upset.
But I'm not Dave Chappelle and, whether you agree or disagree or whatever, he's not stupid, he's doing comedy that gets attention and headlines and creates controversy. I think PT Barnum said, "Any publicity is good publicity." [Chuckles] But I don't do that, I've always said, and as you probably were hinting at, I've always said that if you're offending a tiny percentage, maybe three 3-5 percent of the audience, that you're probably on the right track, because whatever it is that those people are upset about is what everybody else is laughing the hardest at. I think by the time you're, you know, if you're offending 60 percent of your audience, then clearly you don't care about your own future, and you don't care about the audience.
I care very much about those people who spent their good, hard-earned money, and I want them, as a business person, to have fun there so that next time, they'll bring back family and friends, and it just keeps growing. So, I do approach it as an entertainer, as an artist, but also as a business person who wants that business back, I want those people coming back and having fun. I don't get nervous anymore, when I go on stage, it's more trepidation, there's a real responsibility to give those people a great evening of fun, because they spent a lot of money, and a lot of time, to get there.
Some people, in many cases, [make] a lot of sacrifices to be there, so it's a lot of responsibility on one guy's shoulder to provide that entertainment, and keep people laughing. So, that's the only thing I dread right before I walk on stage is that there's a big responsibility, and don't screw this up.
Then the actual new new character, I try and create things that people can relate to and respond to, and we all are stuck on our smart devices a little too much of the time. So, I decided to embrace that, and during the pandemic, I created a new character, I also did Facebook Lives and YouTube lives, showing how I build the dummies myself, and came up with this new guy who's stuck on his smart device a little too much of the time, a younger guy. There's your generation gap as well, because people are dealing with that with their own kids, or the kids with the parents on their devices too much.
Also, when I wrote this, and then of course when I performed it, and then in the editing, I have 7-year-old twin boys, and I wanted them to be able to sit down and watch it without any worries. So sure, there's some edge to it, but hopefully, whatever those things are will go over the kids' heads. But I think this is one of the more safe ones where people can sit down and listen to it with grandma and the kids and not worry about it, but at the same time will still be entertained by some contemporary stuff. So yeah, there were many conscious decisions on what the material was, and when it was going to play on both Comedy Central's part and mine.
By 2008, Dunham's characters had crossed language barriers, with his specials dubbed for audiences in various countries such as France, and Dunham attracting requests for performances in South Africa, Australia, Norway, Denmark, China, and the Middle East. Jeff Dunham's Very Special Christmas Special was taped at the Pabst Theater in Milwaukee, Wisconsin that same year, and premiered on Comedy Central on November 16, 2008, watched by 6.6 million people. It became available on DVD and Blu-ray on November 18, 2008. The special's premiere was the highest rated telecast in Comedy Central's history.
In September 2008, his career reached new heights as he began performing in arenas filled with tens of thousands of people. Dunham was somewhat wary of such large venues, but adapted by adjusting the timing of his often rapid exchanges with the puppets so that audience members farthest from the stage could have time to react.
In 2008, a TV commercial for a ringtone which featured 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. Dunham responded that "Achmed makes it clear in my act that he is not Muslim." However, the ASA noted that the name Achmed was of Arab origin and was one of the names of Muhammad. Dunham responded, "I've skewered whites, blacks, Hispanics, Christians, Jews, Muslims, gays, straights, rednecks, addicts, the elderly, and my wife. As a standup comic, it is my job to make the majority of people laugh, and I believe that comedy is the last true form of free speech ... I'm considering renaming Achmed 'Bill'", he added. Dunham has conceded that he does exhibit particular sensitivity to the "conservative country crowd" or those characterized by "basic Christian values", as they are one of his largest constituencies, and part of his upbringing.
Achmed is the skeletal corpse of an incompetent suicide bomber, whom Dunham uses to satirize the contemporary issue of terrorism. He is known for yelling, "Silence! I keel you!" to Dunham and people laughing in the audience. Achmed first appeared in Spark of Insanity, and has appeared in every Dunham special since then. In Spark of Insanity the audience learns several things about Achmed. When Dunham says that Achmed must be dead because he's a skeleton, Achmed responds, "It's a flesh wound." When Dunham inquires as to how he died, Achmed explains his incompetence with explosives, while also casting aspersions on Dunham's sexual prowess by saying that they both suffer from "premature detonation". Although he frequently mentions working for Osama Bin Laden, Achmed denies being a Muslim and says "Look at my ass! It says 'Made in China'!" He says he is afraid of Walter, partially because he's "one mean son of a bitch" and finds Walter's flatulence to be more potent than Saddam Hussein's mustard gas. In Very Special Christmas Special, he sings a song called "Jingle Bombs".
Dunham introduces Sweet Daddy Dee in Arguing with Myself as his "new manager". He calls himself a "pimp", which he says stands for "Player In the Management Profession." According to Sweet Daddy, because he is a pimp, that makes Jeff the "ho". When Dunham objects, Daddy Dee points out that Dunham makes people laugh and feel good for a living. When Dunham agrees that this is the case, Daddy Dee says "You a ho." When Dunham asks what he would say if he told him that he was a comedian only because he enjoyed it, Daddy Dee responds "You a dumb ho." Unlike Bubba J, he hates NASCAR. Sweet Daddy's headstone is featured in the beginning of the special Minding the Monsters.
Comedy Central Announces New Special from Superstar Comedian Jeff Dunham"Jeff Dunham: Me the People" to Premiere on Friday, November 25 at 8:00pm ET/PT New York, NY (November 3, 2022) - Comedy Central announced today a new one-hour special from global stand up superstar Jeff Dunham. "Jeff Dunham: Me the People," is set to world premiere during Thanksgiving weekend on Friday, November 25th at 8:00pm ET/ PT. Shot at the historic Warner Theatre in Washington, DC, "Me the People" is Jeff's 11th stand up special. With the help of many of his beloved characters (and even a brand new one!), Dunham tackles how much time we dedicate to our devices, the ridiculous things we spend money on, and cancel culture in comedy. The special is executive produced by Judi Marmel, Stu Schreiberg and John Bravakis. Ryan Moran is the executive producer for Paramount Media Networks & MTV Entertainment Studios, with Harold Berón III as executive in charge of production. "Jeff Dunham: Me the People" follows his last special "Completely Unrehearsed Last Minute Pandemic Holiday Special" which premiered on Comedy Central in November 2020. Dunham's specials have a storied and successful ratings history on Comedy Central with "Unhinged in Hollywood," "Completely Unrehearsed Last Minute Pandemic Holiday Special" and "Very Special X-Mas" ranking as the top three stand-up specials to date among total viewers P2+. In addition, Dunham has the eight most watched stand-ups on Comedy Central to-date. Dunham has completed 9 international tours, with shows in more than 20 countries. International tour stops include arenas in Canada, U.K., Switzerland, Holland, Belgium, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, France, Australia, New Zealand, Abu Dhabi, Israel, Malaysia, Singapore and South Africa (where he is the highest-selling international comedian). Of note, Jeff sold over 12,000 tickets in the city of Amsterdam alone, and over 2% of the country's population was in attendance at his performance in Iceland. The man Slate called "America's favorite comedian" has ten record-breaking comedy specials to his credit and holds three of the top-five, highest-rated stand up specials on Comedy Central. Of those, "Minding the Monsters" (2012) and "Controlled Chaos" (2011) were the network's most viewed stand up specials of their respective years, while "Jeff Dunham's Unhinged in Hollywood" remains Comedy Central's highest rated stand-up of all time (P18-49/ P2+). His latest special for the network, 2020's "Jeff Dunham's Completely Unrehearsed Last Minute Pandemic Holiday Special" marked Comedy Central's highest-rated stand up special in five years, garnering over 4 million views in just five days, surpassing his own "Unhinged in Hollywood" special. At the time of its airing, Dunham's NBC primetime special, "Unhinged in Hollywood," ranked as the time period's top non-sports program on the Big 4 and was rebroadcast six weeks later on Comedy Central to become its most watched special of 2015. The Bio Channel's premiere of "Birth of a Dummy" in 2011, a two-hour special on Dunham's life and career, was the most watched telecast in the network's history, while the re-airing immediately following the premiere marked the network's second most-watched telecast. As A&E relaunched the Biography series, Dunham's special was one of three previous episodes from its decades-long run chosen to be remade in the new format, with "Talking Heads" premiering in 2019. Along with his broadcast achievements, his specials have garnered nearly 2.5 billion views across all platforms. His autobiography, All By My Selves: Walter, Peanut, Achmed, and Me, landed Dunham on the New York Times' Best Seller list three weeks in a row. The versatile entertainer created an animated film for CMT, hosted the Food Network's Halloween Baking Championship, guested on ABC's "Ellen," NBC's "30 Rock," Disney's "Sonny with a Chance," FOX's "Last Man Standing," did commercials for Hertz, and appeared in Jay Roach's film, Dinner for Schmucks, featuring Steve Carrell and Paul Rudd. Most recently, Dunham was seen on FOX's "The Masked Singer." Dunham and his wife Audrey created the Jeff Dunham Family Fund, and through their organization, a portion of every ticket sold is given to various charities and charitable organizations of all kinds. For more information visit www.jeffdunham.com. Paramount Media Networks & MTV Entertainment StudiosParamount Media Networks & MTV Entertainment Studios is one of the preeminent media entities in the world that connects with global audiences through its nine iconic brands - MTV, Comedy Central, VH1, CMT, Pop, Logo, Smithsonian, Paramount Network and TV Land - as well as MTV Entertainment Studios which produces acclaimed series and movies and the award-winning, Oscar-nominated MTV Documentary Films. 041b061a72