When phenomenon Jeff Dunham took the stage for the standup portion of his “100 city controlled chaos” tour Sunday, July 22nd at the KFC YUM! Center, the sold out crowd was more than ready. With stuffed Peanut dolls, bobble head Walter or Achmed dolls in hand, wearing t-shirts bearing the logo “Silence I Keel You” or Who The Hell Cares,” the laughter started from the time Jeff hit the stage, until he shot t-shirts out into the crowd from a huge cannon, and graciously told everyone thank you.
The first 5 minutes of the show Jeff did stand-up comedy, and the crowd was rolling with laughter as Jeff’s told stories about his dog being in various situations. My favorite skit included the dog, Jeff, Jeff’s neighbor and a fence…I can’t tell you anymore, if you weren’t there you missed it, and if you were, you were probably laughing as hard as I was…until tears rolled down my cheeks.
Walter, that beloved old man, was brought up first, and the crowd went wild! Walter interacted with the Security Officer, Jeff lost his place, stumbled over a word, and Walter picked it up, and made fun of him…of course what makes it funnier is knowing that Jeff, the world class ventriloquist, is actually doing all the talking! Half way through Walters act Jeff put a Frankenstein head on Him (Walter)…they did a little bit of what’s coming up in the fall, Jeff’s new release, “Minding The Monsters” Watch for Jeff’s upcoming Monster/Halloween special premiering this fall. The DVD premieres on Comedy Central October 7, 2012.
Bubba J was the next character, dressed as a vampire, with one fang, “to open beer cans.” Although Bubba J was extremely funny, I prefer him as the redneck, hillbilly, beer, drinking, NASCAR watching, redneck. Of course Bubba, true to his redneck puppet self, did greet a latecomer with, “thanks for bothering enough to get here on time (explicit)”…the guy was sitting across the roll from me, and he was laughing just like everyone else was.
Everybody’s favorite, Peanut hit the stage and the crowd exploded with applause! Peanut, also in the character of the preview Monster/Halloween Special, was now Nutman, and in his hilarious, obnoxious self, gave both Jeff, and the audience a run for their money, and a show those who were present will not soon forget. When speaking of a character that needs a human to talk for it, that sounds funny, yet Dunham has gave these characters such a personality all their own in that if you were to ask Jeff Dunham or his “dummies” who was talking, each one would say the other…or would they? According to Peanut, and Jose Jalapeno (Peanuts sidekick Rubin), Jeff is their arch enemy. Peanut and Rubin on the same side…can it be? The puppets have teamed up against Jeff, and once again the crowd roared with laughter as Loser Man (Little Jeff) came out.
Just when you thought you couldn’t laugh anymore, when Dunham had taken you to the comedic limit, out comes Ackmed…as Ackmedina!! In a “fushia” dress as she corrected Jeff who called it “pink” and pumps to match. She had on a blonde wig with matching flowers in her hair. The hilarious repertoire between them is something I will not soon forget as I was literally crying from laughter. Once again Jeff stumbled over a word and made the joke word beautifully! The characters kept saying, “write this down, this is funny.”
Could this be a sign of something new to come in his act? Could it be that Ackmed takes a wife? With Dunham you never know what to expect, however what you can expect is a fantastic show, and a great performance that comes from Jeff’s own creativity.
I spoke to several people after the show, while waiting in line to pick up my own Peanut/Jose Jalapeno t-shirt, and no one was disappointed in this performance. Everyone both in line and walking out and to the parking lot was still laughing and reciting different lines from the show. Several people related to me that, “they laughed so hard their sides hurt, or stomach hurt.” Or as in my case, “they couldn’t see for the tears.” Mr. Dunham, they say laughter is good medicine so keep it coming.
In an interview with Jeff prior to the show I told him, “Your audience loves the way you create characters that say exactly what's on their minds, especially Walter.” I asked him, “Where do you get your inspiration, and do the things said mostly come out of your own experiences or from those around you?”
Jeff responded with, “My Inspiration comes all sorts of places. Every character I’ve had in my act - none of them have a similar creation story. I actually thought up Peanut and designed him in my head. I described him to a woman that was making soft puppets and she drew up some sketches. And the character came to be just because he popped into my head. Walter on the other hand... I figured he would be a good three minutes of the show. I created him thinking that nobody would enjoy a grumpy old character like that. Little did I know - he is an "every man"... everybody has that guy in him. Either they’re married to him or he’s their father... but people for some reason love him. So that character just stuck. Jose the Jalapeno... That’s the weirdest story. When I was in college I was doing a radio campaign on the radio station and I was doing all the voices of this pizza. Every ingredient on the pizza spoke. And one of them was Jose Jalapeno. He ended up having all the funny lines. So I thought about making a dummy in the act. So I thought why not a Jalapeno on a stick. The genesis of Achmed began a year after Sept. 11th, sad and scary things were going on in our country -- and still are -- and I thought if I can make fun of those guys, there's something people can laugh at in our country. And then the big surprise was that I had no idea it would go worldwide.”
“Dunham’s autobiography, published in 2010, “All By My Selves: Walter, Peanut, Achmed, And Me”; candidly recounts Dunham’s amazing rise to international fame beginning with his first public performances for a mere $5 a show as a fourth-grader in his Dallas, TX., his hometown. This followed by years of intensive touring on the comedy club circuit from his college years into adulthood to becoming an international comedy phenomenon.” It achieved a Five-Star Reader Rating on Amazon and made the New York Times best sellers list instantly.
Tours continue for this show in other states. Information on them, and other information, can be found online or facebook at:
To find out other things going on at the KFC YUM! Center go to: www.kfcyumcenter.com