5 things you might not know about Jeff Dunham
The creator of Ahmed the Dead Terrorist is coming to the SECC
1 Born in Dallas in 1962, Jeff Dunham got into the ventriloquist game at the age of eight having been given a dummy at Christmas, and later performed at birthday parties and Cub Scout banquets.
2 He first tasted serious fame when he appeared on Johnny Carson’s The Tonight Show in 1990 but the spread of the internet has been his saviour with his ‘skits’ involving Achmed the Dead Terrorist being watched by countless millions. In the face of accusations of Islamophobia, Dunham insists that Achmed is not Muslim: ‘he’s nondescript; he’s from over there somewhere’. Might be worth noting that back in 2002, the character was originally called Dead Osama.
3 Dunham appeared in 2010 screwball comedy Dinner for Schmucks alongside, let’s face it, much cooler comics Steve Carrell, Chris O’Dowd, Jemaine Clement, Kristen Schaal and Zach Galifianakis. Dunham plays, get this, a ventriloquist. He created a new character for the film in the busty shape of Diane, his only female doll.
4 When asked why he hasn’t got more females in his armoury, he once replied: ‘I can think like a terrorist, I can think like a white trash guy, I can even try and think like an African American. But I can’t figure out how a woman thinks.’
5 As you can imagine, critics of his work (he’s a ventriloquist and a Christian conservative) are almost as long as the queues to his shows. Perhaps the most potent slaying was from JP Williams, producer behind the Blue Collar Comedy Tour, which appeals primarily to the Middle America that adores Dunham: ‘He’s got a great gift. And his gift is that he makes stuff talk and he keeps his mouth pretty much closed when he does it.’ Ouch.
SECC, Glasgow, Tue 24 Apr.