Jeff Dunham Recalls His Big Country Break
Ventriloquist’s new special, Minding the Monsters, premieres Oct. 7.
For his fifth comedy special, Minding the Monsters, expert ventriloquist Jeff Dunham plays a little dress-up. However, it’s not Jeff donning scary outfits for the Halloween showcase—premiering Sunday, Oct. 7, at 9 p.m. ET on Comedy Central—but his lovable characters. Redneck Bubba J is a vampire, purple Peanut is a superhero and grumpy old man Walter is “Crankenstein.”
“The characters all dress up like whatever monster they like and we do jokes related to that,” Jeff, a favorite comic of country fans, tells CountryWeekly.com. “Bubba J as the vampire made sense, because of drinking beer and drinking blood, and Walter was the most obvious to me.”
But his breakout character, the polarizing Achmed the Dead Terrorist, proved to be the most difficult to costume. “What in the world scares Achmed?” wonders Jeff, who eventually settled on a getup that he thought made perfect sense: women’s clothing. “Achmed’s scared to death of American women,” he says. “They are from a culture he just doesn’t understand!”
Jeff, however, fully understands the country music lifestyle. And he has TV legend Johnny Carson to thank for that. After Jeff appeared on The Tonight Show, the show’s talent booker recommended Jeff to Dick Clark, who was producing the music series Hot Country Nights.
“They’d have these great names in country music, and then they’d have me come in for three or four minutes with Walter,” Jeff recalls. “The point was I loved country music and Walter didn’t. So we’d talk to country stars. Of the 12 episodes, I was on nine of them and suddenly things took off. This big country audience was there for me.”
Minding the Monsters will be released on Blu-ray and DVD Oct. 9.