As one of the highest-grossing standup acts in North America, comedian and ventriloquist Jeff Dunham has been credited with reviving the art and doing more to influence ventriloquism than anyone since the legendary Edgar Bergen. His characters such as redneck Bubba J, languid José Jalapeño, and dead suicide bomber Achmed highlight Dunham’s unique brand of politically incorrect, ill-tempered humor. His style has been described as “a dressed-down, more digestible version of Don Rickles with multiple personality disorder”—a style that his fans seem to love. In fact, Dunham has earned a place in the Guiness Book of World Records for the most tickets sold for a standup comedy tour with his debut Spark of Insanity.
Born in Dallas, Texas in 1962, Jeff Dunham grew up idolizing ventriloquist Edgar Bergen and working on his own act, which incorporated elements of Bergen’s technique. By the time he reached his teenage years, he was performing at school, at church, and for local celebrities. He continued performances in college and quickly caught the attention of stars like Bob Hope and George Burns. His big break came in 1985 when he was asked to join the cast of the Broadway revue Sugar Babies, replacing an outgoing variety act. He later moved to Los Angeles, where he performed hundreds of shows a year, was a guest on numerous late night talk shows, and made his first solo appearance on Comedy Central. After his debut tour, Spark of Insanity, Dunham’s career reached new heights when he began performing in venues that seated with tens of thousands of people. He’s since gone to embark on a total of 7 tours and appear in countless comedy specials. His current tour, Passively Aggressive, continues to sell out tickets, playing shows in 2018 in North American cities such as Portland, Winnipeg, Nashville, and Los Angeles.