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Jeff Dunham: Disorderly Conduct

Ventriloquist and stand-up comedian Jeff Dunham is headed to Vegas – but first, he and his cast of characters are stopping in Stamford, CT!

Talking puppets usually give people goosebumps as opposed to giggle fits. However, comedian Jeff Dunham has been touring the world for three decades making audiences roar with a little help from his puppet posse. From a hilariously grumpy fuddy-duddy named Walter to a frenzied purple creature named Peanut, Dunham’s famous cast of characters have lent a huge hand to the success of the man who hand-crafted them.

Dunham’s television specials on Comedy Central have been the most highly rated in the channel’s history, and he will begin his first ever residency in Las Vegas this November! Christened by Time magazine as “the most popular comedian in the United States,” Dunham told us about his early beginnings as a Boy Scout ventriloquist to his thoughts on hitting it big at Planet Hollywood. Be sure not to miss out on Dunham’s Stamford stint!

When and why did you realize you wanted to pursue ventriloquism professionally?

It was as simple as asking for a dummy in the toy store for Christmas when I was eight years old. I got it, and it all started from there. I was interested in making the dummy talk and telling jokes, so I started doing shows at Scout events and civic banquets. It wasn’t until I got to college that I tried to develop my own material. The rest is history.

How do you come up with the material for your characters?

A lot of my best stuff is just ad libs onstage, and that’s one thing that I’ve gotten back to at the live show. You know, even with audiences of 5,000 to 10,000 to 12,000 people, it’s hard to have that comedy club atmosphere where you can talk to people in the front row, but I’ve tried to go back to that in the last few months because we have a giant video screen, and even with 10,000 people there, it’s a more intimate atmosphere then you could imagine. And, a lot of that material just comes from talking to people in the front row and seeing what they do for a living and making up jokes on the spot.

Other times, I will actually sit down with the computer and come up with a subject and try and write some jokes out. There’s no real formula for doing it; it’s either just living life and writing down a joke you think of in the middle of the day and then piecing those together later, or sitting down and writing the whole thing and honing it. Also, doing those shows so many times a month — that’s honing the material and making it good, and that’s sometimes what the roadwork is. The roadwork is just rehearsal for that DVD you’re going to film a year later.

Are there any comedians or ventriloquists that you draw inspiration from?

The first character I used was a toy Mortimer Snerd vent figure.  Mortimer was one of Edgar Bergen's main characters. Bergen took the craft to the airwaves of radio and beyond where ventriloquism had been ever before. He was inspirational.

What are you most excited for regarding your residency at Planet Hollywood come November?

We’ve been traveling around the country for three decades now and recently in the last 10 years, have been doing worldwide tours. We just got back from one. We did five continents, 12 countries, 19 cities; we’re turning that into the next Comedy Central special and documentary. I was doing shows in Dubai, in a Muslim country with Achmed the Dead Terrorist, and they loved it! Two nights later, I’m in Israel doing the exact same show, and they loved Achmed every bit as much.

It was mind-blowing to me. We were in Iceland, South Africa, Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, all those places. We averaged 5,000 people per show, and that’s what’s going to be fun about Las Vegas. Instead of me going to all these people, because Vegas is such a mecca for all sorts of people, I think now all of those people are going to come to my show. Hopefully.

Jeff Dunham at the Palace Theatre

August 13, 2014 at 8:00 p.m.

Tickets: $65.00, $75.00, $125.00, $165.00

61 Atlantic Street

Stamford, CT 06901

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