powered by FreeFind

Apple iTunes


Local boy makes good on The Jeff Dunham Show -- which otherwise is terrible

Jeff Dunham (middle) with characters Bubba J and Walter

Premiering:Thursday, Oct. 22nd at 8 p.m. (central) on Comedy Central
Starring: Jeff Dunham and his assorted characters
Produced by: Jeff Dunham, Ross McCall, Aaron Peters, Judi Brown-Marmel, Robert Hartmann, Stu Schreiberg

Whatever's written here can't possibly hurt Jeff Dunham.

The Dallas-born ventriloquist already has a lucrative "fully-integrated, multi-platform" deal with Comedy Central. And his Christmas special ranks as the most-watched program in the network's history.

Now comes The Jeff Dunham Show, a weekly "comedy-reality" series premiering Thursday, Oct. 22nd at 8 p.m. central. Unfortunately for the star, he can't put words in the mouths of critics. And from this perspective, the opening half-hour is dummy-downed humor at its worst.

Dunham, 47, takes his well-worn, hand-held characters to various locations after first introducing them to a cheering studio audience. The best-known of the bunch, cantankerous, scowling Walter (think Ray Barone from Everybody Loves Raymond), throws out his usual "Holy crap" diatribes. As in, "Holy crap, what has happened to this world? You're on TV, there's a black guy in the White House."

That particular joke already is cob-webbed. As is a visit by Walter and Jeff to a couple's therapist who's goaded into acknowledging he's gay.

Walter, of course, is abhorred. And the resultant humor is abhorrent. It includes the old geezer emoting from a commode about how "I would never want to taste you in the morning." Finding themselves also agreeing that they "never want to be gay with each other," Jeff and Walter return to the therapist's office to praise him as a "gay yoda" who's brought them together.

Skeletal Achmed the Dead Terrorist also makes an appearance. His tagline, apparantly riotous to some, is "I kill you!" We then get a sample of Achmed's standup act at The Improv after he tells Dunham, "There are no morals in this city. The only virgins left here are the Jonas Brothers."

Thud. Clank. Crickets chirping. Unfortunately there's more.

Horny Peanut, the self-styled "Lavender Lover," yearns to navigate the "skanky waters of the L.A. dating scene." So Dunham hooks him up with busty reality show twit Brooke Hogan, Hulk's daughter. Peanut ends up barfing on himself in a restaurant after Achmed sneaks peanuts into his guacamole.

Finally comes the cockeyed and always hammered Bubba J, whom Dunham takes to a shooting range for a buncha jokes about guns. This inevitably leads to Bubba observing, "He said 'cock.' " Not once but twice. Try to keep your sides from splittin'.

Oddly enough, it's the old-line broadcast networks leading a mini-comedy revolution this season with critically praised newcomers (ABC's Modern Family and The Middle) and holdovers such as NBC's 30 Rock and CBS' The Big Bang Theory.

Comedy Central allegedly is comedy all the time, but this knuckle-scraper never rises above a punch to the nuts. Maybe that's the overall aim here. If so, South Park does it at least a thousand times better than The Jeff Dunham Show. And that's being overly kind.