Jeff Dunham is an American ventriloquist and stand-up comedian who has also appeared on numerous television shows, including Late Show with David Letterman, Comedy Central Presents, The Tonight Show and Sonny With a Chance.
He has a number of specials that run on Comedy Central including Jeff Dunham: Arguing with Myself, Jeff Dunham: Spark of Insanity, Jeff Dunham's Very Special Christmas Special, and Jeff Dunham: Controlled Chaos.
Dunham also starred in The Jeff Dunham Show, a series on the network in 2009.
Dunham has risen to become an entertainment phenomenon with an international 360-degree reach that includes record-breaking television specials, staggering DVD sales over 4-million (and rapidly counting), hundreds of millions of views on YouTube, an international tour that grossed $45-million, his own merchandise company that enjoys brisk sales of nearly 50 Dunham items, and a publishing deal that saw the publication of his first book in 2009.
His widespread fame led Dunham to sign a multi-platform deal with Comedy Central to encompass all areas of entertainment, including television, DVDs, stand-up specials, consumer products partnership and a 60-city Comedy Central Live stand-up tour.
Time Magazine called him "the most popular stand-up comedian in the U.S."
Dunham is the ringleader of a cast of comedic characters of his own creation like Walter the grumpy retiree; the beer-swilling, NASCAR loving and resolutely redneck Bubba J; the furry and manic Peanut; Jose Jalapeno, the spicy pepper from south of the border; and the bumbling skeletal Achmed the Dead Terrorist.
Taking his cues from the stuff of everyday life, people he and we all know and the world around us, Dunham invests his suitcase posse of sidekicks with such believable and lovable personality as they banter, quip and interact that audiences frequently forget that the characters are crafted by Dunham's own hand and comedic brilliance.
Dunham has struck content partnerships with Amazon.com, iTunes and YouTube in the wake of his across-the-board triumphs. His self-produced Comedy Central special, "A Very Special Christmas Special," drew 6.6-million viewers on its premiere airing to become the channel's most-watched program ever, following in the wake of top ratings for his previous Comedy Central specials "Arguing with Myself" (in April 2006) and "A Spark of Insanity" (September 2007).
When they hit the home market on DVD, all three almost immediately earned multiple platinum sales awards, with Dunham's holiday special achieving quadruple-platinum sales of 400,000 in a mere 10 days and in less than six weeks becoming his third DVD to sell more than a million copies (in a market where average comedy DVD sales are 35,000).
"Spark of Insanity" was also the most popular DVD in customer reviews on Amazon of 2008.
Concert dates on his tour of theatres and arenas with 7,000 to 10,000 capacities quickly sell out as well as generate the sort of audience response and excitement more often found at superstar rock show and earn rave media reviews night after night.
In 2008, Dunham sold out headlining major venue shows at the prestigious and star-studded Comedy Festival in Las Vegas and the Just For Laughs festival in Toronto and in 2009 he made his first performing visit to Europe, selling out arenas in London, Stockholm, Oslo, Norway and Copenhagen.
2009 also marked his first full tour of Canada.
After leaving his hometown in Dallas, Texas, where he was born in 1962, Dunham relentlessly toured comedy clubs for years, renewing a lost art that he has taken to new levels of finesse and technique with hilarious results.
Frequent guest appearances on The Tonight Show and Late Night with David Letterman as well as a host of other TV programs also primed the pump.
But what has been instrumental in launching Dunham to record new levels of comedy success over the years has been the strong bond he has forged with his fans, who not just eagerly await and consume his latest multimedia offerings but avidly tout them to family, friends as well as the world at large on the Internet.
Fan postings of his routines on YouTube abetted the grassroots surge of Dunham popularity and awareness that resulted in ever-increasing millions of online views that helped launch Dunham and his comedic cohorts into the stratosphere of contemporary entertainment.
In 2008, Dunham also released his first CD, "Don't Come Home For Christmas," which jumped to #1 in comedy sales and #6 in overall CD sales in preorders alone when it was announced on Amazon and entered the Billboard Independent Album charts in the Top 10.
His merchandise operation enjoys gross sales in the millions of dollars of his 42 items of merchandise - including t-shirts, hats, sweatshirts, character dolls, Christmas ornaments, posters, DVDs, CDs, character etched iPods and now even Dunham Cellars wine - at his shows, on his website and via 150 Hastings stores in 21 states.
After conquering North America, the Dunham phenomenon swiftly spread worldwide. His three specials have been released on television, DVD and mobile platforms in Canada, UK, Benelux, Scandinavia, Italy, France, Spain, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.
The DVD of "A Very Special Christmas Special" topped the Danish entertainment chart and "Spark of Insanity" hit the Top 5 of the overall DVD charts in Holland (#2) and South Africa (#5).
"Spark of Insanity" is the most viewed show ever on Comedy Central Holland and the only two titles by an American in the Top 20 of the U.K. comedy DVD charts are both Dunham releases.
His burgeoning European popularity is evident through the success of his recent European Tour, selling almost 30,000 tickets over five shows in five cities.
Dunham has achieved all that and more by keeping many millions around the globe laughing heartily with his sharp yet always humane and lovable humor, which has resulted on such character catchphrases as Achmed's "Silence! I will keel you!" and Jose Jalapeno's "On a steek!" becoming embedded in the contemporary lexicon.
And he has done it as an independent business entity that creates, produces and finances his TV specials/DVDs, merchandise, tours and more and through a highly interactive relationship via his website and an email list to rival any in the entertainment industry with the fans who not just love his comedy but also love to bring others into the Dunham fold of followers.
His hometown Dallas Morning News declares Dunham "easily one of the funniest stand-up comics alive" and Slate.com hails him as "the country's most popular stand-up comedian."