His television specials and series have been the highest rated programming in Comedy Central history, his DVD sales have reached seven million units, his videos have received a half a billion views on You Tube, and his live concerts have become mega-events played in front of sold-out arenas worldwide.
No wonder Time Magazine wrote that he is “the most popular comedian in the United States” and Forbes named him to its Celebrity 100 list of most powerful entertainers three years running.
Today, Jeff Dunham is a phenomenally successful global entertainment brand.
Dunham has, of course, plenty of help on-stage: his entourage of signature characters who are there to challenge and chastise his every sentence. There’s Walter, the grumpy retiree; the beer-swilling, NASCAR-loving and resolutely red neck Bubba J; the furry and manic Peanut; José Jalapeño, the spicy pepper from South of the border; the bumbling skeletal Achmed the Dead Terrorist; the almost as dead long-lost son of Achmed, AJ; and Peanut’s own ventriloquist dummy: Little Jeff. They may have all been conceived and hand crafted by Dunham, but his characters, who are anything but dummies, have now taken on a life of their own, each with their own legion of fans.
Today, Dunham’s global appeal is undeniable. He was named top-grossing live comedy act in the world in 2009 and 2010 by Pollstar, the concert industry trade magazine. He has sold-out stadium-sized shows across three continents, from the United Kingdom to Sydney, Toronto to Copenhagen. He sold-out an 8,000 seat hockey arena in Helsinki, Finland on Easter Sunday, and Dunham doesn’t speak a word of Finnish. Or Swedish. Or Norwegian. Or Afrikaan, which are the official languages of some of the countries he has visited. There is universal appeal to Dunham’s relationship with his characters that transcends any small gaps in language translation.
In 2013, Jeff continued to pack arena-sized venues on his Disorderly Conduct live show. He just made his fifth trip to Europe, stopping in Iceland, Scandinavia, Amsterdam, and Belgium, and recently made his second trip to South Africa, selling out arenas in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Sun City and Durban.
As an entertainer, Jeff Dunham has truly impacted popular culture, and his character catchphrases, such as Achmed's "Silence! I Keel You!" and José Jalapeño’s "On A Steek!", are now part of our vernacular, much to the delight of multi-generational audiences worldwide.
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