How Jeff Dunham pulled off last-minute Comedy Central particular
Speak about pulling some artistic strings.
Comedian ventriloquist Jeff Dunham orchestrated his latest Comedy Central particular in remarkably fast time — adjusting to the confines of TV’s COVID-era manufacturing actuality.
“I got here up with the thought actually two months in the past and we shot it three weeks in the past,” Dunham, 58, says of “Jeff Dunham’s Fully Unrehearsed Final-Minute Pandemic Vacation Particular,” airing Friday at 8 p.m. “It was a loopy turnaround creatively and technically. I heard of so many different comics doing specials [during COVID] in drive-ins, and so forth. and I stated, ‘We will do that.’
“That is my tenth particular, and it’s all the time an 18-to-24-month ordeal to construct them, one joke at a time … getting the respiratory the identical and perfecting it so it’s a lay-up,” he says.
“I wish to say I tricked Comedy Central into shopping for an ‘unscripted’ particular.”
Dunham is being modest; Friday’s telecast, his first in a brand new three-year take care of the cable community, was intricately deliberate regardless of the brief timeframe and is constructed round jokes he’s by no means earlier than carried out anyplace. He taped two stay reveals (on totally different nights) in Malibu, Calif., earlier than a nightly viewers of 100 individuals (following COVID protocols).
“I pulled apart just a few author buddies and stated, ‘Right here’s the subject material’ they usually began writing jokes,” says Dunham, famend for his steady of characters together with Peanut, Bubba J and Walter. “Nobody communicated with one another face-to-face … and we put all of it collectively. We cleaned it as much as be extra family-friendly — no politics in any respect. All people is sick of that by now. It’s just a few goofy, silly enjoyable … actually what everybody goes via now, coping with relations, relationships, being locked up at dwelling … slightly escapism and enjoyable, a lighter tackle this severe scenario.
“I didn’t check out a single joke earlier than [taping],” he says. “Not on my spouse, my buddies or enterprise associates. After I walked onto the stage that evening I’d by no means stated these jokes out-loud to anybody on the planet. Just one bit was repeated, from my first time on ‘The Tonight Present’ with Johnny Carson in 1990. I needed to deliver that again as a result of it’s been a basic staple in my act for a decade.”
Dunham says the audiences for the 2 reveals have been solicited on-line.
“We put it on social media on a first-come, first-serve foundation and everybody else received placed on a ready record,” he says. “It stuffed up immediately. Everybody had a COVID take a look at three days upfront — individuals needed to leap via fiery hoops to get to those reveals. The worst viewers on this planet is one which will get in without spending a dime and with out incident. They’re all the time judgmental.
“These individuals simply needed to snicker.”
And, Dunham says, he’s received plenty of materials left over as soon as the 2 reveals have been edited collectively for Friday’s particular.
“I solely had to make use of half of what I did these nights — and a very good portion of my street present is written now.”
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