When the conversation of ventriloquism comes up (and really, how often does it?), it’s always some story about how you saw a bad ventriloquist at a church or school rallying about the evils of drugs or the value of being a good friend. Unfortunately for us, that bad ventriloquist probably wasn’t Jeff Dunham. You may not know Jeff’s face, but if you’ve done any late night channel surfing in the last 20 or so years, you definitely know his 2-foot group of misfits from their countless appearances on The Tonight Show and other Comedy Central Specials.
Fortunately, this year, the good elves at Comedy Central sent us Jeff Dunham’s Very Special Christmas Special. Jeff is once again joined by his memorable and eclectic cast of characters, this time all riffing and celebrating Christmas in their own unique, albeit, dysfunctional way. The Very Special Christmas Special shows that Jeff Dunham knows what his audience wants and he delivers in Aces.
To start the evening off right, Jeff introduces us to Walter, the cantankerous, politically incorrect curmudgeon with his constant frown and crossed arms. Walter vents on subjects such as why the toys from his youth are far better than the toys today and why he can’t just tell everyone “Merry Christmas” instead of “Happy Holidays” despite the fact that everyone in the world doesn’t celebrate Christmas.
Then we’re introduced to Achmed the not so accomplished, dead terrorist. Achmed’s constant failures as a terrorist somehow manage to roll any and all Middle Eastern terrorist stereotypes into one constant joke after another, while somehow managing to stay light hearted and, well, funny. To round it out, Achmed sings us his own rendition of “Jingle Bells”, called “Jingle Bombs.”
Next up is Bubba J, the beer drinkin’, NASCAR watchin’ Southern bumpkin. In between complaining about his wife and the pleasures he gets from drinking beer, Bubba J weaves in and out of his goofy dialect and awkward laugh while reading an apology letter he wrote to Santa involving Santa, a near tragedy and urine and gives us the privilege of singing his own Christmas song, “Roadkill Christmas.”
Lastly, we’re treated to two of Jeff’s more popular characters, Peanut and Jose Jalapeno (“…on a steee-k”). I can only describe Peanut as a Ritalin deficient Muppet, only better. Definitely a crowd favorite, Peanut asks Jeff for only two things for Christmas, successfully turning it into a barrage of delightful metaphors. Helping Peanut wrap things up was Jose Jalapeno (“…on a steee-k”). Jose tells us about his skiing trip and the trial and tribulations of skiing while being blessed with being a stick (sorry, a “…steee-k”).
I was constantly amazed at Jeff’s comedic ability to weave very different comedic styles and stereotypes while managing to keep everything fresh, funny and entertaining. Will this rank up there with classic Christmas specials? Probably not for the casual viewer, but still worth watching and for the die hard fans, absolutely.
Some who watch this might consider it to be a bit politically incorrect, but guess what? That’s what makes it funny. Like Achmed the not so accomplished, dead terrorist said, “Being politically correct is a pain in the ass.”
Jeff Dunham’s Very Special Christmas Special – World Premiere Sunday, Nov. 16 at 9p /8c on Comedy Central