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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » I'm a real boy! » » Jeff Dunhan on TV tonight (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Joseph_Then
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I agree with Bob, and many of you too. I felt that his latest DVD is a losing a little "fun" factor. But I'll still watch it again to study great ventriloquists... Smile
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Joseph Then

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Servante
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I also think that the use of the F word and crude humor could easily be his attempt to protect his territory. I'm formulating this thought as I write, so bear with me. Jeff Dunham was one of the major vents who made the American public understand that ventriloquism isn't just about entertaining children (Nothing wrong, let me assure with, with entertaining children! I've done quite a bit of that myself, as have all of you!). The other two that come to mind in this era are Jay Johnson and Terry Fator. But it's possible that Jeff's feeling the pressure of keeping that particular ball in the air. And there is, perhaps, the thought in his mind that the whole idea of adult entertainment has to be stressed from time to time (especially since the TV show in prime time didn't do well). The public is a fickle beast and always wants to know what you've done for it lately...but there's also the very real fear that if the public grows used to you or bored with you, you could start playing to partial houses. I've seen Jeff Dunham live only once, but I noticed an unusual number of children in the audience. At that time, perhaps four years ago, there wasn't a lot of questionable language, but there was at least some innuendo and some suggestive material. I don't remember a lot of F word stuff. It is perhaps possible that, in order to keep the public's view of ventriloquism as something that is also for adults, Jeff feels the need to ramp things up a little. Or, of course, it's possible that I'm just full of panther whangy. :-D

-Philip
Mr. Pitts
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With all due respect Philip, answer 'B'... panther whangy. The last time I saw Jeff live was at a comedy club just before he recorded his first big special; "Arguing With Myself". It was a late show on Saturday night, very sparse crowd. I understood that he'd had a packed house for the previous show that evening, but there were only about 20 people at this one. Jeff riffed on this fact a little bit too, hilariously. Actually, the whole show was hilarious, and like Keith said, I had a hard time catching my breath I was laughing so hard. But rest assured, it was a comedy club, and the material was plenty adult and was generously peppered with adult language. But it was very, very funny. When he prepared to adapt the material from his act for his first special, I understood that he pulled it back a bit, partially because his daughters would be seeing it and they were old enough to understand it, but still kids, so he was aware of that and edited it a bit. This also had the effect (probably intentional) of making it a little more palatable to general audiences and expand his reach. This worked extremely well. Just enough to definitely not be seen as a children's entertainer, but not Otto and George either. It was a good balance and he started filling really big venues after that. But it wasn't more or less funny because of adult language. It was funnier than the new special because of how the material was developed. The first special was basically his act. He'd spent 20 plus years on the road, night after night, developing this material in front of live, sometimes drunk, sometimes disinterested comedy club patrons who weren't always in the mood to see some guy with puppets. He had to bring it, night after night, he had to get laughs, big laughs, lots of laughs, because that's the main goal at the comedy club. People come there to drink (that's where the money is) and to laugh - which is why they pay cover and more per drink - funny is the draw. And it's an adult environment. So after all this time working this act out in front of live audiences who weren't always fans, it had become really, really good. Every joke, every segue, every 'ad-lib', the timing and responses were all polished and hilariously perfect. That's what went into the first special, with a little cleaning up, like I said. The difference between that one and this recent one is that this one isn't his act. This is REALLY a special. This Halloween material was written especially for this show, he probably got very little chance to work it out in front of an audience. There's no way for a guy at his level to even find an audience who doesn't know who he is so he can get a real objective response to the material. Without that he never has a way to really refine it. And if you know anything about performing comedy, you know that many of the laughs aren't in the jokes themselves, they're in the timing and responses, just a little accent here on a word, a funny look from Peanut there... it can't be done as effectively with a special like this as it can working out an act in front of a live audience over many performances. I thnk the language was intended to punch it up a little, and it wasn't terribly effective because the material wasn't strong enough to begin with, so it was like throwing hard punches but not quite landing them. In addition to this, comedy is always better live, always. So a comedy special recorded in front of an audience isn't the same as actually being there. Anyway, as my wife pointed out (and she was offended more by the racist and sexist material than by the language) he's still good for business for the rest of us, even if this particular special wasn't his best work.
David Pitts
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Bob Baker
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Beautifully said, David.
marshalldoll
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I too agree with Mt Pitts. Jeff calls himself a Comedian / Ventriloquist. He is certainly looking for the adult audience when drops the bombs and you really can't fault him for that. He knows what he is doing with his career. We are all armchair critics at best compared to he who is knocking them dead. I also saw Jeff in a comedy club in a Chinese restaurant where waitresses were serving during the act and he let Walter go off on those waitresses and I can tell you the bombs were dropping fast and furious from Walter and Jeff seemed to just stand back and let Walter go. The entire club was rolling on the floor in laughter including me. He is a Comedian.
Dan
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I don't think we are all "armchair critics", we are all admittedly fans of Jeff, I sure there isn't a one of us that doesn't wish him continued success. After all, as fans we have enjoyed his work, AND he is one of us, AND staying successful and out there is good for all of us.

As far as our comments go, I think that's the fan side of us coming out. I don't think it's so much being critical as it is just voicing our opinion of whether or not we liked the show. If I am a fan of any performer, say a musical group for example, and they change the style of their music, I will say I don't like it, it's not for me, and probably stop listening to them. I won't keep buying their albums if I don't like their music anymore.
But then that's one of the ways performers have to judge how people are liking what they are doing, and if they should stay the course or change.
At least in Jeff's case, for us, he can probably get pretty well out there before any of us stop supporting him at least in spirit and good wishes for continued success.
But as far as lately goes, Keith said it best (for me anyway);
".....he is playing to a particular audience, obviously a pretty large one, the one that has helped make him a megastar. It's just not an audience I seem to be part of."
http://dickensndave.bravehost.com/index.html



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Fonsy
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Quote:
".....he is playing to a particular audience, obviously a pretty large one, the one that has helped make him a megastar. It's just not an audience I seem to be part of."


You are not the only one.
Read these reviews from Amazon:
http://www.amazon.com/Jeff-Dunham-Mindin......points=0

Jeff has disappointed a large part of his audience.

On the other hand, I don't think it is a major cause of concern.
If a popular actor makes one bad movie, that does not mean his future movies will be bad.

I still look forward to Dunham's next DVD, but I will pay more attention to reviews
(of the DVD, not the live show) before buying it.
Aussie
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Well I know all the people I've watched it with here in Australia enjoyed it as opposed to Nina Conti's video which they found odd and disrespectful. Each to their own I guess and as much as we try, as performers we can't cater to everyone all of the time. But let's not fall into the trap of the tall poppy syndrome either Smile

Personally I embrace most performances from vents because I think it's important to support our fellow artists and try and learn something from them. Jeff is no doubt a very nice guy and maybe this one didn't resonate with everyone, but you know what that's okay. His body of work and worldwide fame speaks for itself. I wish him all the best and no doubt all of you do too.
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Fonsy
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Quote:
On 2012-10-21 00:48, Aussie wrote:
Well I know all the people I've watched it with here in Australia enjoyed it as opposed to Nina Conti's video which they found odd and disrespectful. ...


I haven't seen Conti's video yet.
What is odd about it?
In what ways is it disrespectful?
Aussie
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I'm not saying it is disrespectful I'm just saying my friends who watched it expressed their opinion of it being disrespectful. They didn't like a couple of the scenes where the vent figures were laying all over the floor in the hotel room, where she was squashing them into the luggage, the swimming pool scene and how she "rung out the wet figure", the way she dragged that giant figure around. One of the people who didn't enjoy it said it was as though she really didn't take the profession seriously.

I'm not making a big deal about it, it's just some people's opinion.
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Fonsy
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Quote:
On 2012-10-21 04:54, Aussie wrote:
I'm not saying it is disrespectful I'm just saying my friends who watched it expressed their opinion of it being disrespectful. They didn't like a couple of the scenes where the vent figures were laying all over the floor in the hotel room, where she was squashing them into the luggage, the swimming pool scene and how she "rung out the wet figure", the way she dragged that giant figure around. One of the people who didn't enjoy it said it was as though she really didn't take the profession seriously. I'm not making a big deal about it, it's just some people's opinion.


Aussie, your friends' opinions are just as valid as anybody else's opinion.
Personally, I appreciate their offering a different perspective -- whether I agree with it or not.
Neale Bacon
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Back to Jeff.....

He is a comedian and has a certain audience. Not my cup of tea sometimes but still can be very funny.
As for children in the audience...blame the parents. There are still a lot of people who assume puppets means kid friendly and so they bring their kids. Then Jeff uses and F-bomb or two and they all get upset about it.

Understand what type of comedy Jeff does before you go. Do I like all of his material? No and I have told him so but I have also said how much I enjoy watching a master at work.

At Jeff never has to worry about me stealing his material Smile
Neale Bacon and his Crazy Critters
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rcav8r
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I'm seeing both views here.I find I have been laughingless at his last two shows (monsters, and chaos) than his earlier DVD's. I think Walthers part in Monsters was pretty short compared to past shows too. I also don't mind the F bombs and such as long as they are cleverly used, and not thrown out gratiously.
I do wonder though, how much of the act was cut due to being on TV, and how much will there be on the DVD (and outtakes).

I do find myself studying his technique a lot on subsequent DVD viewings. In one of his shows, he was using the labal "P" a lot, and I think that may been aimed at his fellow vents...he was being pretty good with it, IMHO.

Getting back to the topic at hand, I guess his latter shows are missing a little bit of richness, for lack of a better term.
ctpuppet
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The mail man delivered my dvd today from amazon. it is a lot longer then the tv version at 80 minutes. he is also now offering a little jeff vent figure and instructional dvd. Cant wait til he has it on his website
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