The Jeff Dunham Show TV Poster Image

The Jeff Dunham Show

Ventriloquist's comedy act is too edgy for younger viewers.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

While Dunham's ability to find the humor in any situation shows that the basic moments in life -- both the mundane and the unusual -- are full of potential, the fact that many of his characters are based on stereotypes (socioeconomic, ethnic, or otherwise) sends a somewhat iffy message.

Positive role models

Dunham plays the role of befuddled straight guy to a menagerie of wacky dummy/characters, some of whom exhibit sterotypical behavior (a beer-swilling redneck, etc.). When they cross the line into unacceptable behavior -- racist, sexist remarks, for example -- Dunham reels them back ... which would make it seem like he's setting a good example, until you remember that all of the characters are him.

Violence

No violence, though one of the comic’s characters is a terrorist who often jokes about destruction.

Sex

Some innuendo and sexist language. One of the puppet characters can be quite focused on "boobs," for example.

Language

Some words are bleeped. Mild swearing and insults include “shut the hell up,” “holy crap,” and “tramp.” When someone uses the word “c--k” appropriately, one character tries to make it into a double entendre.

Consumerism

The series promotes the comedy career of its star, Jeff Dunham.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Some drinking, and several jokes about being drunk.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this comedy series showcases the talents of ventriloquist Jeff Dunham and his collection of sidekick puppet characters, including a crotchety old man, a cadaverous terrorist skeleton, and a beer-swilling redneck. The jokes range from tame situational comedy to slightly racist and sexist cracks. There’s also moderate swearing and some sexual innuendo -- all of which means that Dunham’s act is better suited for older viewers than for kids.

What's the story?

In THE JEFF DUNHAM SHOW, comedian/ventriloquist Jeff Dunham brings his stage act to the small screen, accompanied by the diverse cast of puppet sidekicks that form the heart of his humor. Each character has his or her own distinct personality and quirks -- the gang includes crotchety old man Walter, dim-bulb redneck Bubba J., and a skeletal corpse known as Achmed the Dead Terrorist. Every episode of the show combines performance footage filmed in front of live audience with pre-taped skits featuring the comic and his pals in a variety of unusual situations -- Jeff and Walter go to a therapist, Bubba J. goes to a shooting range, etc.

Is it any good?

QUALITY

Here’s the thing about ventriloquists: Jokes that wouldn’t be funny if a traditional comedian told them don’t really improve when they come out of the mouth of a puppet. Dunham plays the straight man while his characters frequently spout mildly racist and sexist lines and mediocre one-liners. Watching a teenage boy go on and on about a woman’s breasts isn’t funny, and the lines aren’t any more entertaining when they come from some horn-dog made out of foam.

Dunham isn’t even that impressive a ventriloquist; it’s easy to see his mouth moving, especially since there aren’t any compelling reasons to watch the puppets.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about edgy humor. Could some of Dunham's jokes be seen as offensive? To whom? What part of the show made you laugh the most?

  • Are jokes based on stereotypes ever appropriate? Why do you think that different groups of people find different things funny?

TV details

Premiere date:October 22, 2009
Cast:Jeff Dunham
Network:Comedy Central
Genre:Comedy
TV rating:TV-14
Available on:DVD, Streaming

This review of The Jeff Dunham Show was written by

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Parent Written bycatwoman01 October 19, 2011

ok to take 9 year old to show?

We have watched Jeff's show many times on the Comedy channel with our son who is now 9. We all laugh at the show every time. Purchased tickets to see him in person in February '12. I'm a little concerned about taking my son in person and what other people might think about us bringing our child. Should I be concerned or leave child with other family while we enjoy the show? It's very good entertainment.
What other families should know
Great messages
Too much swearing
Kid, 11 years old February 3, 2011
It is a great show. But I will point out that many shows that many parents let their children watch are just as bad(the office,SNL,ect.). This is fine to let twelve year olds watch it's not like we don't know the stuff they talk about(war,terrorists you know the rest. I say we should be aloud to etch this great show.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Great messages
Parent of a 6 year old Written bytmj2037c January 1, 2010
AS AN ADULT,,,I ABSOLUTLY LOVE HIM AND THE "THE GUYS", BUT NOT FOR MY 6 YR OLD SON. MY 9 YR STEPSONS GRANDPARENTS TOOK HIM TO SEE HIM AND I COULD NOT BELIEVE IT... NOT FOR CHILDREN ....GREAT FOR ADULTS
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking