I’ve seen a lot of shows come and go on Comedy Central over the years. The network really found gold when it began to air the crude animated adventures of Eric Cartman and his pals of South Park. It appears that ever since that day, the network has been searching high and low, mostly low, to catch that kind of lightening in a bottle again. Let’s face it. The South Park boys aren’t going to last forever. Comedy Central must certainly understand that someday they’ll need another solid anchor for their network. One of the most recent attempts has been the Jeff Dunham Show. From what I’ve seen of this release, Comedy Central had best keep on looking. Of course, the ratings and the audience have already convinced them of that fact. The show is already gone after only 7 episodes. You can find them all on this single disc release.
From the description, it actually sounded like a pretty good idea. It’s certainly an original one. The idea of having a ventriloquist act as the centerpiece for a comedy show really sounded like a great idea. I hadn’t really heard of Jeff Dunham before this, so I had no idea what kind of show to expect. I only know I expected to laugh. After the first couple of episodes, I hadn’t laughed yet. That’s okay. I just have to warm up to the unique series. Give the guy time to settle into the format. Now I’ve watched all 7 episodes, and I’m still waiting.
Each 22-minute episode is comprised of about 4 or 5 sketches with one of Dunham’s dummy characters. There’s a live bit in front of an audience that is usually just a couple of jokes and a setup for a recorded sketch with the same character, that I assume the audience watches on a big screen. The sketches then finish with another live section that serves as a coda. The bits often involve real people in some job or other like David Letterman has become famous for. Only this time it’s the dummies that interact with these real people. Most of them appear to be bored as heck being there. None of the pieces run long enough to really come together, and all of the punch lines are telegraphed and forced. The only guy laughing here is Jeff Dunham, although not so much any more.
The characters include:
Walter: A crotchety old man whose humor is usually related to his aged body functions, or lack thereof.
Achmed, The Dead Terrorist: Achmed is a skeleton dummy with a turban. His catch phrase is, “wait for it, I kill you”.
Bubba J: This character likes beer and guns, and the humor is just as disastrous.
Peanut: This little cute “muppet-looking character has a peanut allergy and the hots for buxom recording stars.
Sweet Daddy D: This character looks, talks, and acts like he stepped out of a bad episode of Good Times.
The jokes are just as lame as the characters. It’s bad when about the funniest bit involves Achmed mistaking the word juice for Jews. Avoid this train wreck at all costs.
Each episode is presented in its broadcast aspect ratio of 1.78:1 I’m surprised at the low- budget look of the video even in the controlled environment of the live stage part of the show. I expected the “out in the world” segments to look like they were shot by a camcorder, but the studio stuff isn’t a whole lot better. There’s a lot of digital noise here. The colors are actually pretty bright. The image just doesn’t have any sharpness to it.
The Dolby Digital 2.0 is all about dialog and delivers it just fine.
Behind The Scenes: There are three sections: Achmed At Camp Pendleton, Achmed’s Funeral, and Comedy Central Promos. Each is only a couple of minutes.
Unaired Sketch: (6:59) There’s a Sweet Daddy D bit that never made it to an episode. It was likely recorded for a future episode when the series got axed.
If you’re a fan of this show, at least there is a DVD now so that you can cherish these short memories. I know you’re probably feeling bitter at Comedy Central for getting rid of the series. You have to understand that television is a business. It’s all about making money, and a network can’t keep a show on the air just for the both of you. Fortunately, for the rest of us this is the last time we’ll hear those terrifying words, “Please welcome Jeff Dunham”.