Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Presenting Jeff Dunham and friends in All By My Selves

Ventriloquism is mostly regarded as a novelty act of a bygone era these days but like many classic forms of pop culture,it only takes one talented person with persistence to make everything old new again. Jeff Dunham is that guy for this genre and along with his merry band of seriously silly sidekicks,has made quite a name for himself and his comical creations.

His upcoming memoir,All By My Selves:Walter,Peanut,Achmed and Me,chronicles his life and times as an entertainer called towards more of an old school style in a world ruled by stand-up comedians with modern flair.

Jeff started out at age eight,with a dummy modeled after Mortimer Snerd,one of Edgar Bergen's most popular characters. Bergen's techniques were guide posts that Jeff studied to develop his craft and inspirations for his budding talent as well:

Over time,Jeff developed his own offbeat personae such as the cantankerously charming Walter and Peanut,who definitely marches to the beat of a really different drum.

He did all sorts of gigs,from corporate events to state fairs and small clubs,striving for a major career goal;an appearance on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. Jeff did eventually become a regular returning guest on that program as well as other late night shows but that was only one hurdle to jump over in getting his career off the ground:

Jeff's act wasn't an easy fit into most markets but eventually he carved out his own niche,with live performances and Comedy Central specials that brought in many folks attracted to his warm wit and politically incorrect edge. While his recent cable series was given only one season,Dunham's star is still on the rise.

The book talks about the ins and outs of his career,including the development of such controversial characters as Achmed,The Dead Terrorist,who first began as a much needed dose of comic relief after the tragic events of 9/11. Achmed,thanks to numerous YouTube viewings,has become a major league fan favorite with an international following.

Some might feel that it's insensitive to have this figure in his show but by making what many people fear most in the world a source of laughter,Jeff ultimately shows us how foolish it is to give such power over our minds and hearts to anyone:

Dunham tells his stories in a very straightforward manner,laced with good humor and occasional commentaries from his galley of merry(not so merry in Walter's case,I grant you) misfits.

While he does discuss numerous highs and lows in both his personal and professional life,Jeff does not dwell on the negative. Rather,he sincerely tries to learn from all of his experiences and strive to improve himself and his art. He may sound too good to be true but Jeff Dunham is who he is;a person fortunate enough to know what he wanted to do in life early on and happy to share his gifts with others.

All By My Selves is an entertaining look at a pop culture phenomenon and his take on the world around him. Even if you've never seen one of his performances yet still hold a special place in your heart for puppets,this book delivers the comedy goods. Jeff Dunham's memoir will be on sale by November 2,so keep a lookout for it and maybe one of his buddies at a book signing near you:

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