How Jeff Dunham pulled off last-minute Comedy Central special

One of the best comic ventriloquists in the world, Jeff Dunham, organized his newest Comedy Central in such a remarkable short time, adjusting his program to be in line with COVID era.

I came up with the idea literally two months ago and we shot it three weeks ago,” Dunham said. “It was a crazy turnaround creatively and technically. I heard of so many other comics doing specials [during COVID] in drive-ins, etc. and I said, ‘We can do this.’

This is my 10th special, and it’s always an 18-to-24-month ordeal to build them, one joke at a time … getting the breathing the same and perfecting it so it’s a lay-up,” he says.

I like to say I tricked Comedy Central into buying an ‘unscripted’ special.

Dunham is being modest. His performed two live shows in the COVID era, in front of 100 people and told jokes he never said before anywere.

I pulled aside a few writer friends and said, ‘Here’s the subject matter’ and they started writing jokes,” says Dunham.“No one communicated with each other face-to-face … and we put it all together. We cleaned it up to be more family-friendly — no politics whatsoever. Everybody is sick of that by now. It’s just some goofy, stupid fun … literally what everyone is going through now, dealing with family members, relationships, being locked up at home … a little escapism and fun, a lighter take on this serious situation.

I didn’t try out a single joke before [taping],” he says. “Not on my wife, my friends or business associates. When I walked onto the stage that night I’d never said these jokes out-loud to anyone on the planet. Only one bit was repeated, from my first time on ‘The Tonight Show’ with Johnny Carson in 1990. I wanted to bring that back because it’s been a classic staple in my act for a decade.

Impressive, really impressive. For those of you who want to watch Dunham, here is the video.