Jeffrey William Robinson Dunham , more famously known as simply Jeff Dunham, is an American ventriloquist and stand-up comedian who has appeared on numerous television shows in the U.S. His most famous puppeted characters include Walter the old man, Peanut the puppet and Jose Jalapeno on a stick.
Jeff Dunham was born on the 18th of April, 1962, in Dallas, Texas. He was an only child and was raised by adopted parents in a fairly affluent part of Dallas . He began ventriloquism at the age of eight, when his parents gave him a Mortimer Snerd dummy for Christmas and an accompanying how-to record album.
From this moment onwards, he put everything into practising and rehearsing his first act. His earliest shows came as a teenager in local churches and schools before he went on to perform at local banquets in front of some local celebrities.
Dunham's earliest television exposure was doing commercials for Datsun dealerships while he was in high school. He graduated from Baylor University in 1986 and then went on to make his debut on The Tonight Show with Jonny Carsin in 1990.
At the end of his act, he was invited to sit on Jonny Carson's couch, which was considered to be a mark of approval. On 18 July 2003, Dunham made his first solo appearance on Comedy Central Presents. During his half-hour piece, he showcased José Jalapeño on a Stick, Walter, an early version of Melvin the Superhero Guy and Peanut, whom Dunham had begun to merchandise into a line of dolls.
In 2006, Comedy Central gave Dunham his first one-hour special, which drew in two million viewers when it aired, cementing Dunham's stardom. It was available on DVD in September 2007. Jeff Dunham's Very Special Christmas Special was taped in 2008, and premièred on Comedy Central on the16th November 2008. It was watched by 6.6 million people. The special's première was the highest rated telecast in Comedy Central's history.
In March 2009, Dunham signed a multi-platform deal with Comedy Central. It included a fourth stand-up special to air in 2010, DVDs, a consumer products partnership, a 60-city tour beginning in September 2010, and an order for a television series which premièred on 22 October 2009, but was cancelled after just one season.
Personal life today
In November 2008, Dunham separated from his wife Paige, after 14 years of marriage. The couple has three daughters - Bree, Ashlyn and Kenna.
In addition to building the dummies he uses in his act, Dunham also restores antique ones as a hobby when he is away from the stage.