We've already learned that Jeff Dunham's particular brand of humor (tired jokes delivered by an array of stereotype puppets) is what America wants for Christmas. But what will America want in the future, say, around fall of 2010? Jeff Dunham, always more Jeff Dunham:
After his Christmas special became the most watched show in Comedy Central history, ventriloquist Jeff Dunham has signed an all-encompassing deal with the cable net that includes a series order, another standup special, a DVD release and merchandising.
Dunham's 2008 special drew 6.6 million viewers to the network upon its initial run, and his touring business took in $19.2 million last year, making the 46-year-old comic the highest-grossing standup in North America, according to Pollstar.
Comedy Central has ordered six episodes of a new series starring the puppet-toting comic with plans to start production this summer and air the show early next year.
A one-hour standup special is slated to air in fall 2010, around the same time that a tour and consumer products push are launched. A DVD release will also be coordinated around these events.
Comedy Central has previously signed other comics, including Carlos Mencia, to such multifaceted deals.
So Jeff Dunham is basically the next Carlos Mencia, which seems about right. Clearly people are hooked on the sensation that a dead terrorist puppet screaming "Towelhead!" gives them—it's kind of woozy, like someone pouring rubber cement directly on your brain—and they want more. But it's not the stand-up special or the 6-episode series that is troublesome here. It's the merchandising. A quick look at Dunham's website reveals that there really isn't much left in the world that doesn't have "I Keel You!" already slapped on it.
Of course, there's the usual merch like t-shirts, dogtags, and posters, and there are the requisite talking stereotype puppet dolls. But then there's also Achmed wine:
Yum. A Syrah with notes of stale humor and puppet dust.
There are also etched iPods:
so everyone on the train can know exactly how unfunny you like your humor.
And there are Dunham puppet Moleskein notebooks:
which are perfect for jotting down your own ideas for stereotype puppets ("Talking German sausage on a stick!" "Aziz, the call center guy!" "Mr. Kim, the Korean dogcatcher!" "Jarek, a worker on the Polish screwing-in-lightbulbs team!"), should you choose to follow in Jeff Dunham's "cutting edge" footsteps.