I’m not entirely sure when was the first time I saw a Jeff Dunham stand-up show, but I know it was before High School on an afternoon where I got lost in the world of YouTube. Since the first time I saw him perform, I knew I wouldn’t regret becoming a fan, especially since he had me laughing within the first minute of his show. His crazy “friends” accompanied him in making that afternoon as joyful as possible. Whether it was Peanut, the white and purple monkey, with Jose the Jalapeno on a Stick arguing with each other, or Walter insulting the audience, his stand up show had me in stitches! His passion and devotion to revive and thrive in his art of ventriloquism should inspire us all to find our passion and prosper and achieve great things. Like Jeff Dunham demonstrates, that passion, that devotion, that dedication can be towards anything; usual activities like music or sports, or unusual activities like Cosplays, or carving egg-shells. Whatever the hobby is, we must do our finest job to find passion and thrive in it. Success wasn’t effortless for Jeff Dunham and his vertically impaired friends. Jeff Dunham worked all over his home town of Dallas; he performed in all types of places to try and get discovered. Dunham performed at school talent-shows, cafes, at his job at Six Flags, and around him college campus at Baylor University. Being allowed to execute his skits at these locations didn’t come easy for Dunham either; with him receiving his first puppet at age eight, he continued to improve his skills to his teenage years for the opportunity to make people laugh at small gigs. After performing in sophomoric establishments, Dunham would perform on Broadway and the Westbury Music Festival. It wasn’t until 1988 when Dunham received his big break thus skyrocketing his career as a ventriloquist. With Dunham’s success also came controversy with his ventriloquism style, often being criticized because of his cheeky friends. Time magazine described Dunham’s pals by saying, “All of them are politically incorrect, gratuitously insulting and ill tempered.” His ventriloquist style has often been described as “a dress-down, more digestible version of Don Rickles with multiple personality disorder.” Never the less, Jeff Dunham and his “multiple personalities” have been, and continue to be very successful in not only ventriloquist shows, but stand-up shows as well. Dunham has been credited with not only reviving the art of ventriloquism, but also in doing more to promote the art form than anyone else since the late Edgar Bergen, a famous 60’s/70’s ventriloquist whose routines Dunham often studies.
Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy
Jeff Dunham is an american ventriloquist and a stand-up comedian who has appeared on many T.V. shows, such as Late Show with David Letterman, Comedy Central Presents, and the Tonight Show. Jeff Dunham have 5 specials running on Comedy Central: Jeff Dunham: Spark of Insanity, Jeff Dunham: Arguing with Myself, Jeff Dunham’s Very Special Christmas, Jeff Dunham: Controlled Chaos, and Jeff Dunham: Minding the Monsters. Jeff Dunham began at the age of eight when his parents gave him a Mortimer Snerd dummy for Christmas in 1970. He immediately fell in love with ventriloquism as he practiced imitating his idol Edgar Bergen. Jeff Dunham, a native from Dallas, Texas, began his career as a ventriloquist in his middle school years performing for banquets attended by celebrities, such as the Dallas Cowboys’ quarterback (at the time) Roger Staubach. Jeff Dunham’s careers went through phases, much like one of a successful doctor or surgeon; must attend Elementary, Middle, and High School before they go off to Medical School, then commence their career in the medical world improving people’s lives. Jeff Dunham began as a mediocre, like most, if not all entertainers do. After Dunham’s performances for his parents in the living room at the age of eight, Dunham and his parents felt like it was time for Dunham to showcase his talent and passion for a larger audience, so on multiple occasions Dunham entered Elementary and Middle School talent shows. In the fourth grade Jeff Dunham decided that not only did he want to be a professional ventriloquist, but he wanted to be the best ventriloquist ever. Dunham practiced, rehearsed, and practiced even more in front of the mirror and attended camps. In the sixth grade, Jeff Dunham attended the Vent Haven ConVENTion in Fort Mitchell, Kentucky. Since then in 1977, Dunham has only missed one ConVENTion.
I love to laugh. Laughter, as researchers say, is beneficial for our mental and physical health. Stressed individuals have higher levels of a hormone called cortical, and studies show that laughter lower cortical levels in the body, thus reducing stress in individuals (‘Laughter is the best medicine’). I enjoyed every single one of his stand ups, so an evening watching him perform with his whacky friends will only bring more joy and laughter. High levels of stress can cause headaches, muscle tensions, chest pains, stomach upsets, and fatigue (. High levels of stress not only affect you physically, but mentally as well as it could cause anxiety, restlessness, lack of motivation, anger and can lead you to a state of depression, and this is where Dunham and Melvin the superhero come to save the day. If you find an old man insult the audience and wish death upon his wife, or a dead terrorist threatening to kill you funny, then Dunham is indirectly beneficial for your health. According to R. Morgan Griffin “Laughter just might be the best medicine, helping you feel better and putting that spring back in your step.” “I believe that if people can get more laughter in their lives, they are a lot better off,” says Steve Wilson, MA, CSP, a psychologist and laugh therapist (‘Give your body a boost–with laughter’). “They might be healthier too.” Although people aren’t certain that laughter helps people feel better, it certainly isn’t hurting; we change physiologically when we laugh. People who believe laughter is beneficial say it can be like a mild workout, and may offer some of the advantages of a mild workout. The act of laughing stretch our face muscles, causes our pulse and blood pressure go up, and we breathe faster, which causes us to send more oxygen to our tissues. Laughter isn’t only beneficial for us mentally by making us less depressed and have a more positive look on things, but it is also beneficial for us physically and our relationships with others as well. A recent study shows that “Humor and laughter can strengthen your immune system, boost your energy, diminish pain, and protect you from the damaging effects of stress”. Laughter is a powerful antidote to stress, pain, and/or conflict. Having a good laugh lightens your burdens, inspires hopes, connects you to others, and keeps you grounded, focused, and alert. As stated by Paul E. McGhee, Ph. D. “Your sense of humor is one of the most powerful tools you have to make certain that your daily mood and emotional state support good health.” The ability to laugh is frequently a tremendous resource to cope with problems, enhancing relationships, and supporting our healthy bodies both mentally and physical. Laughter is also beneficial for relaxation as a good amount of laughter can leave our muscles relaxed for at least 45 minutes.
From personal experience, this school year has been the toughest of them all, what with the higher advanced courses, the amount of school work, work/jobs, and extracurriculars, like NHS, etc. It seems like school has really taken it’s toll on our daily lives way more than it has before, and along with the amount on our plate comes stress and less time for ourselves. Comedians like Jeff Dunham strive to make people laugh. Laughter can change a person’s attitude towards the day, and can help relieve stress. Laughter is needed for hard-workers because of this reason. Everyone needs a break now-and-then to help clear one’s mind to achieve a moment of relaxation. This is why is it essential for everyone, but teens especially to watch comedians, such as Jeff Dunham, or comedies so that we don’t crack under the pressure of us entering the “real world” soon and all of the preparations building us up to either join the workforce or college. Laughter and our humor helps us in 3 main ways: physically, mentally, and socially. Physically by boosting your immunity, lowering stress levels, decreasing pain, relaxing muscles, and aid in the prevention of heart diseases. Almost everyone in high school can honestly say that they’ve been stressed because of multiple reasons: they have a project due in two days but they’re no where close to finishing, they have a test over material they haven’t studied in a while, or simply having to be eligible to participate in their passions, like sports or fine arts. Individuals can be stressed at work as well for presentations for their boss, if it’s either for your job, or for school, lowering stress level when possible. Mentally by adding joy and zest in our lives, easing anxiety and fear, relieving stress, and improving moods. And socially by strengthening relationships, attracting others towards us, enhancing teamwork, help defuse conflict, and promote group bonding. The mental and social benefits of laughter and humor go hand-in-hand because most people tend to be more gregarious when they’re in better moods, and most people would also want to be social with people in positive moods. Because of this, watching a little Dunham from time to time allows us to improve our moods which could indirectly improve our status at work as well. If a higher position is available at work, most bosses looks for active team-members ready for higher roles at work. They need someone who can communicate with their colleagues, and higher positioned workers as well, so communication and overall attitude is immensely important, both in and out of work. For high school students, these attributes are important as well for students who want to take leadership roles around school, whether it’s for extracurricular organizations, sports teams, or fine arts positions, good communication and attitude is significant to achieve the positions. To be a good leader, other must be able to come to you for help whenever needed and it’ll be way easier if you’re easy to approach. Jeff Dunham makes people laugh, and laughter allows you to be more sociable and have a better mind set, which in turn, can help you become a better person for your job, or school.