YMMV / Jeff Dunham

  • Acceptable Ethnic Targets: It's probably easier to list the puppets who aren't Acceptable Ethnic Targets—Walter, who's a standard Acceptable Target instead, and Peanut, who's just made up.
  • Acceptable Targets: Walter, a Grumpy Old Man who embodies Screw Politeness, I'm a Senior!.
  • Crosses the Line Twice:
    • During one Audience Participation scene:
      Walter: [reading question] "Dear Walter, why do I gag when I brush my tongue but not when I give my boyfriend oral sex?" [to the girl who asked the question] Well obviously, your toothbrush is bigger.
      The trope was invoked by Jeff for that one, who originally wanted to discard the joke but, since Walter already crossed the line with some of the earlier answers...
    • Likewise, Peanut's story about ordering food from a Chinese restaurant is so offensive that it becomes purely hilarious. (And in case you didn't catch it, Peanut will remind you several times!!) It gets even funnier when Jeff tries to get Peanut to apologize for the joke and read a letter from an Asian fan.
    • There was a bit at a live show in Winnipeg where Peanut finds the idea of a vomiting giraffe hilarious.
    • At one show, there was no roof and an airport nearby. Achmed was on stage, and a plane comes by overhead...
      Achmed: Not yet, idiots! After the show!
      • Achmed's entire concept, really. Terrorism? Pretty scary stuff. A (un?)dead suicide bomber fond of Ineffectual Death Threats? Hilarious.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse:
    • Achmed, Walter.
    • Brian Haner, AKA Guitar Guy.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: Walter once mentions he gave his grandson a sponge bought from a dollar store and told him it was SpongeBob SquarePants. His grandson complains SpongeBob doesn't have an abrasive scrubbing pad. SpongeBob gets an abrasive scrubbing pad in one episode to be more assertive.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Achmed. Yes, he's a terrorist, yes, he kills people (or tries to), and yes he's an asshole to the crew members who sometimes have to fix him during shows, but it's hard not to feel sorry for all he goes through, especially with what Walter does to him.
  • Just Here for Godzilla: Even Jeff acknowledges that people aren't here to see the traditional stand up he does.
    Jeff: [after opening applause dies down] Well, you can't fool me. I know every bit of that is for the little guys in the suitcase!
  • Memetic Mutation: Every other line from Achmed, but especially "SILENCE!! I KEEL YOU!!"
  • Mexicans Love Speedy Gonzales: According to Arab-American comic Ahmed Ahmed, goofy acts like Achmed the Dead Terrorist are actually a big hit in the Middle East. Fellow comedian Gabriel Iglesias would later back this up even further when, during his Aloha Fluffy special, he tells of when he went to perform in Saudi Arabia and is told by a cab driver that Jeff Dunham is considered the #1 most popular comedian in the area. Further supporting this is the standing ovation Achmed received in Abu Dhabi for "I KEEL YOU!"
    Achmed: What the Hell! I threaten to kill them, they all go "Yay!"?
  • Older Than They Think: Jeff's been doing ventriloquism his whole life—started in elementary school (fourth grade), high school, college and on. He's done local commercials in Texas, and bits for churches, groups, and corporations. When he was in college he toured nationally with the Broadway variety hit Sugar Babies in 19841985. The only character he had from then he still uses is José Jalapeño, but many people have had a moment of "Wait, I remember this guy!" when he pulls José out.
  • Pandering to the Base: Dunham has been doing this in recent years by featuring Achmed more often and doing more humor to appeal to Southern conservatives.
  • The Scrappy: Sweet Daddy D. He wasn't really that funny, and his cut-aways during Jeff's regular stand-up segment and Walter's part of the special were more annoying than entertaining. It's probably a good thing that he hasn't appeared in any of Jeff's specials since.
  • Special Effects Failure:
    • This happens a lot with Achmed, as his skeletal body is unusually flimsy compared to the rest of the puppets, leading to a lot of Throw It In!. During a few of his specials, Achmed's entire lower body will have to be repositioned, much to Achmed's chagrin (including one incident where he reacted in horror when Jeff accidentally pulled his arm off). To Jeff's credit, he rolled with the incident, making up a story about how his pet chihuahua used Achmed's dislocated arm as a chew toy.
    • One show at Penn State saw Achmed's ribcage getting caught on his spine, starting off 40 minutes of hilarious improv. The same thing happened during Controlled Chaos (the uncut DVD performance), but Jeff actually pulled Achmed's ribcage off trying to get it unstuck.
    • During Spark Of Insanity, Melvin whipped his body around too fast, and his entire head of hair came flying off. Granted, everyone else thought it was funny, but Melvin wasn't really thrilled ("I look like Lex Luthor!"). This also happened to Peanut in Arguing With Myself and he wasn't happy about it, because it hurts trying to stick it back on. The DVD extras reveal that that one was planned from the get-go, based on an earlier incident during a live show.
    • The Achmed arm thing from the Christmas special was also planned. It may have been a mistake at first, and the audience response was so good that he kept it, reusing it at least in Billings, Montana—though he also truly did throw in a very well-received Montana joke.
      Walter: So where are we again?
      Jeff: Billings.
      Walter: Montana? Is this the entire population of the state?
      Audience: [HUGE applause]
    • Though Jeff is quite good on keeping his lips still with the other puppets, sometimes he slips up. In particular, his skits with Peanut have them bantering back and forth too quickly and he can't always keep up.
    • In a more general sense if you look closely you can see Jeff's adam's apple bouncing up and down when he talks.
    • In All Over the Map, Peanut lampshades that it's near-impossible to pronounce Icelandic words without moving your lips.
  • Tear Jerker: One moment in his biography, All By My Selves, has him telling a story of how one of his daughters put a suitcase with two dolls and her blanket beside his luggage, and he had to take the suitcase back to her room and tell her she couldn't go, and she was crying as he was leaving and Jeff himself started, too.
  • Uncanny Valley:
    • Zig-Zagged. Many of Jeff's earlier puppets, especially if you see his school pictures, are more realistic and as a result look incredibly weird. Thankfully the ones he has now are stylized and he's good enough moving them that they don't make any strange movements that are often associated with ventriloquist dummies.
    • However, Achmed Junior falls head-first into the valley.
  • The Woobie:
    • Achmed, during the Christmas special:
    • If Walter's farts really are that bad, you might start to feel sorry for Achmed.
      Achmed: Saddam's mustard gas is nothing compared to a Walter fart!
      Walter: [inside suitcase] Ha ha ha ha ha ha!