Saturday, March 12, 2011

Puppets, comedy & teens

One of my favorite comedians is Jeff Dunham. For those of you who don't know him, he's a ventriloquist with very flavorful characters like Walter, Peanut, Achmed the Dead Terrorist and Bubba Jay.
A very, very long time ago I saw him in "concert" (if you can call it that) at a comedy club. We're talking 1991 or so. At the time, he only had Walter and Peanut. Oh, and Jose Jalapeno On A Stick.I remembered Peanut vividly. In addition to his purple skin and big teeth, he had a shock of fluffy hair and every time he made a joke, he'd pick on the guy sitting directly in front of him: Hey, Bill! Zooom! and he'd wave his hand over the hair.

Then, life intervened and marriages, babies and careers came along. I forgot the comedian's name, but I remembered that darn puppet. 

Fast forward several years to a chance viewing on Comedy Central of a show called Arguing With Myself. Lo and behold, it's Jeff Dunham. Funnier than ever and debuting a new puppet that night. Achmed The Dead Terrorist. 
This is an Achmed poster I designed for
a recent Jeff Dunham contest.
Seriously funny stuff, right there. My friends and I quote Achmed's routine like we wrote it ourselves. 
However, the coolest thing in the history of ever, is how much fun I have sharing it with my son. The one born just two years after I saw Jeff in concert. I never in a million years thought he and I would have so many laughs and giggles over that guy. And all it takes is one small word, just one hint of the Achmed accent and we're off and running. It's not only fun, but a real joy to bond like that. He and I had the pleasure of attending a Jeff Dunham concert two years ago - at an arena, not a comedy club! - and it was awesome. Of course. I hope that's as wonderful a memory for my kiddo as it is for me. I'm so glad I got to share that with him. 

It seems my family has always had inside jokes that tickled the four of us. We were a military family and traveled the world just the four of us. Most people agree that we made the Waltons look dysfunctional! And, through all those years, one of the things I remember the most is the laughter. We pretty much lived a country & western song - didn't have a lot of money or material possessions, but we had a lot of love and laughter. Some familiar phrases include "We're gonna need a bigger boat" (usually in relation to space in the house) "pulled a Clements" (doing something so polar opposite from common sense that it's funny) "motengator, motengator, getting it on" (when my dad and brother would whoop up on me and mom during a game of Pinochle) and the recently added "It's okay, you're pretty" (when you say or do something blonde-worthy). 

Even now, some *mumble* years later, those memories make me smile and laugh with fondness. I'm delighted to be able to pass this family trait on to my son and I hope he passes it on to his kids (his VERY FAR IN THE FUTURE kids). 

Hug your kid/pet/parents/siblings today,
Jennifer August


  1. I LOVE Achmed, and Jeff Dunham. We got to see him at the arena here in Erie -- and the fun thing was, we got to see him accidentally stumble on new material. Achemed came out with he had "poliosis." HYSTERICAL. But...when Jeff actually incorporated it into the act for the Christmas special, it wasn't nearly as funny as it had been in the improv.

    It was actually my kid who turned me on to Jeff, first showing me Achmed videos on YouTube. And yes, we do the material here in my house, too.


  2. Good memories are forever! or at least until you can't remember anymore.

  3. Love Jeff Dunham and all of his characters! Hillarious! What a nice family memory!