Story by Gisselle Hernandez, Features Editor
Murray State students spent Saturday evening being entertained by a boggle-eyed skeletal terrorist, a grumpy retiree, a beer-bellied redneck and, for the first time, a drunk Irish baby, courtesy of the award-winning ventriloquist Jeff Dunham.
Dunham, who is known around the globe for the miniature friends he keeps close at hand, hosted a show at the CFSB Center as part of his “Perfectly Unbalanced” tour. The comedian has sold out stadium-sized shows and won awards for bringing life to the dummies fans have come to love – and relate to.
When tickets for the Murray show went on sale in April, some students were quick to get their hands on them. That weekend, the CFSB Center sold about half of the 7,400-odd tickets.
Wesley Hughes, assistant facility manager at the CFSB Center, said booking an act as big as Dunham took a lot of effort and persistence.
“It was a lot of being in the right place at the right time and knowing the right people,” he said.
With an almost sold-out show, not even the persistent rain could keep the throngs of people from filing into the CFSB Center to watch Dunham breathe life into fans’ favorite characters.
As people waited for the man of the hour, many fans sported merchandise from Dunham’s tour and shared their favorite characters with The Murray State News.
Lindsey Duncan from Bowling Green, Kentucky, drove two hours for the show.
“I have watched all of his shows and episodes on Netflix,” she said. “Peanut is my favorite – I think he’s the funniest.”
Dunham started off the show poking fun at Kentucky’s stereotypical love for deep-fried foods and altering his performance to match today’s trending topics. With the presidential election being one of the most talked-about headlines, grumpy Walter and beer-loving Bubba J offered their own thoughts on the matter, which sent the audience into fits of laughter. Dunham even introduced “Seamus,” a new member of the family, surprising the audience with a drunk Irish baby, something he said he had “never done before.”
David Evans from Louisville, Kentucky, whose girlfriend works for Dunham, helped the merchandise crew at the Louisville and Murray shows. Evans, a fan of Dunham, said his favorite character was Achmed because he’s “real.” When asked which character he related to the most he laughed and said, “I’m getting close to Walter.”
Dunham closed the show with the infamous Achmed, the dead terrorist, earning a collective cheer from the audience. The skeleton hosted a Q&A with questions submitted by Murray State students, his “blunt” answers sending people to buy miniature Achmeds at the end of the show.
Hughes said putting on shows with well-known people, like Dunham and Bill Cosby a couple years ago, are advantageous to Murray.
“It brings a lot of revenue to the city and puts people in hotel rooms,” he said. “It also adds value to what the students get to [experience] here.”
Update: The mention of the new character, “Seamus,” was added to the article.