Comedy has come a long way, giving birth to different styles of presentation. Jeff Dunham has managed to carve out a pretty comfortable niche for himself as both a comedian and a ventriloquist. The style he brings to the table has certainly won him some well-deserved attention and has even landed him roles on some really great shows. He’s been featured on Sonny With a Chance, Late Show with David Letterman, The Tonight Show, and Comedy Central Presents. Explore how he kicked off his career, the things he has been able to accomplish thereof, and details about his family.
Early Life and How Jeff Dunham Rose to Fame
Before delving into his rise to fame, it’s essential to know that he was born on the 18th of April 1962, in Dallas, Texas. He wasn’t actually raised by his biological parents; rather, Howard and Joyce Dunham adopted him. Jeff was just 3 months old when he joined the household where his father worked as a real estate appraiser and his mother was a homemaker. He happened to be the only child in their upscale Presbyterian home.
Jeff Dunham got started with ventriloquism when he was just eight years old. His parents are to thank for this as they gifted him with a dummy and a handy ‘how-to’ album that Christmas. It’s safe to say that was the point he decided to be the best ventriloquist ever. Jeff became a regular at the Vent Haven ConVENTion, an annual international meeting of ventriloquist right from when he was in sixth grade. This was so that he could further work on his ventriloquism skills. He stuck with ventriloquism all through college and even performed while he was at Baylor University.
It was not until 1988 that he upped and moved to L.A. to pursue a career in stand-up comedy. Not long after that, his appearance on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson catapulted him to the next level. After a handful of appearances on the show, as well as an array of performances, he was solidified as a hit.
Net Worth and Career Accomplishments
To fully appreciate the extent of his success, there’s a lot to look at. Jeff has been quite successful as far as comedy goes and even more so, in the case of ventriloquism. He has an array of successful shows and among them are a total of six comedy central specials. They are, Jeff Dunham: All Over the Map, Jeff Dunham: Arguing with Myself, Jeff Dunham: Spark of Insanity, Jeff Dunham: Minding the Monsters, Jeff Dunham: Controlled Chaos, and Jeff Dunham’s Very Special Christmas Special.
Impressively, Very Special Christmas Special was the most-watched comedy central telecast in history. Jeff went on to star in The Jeff Dunham Show, but it was not quite as well received. In general, he is a well-known comedian who has really managed to make a mark on the industry. He was referred to as “America’s Favorite Comedian” by Slate.com and is also one of the highest-grossing comedians in North America.
Even more impressive is the fact that he is the highest-grossing American comic in Europe. It’s not all words and titles, he also has tangible returns to show for it. Jeff has impressively sold over four million DVDs and over $7 million worth of merchandise sales. Additionally, his videos on YouTube have had over 350 million views. All this and more has helped him amass a standout net worth of $45 Million.
Facts About Jeff Dunham’s Wife and Children
Getting a little more personal, Jeff has been married twice. In 1992, he was dating Paige Brown and by 1994, the two tied the knot. He even went as far as adopting her daughter named Bree. By the next year, they had their first child together and named her Ashlyn. Two years down the line, they had another daughter and named her Kenna. Unfortunately, the pressures of the job and all his traveling took a toll on their marriage and it ended in 2008.
In 2009, he started up a relationship with Audrey Murdick, who happens to be a competitive bodybuilder, a nutritionist, and a personal trainer. They got engaged two years later and the following year, they got married. In 2015, the news that they were having twin boys surfaced and in October that year, Jack Steven and James Jeffrey were born.