There is no medium like TV.
With TV, you have a wide swath of programming to choose from. If you don’t like “24” you can change the channel to “Designed to Sell.” If “Mad Men” isn’t your thing, you can check out what’s going on in “Parks & Recreation.”
No other entertainment medium offers you as many high quality options as TV.
That being said, there is also all sorts of garbage.
“Jay Leno” runs for an agonizing hour of topical mediocrity, Seth McFarlane has an hour and a half of poop jokes and ’80s cutaway gags masquerading as social commentary. And someone is still watching “Desperate Housewives” enough to keep it on the air.
And now Comedy Central is in on the action with “The Jeff Dunham Show.”
I’ll answer your question now. I watched the pilot of the show, and it is the equivalent of shooting a hot glue gun in your ear.
I may be a little critical of Comedy Central.
Jeff Dunham is the most highly paid comedian in the world. His DVDs of him talking to his hand have sold hundreds of millions of copies and a video of him arguing with a racist puppet is the fourth most popular video on YouTube.
Of course, being popular doesn’t mean anything.
For those unfamiliar with Dunham’s shtick, the man has made millions by talking to his puppets, which each represent a lazy and offensive stereotype from a homophobic old man, a racist country bumpkin, a skeletal terrorist who takes pot shots at Muslims and everything in between.
Meanwhile, Dunham tries to play the straight man to the “jokes,” and what some may describe as “hilarity” ensues.
The show is more of the same. Dunham tries to blend his tired standup routine with more sketches and weird man-on-the-street moments of having his puppets interact with normal people.
Once again, “hilarity” ensues. The jokes are seventh grade boys’ fare, generally with a little borderline racist flair. None of it is funny, but it’s easy to see why the man is popular.
Dunham appeals to the same easily amused people that paid Larry the Cable Guy’s bills for what seemed like an eternity. None of the jokes are hard to understand – he wants the viewer to laugh at all the long-held easy targets, and lets them feel safe, because they are making fun of everyone.
I wish I could blame Jeff Dunham for how awful the show, and he by extension, is.
However, it is Comedy Central that is allowing it to happen. They have been so willing to bet on weird niche shows like “Important Things With Dimitri Martin” and “The Sarah Silverman Show,” but with “The Jeff Dunham Show” they are releasing low-quality racist comedy targeted straight at the same easily amused Jay Leno crowd.
But besides all of this, Jeff Dunham is not funny. And really, that’s all that matters.
Jackson Adams is a sophomore journalism major from Springfield. He is the assistant Voice editor.
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