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Jeff Dunham (born April, 1962) is an American ventriloquist and stand-up comedian who has also appeared on numerous television shows, including Star Search, Late Show with David Letterman, Comedy Central Presents, The Tonight Show and Sonny With a Chance. He is familiar to Comedy Central audiences for his three specials on that network: Jeff Dunham: Arguing with Myself, Jeff Dunham: Spark of Insanity, and Jeff Dunham's Very Special Christmas Special. Dunham also starred in The Jeff Dunham Show for one season on the network in 2009. His style has been described as "a dressed-down, more digestible version of Don Rickles with multiple personality disorder". Describing his characters, Time observes, "All of them are politically incorrect, gratuitously insulting and ill tempered." Dunham has been credited with reviving ventriloquism, and doing more to promote the art form than anyone since Edgar Bergen.
Dunham has been called "America's favorite comedian" by Slate.com, and according to the concert industry publication Pollstar, he is the top-grossing standup act in North America, and is among the most successful acts in Europe as well. As of March 2009, he has sold over four million DVDs, an additional 7 million dollars in merchandise sales, and received more than 350 million hits on YouTube (his introduction of Achmed the Dead Terrorist in Spark of Insanity is the ninth most watched YouTube video). A Very Special Christmas Special was the most-watched telecast in Comedy Central history, with its DVD going quadruple platinum (selling over 400,000) in its first two weeks. Forbes.com ranked Dunham as the third highest-paid comedian in the United States behind Jerry Seinfeld and Chris Rock, and reported that he was one of the highest-earning comics from June 2008 to June 2009, earning approximately $30 million during that period.
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