After a slow start, showing you why Dunham uses puppets to get a laugh, things kick into high gear in Beside Himself.


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After a slow start, showing you why Dunham uses puppets to get a laugh, things kick into high gear in Beside Himself.


Director(s) Troy Miller
Screenplay By Jeff Dunham
Date Released 9/24/2019
Genre(s) Stand Up Comedy
Who Is This For?
  • Ventriloquist Enthusiast
  • Zany, Sometimes Borderline Ridiculous, Comedy
Where To Buy, Rent, or Stream? Netflix
Noted Cast
Himself Jeff Dunham
Peanut, Walter, Larry, José Jalapeno, Bubby J, and Achmed Jeff Dunham

Summary/ Review (with Spoilers)

Summary

The basis of the entire show, which connects each puppet, is Jeff getting pink eye because one of his sons like to finger the dog. Thus setting up conversations about the #MeToo movement, sexual harassment, and more. Such as a new puppet, named Larry, who is a new employee of the Trump administration – 4 hours in to be exact. But don’t think this is an hour of bashing Trump, Dunham skirts around supporting one side or another. Instead, he focuses on sex, innuendo, and the puppets taking him to task.

Question(s) Left Unanswered

  1. Whatever happened to Sweet Daddy Dee and the other puppets we don’t see anymore?

Review

Highlights

Peanut & Walter

There is a reason Walter usually opens, and Peanut gets the most time on stage – they are the classics. On top of that, unlike Achmed, Bubba J, and the new puppet Larry, they aren’t trapped in a schtick. Granted, Walter is the old curmudgeon, someone who inspires Archie Bunker comparisons, but being an older man with a wife who gets on his nerves isn’t something he is trapped in. His jokes don’t solely revolve around that and he can, as he does this episode, talk about marriage, make jokes about Bill Cosby, and how he taught the kids to finger the dog – by accident.

Then with Peanut, he is just random and manic. He is so all over the place you can’t compare him to anything or anyone. Peanut is completely their own entity, and whether it is their sex jokes, talking in an effeminate way, or when Dunham drops Peanut, you can never assume what will come next.

Criticism

Jeff Acting As An Opening Act For His Puppets

To set up the entire show, specifically a joke about Dunham getting pink eye because of his son’s insistence on fingering the dog, Dunham has a 9:30 set at the beginning of the show. One which doesn’t warm you up as much as it tires you out for Dunham is the straight man to his characters. So spending that long with just him? It makes you want to fast forward since, clearly, Dunham can’t be a one-man act. Well, without a puppet anyway.

On The Fence

Larry, Achmed, and Bubba J

Above we noted Sweet Daddy Dee, and the question of where other puppets are? In my mind, Bubba J and Achmed need to join them in whatever puppet mausoleum they are in. Which isn’t to say the three puppets aren’t funny. It’s just, like how José has been weaned out of the act, or is combined with another puppet often, I think that needs to be done with these three. Bubba J especially for the dumb, incestual, red neck just isn’t that funny anymore. I’d even submit most of the jokes feel recycled.

Overall: Mixed (Stick Around)

While Peanut and Walter are on stage, it is a laugh a minute, and you’ll love how Dunham is variously expressing himself through both puppets. However, as he ventures towards skating around Trump jokes, being weary of using José yet having no issues with Achmed and Bubba J, you can see how even Dunham’s act can show signs of aging.

[ninja_tables id=”36677″]

Peanut & Walter - 90%
Jeff Acting As An Opening Act For His Puppets - 65%
Larry, Achmed, and Bubba J - 75%

77%

While Peanut and Walter are on stage, it is a laugh a minute, and you’ll love how Dunham is variously expressing himself through both puppets. However, as he ventures towards skating around Trump jokes, being weary of using José yet having no issues with Achmed and Bubba J, you can see how even Dunham’s act can show signs of aging.

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