Jeff Dunham is known for breathing life into an over-caffeinated purple maniac, an old man, and a skeletal dead terrorist. In “All By My Selves”, this ‘ordinary’ guy describes his journey to fame while giving life to his wacky partners. Here's an excerpt.
I was pretty serious about my career at a very early age, and I never stopped thinking about the next way to move it all forward. Not too long ago, my three daughters asked if they could see some of my old yearbooks. I couldn’t resist so out came the annuals from Northwood Junior High and Richardson High School. The girls quickly noticed something unusual in each of my individual class photos. I wasn’t by myself: A ventriloquist dummy was sitting on my lap in every single picture, every single year.
“Oh my gawd, Dad!"
“That is SO EMBARRASSING!”
I offered what I considered a logical explanation. “I needed professional quality studio photos to help promote my act, but they were too expensive to have done. So I posed with my main character each year for my school pictures. The photographers usually thought it was funny. What’s wrong with that!?”
The girls just stared at me. Then they did the sweetest thing in the world: they went through my entire senior yearbook page by page and marked all the pictures of me and my partner ‘Archie’ with sticky notes.
As they got towards the back of the book, they opened it to a full page shot of me with a girl.
“Whoa, dad! Who’s THAT?”
“Archie”, I said.
“NO!”, they said, “THE GIRL!”
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Oh. In 1980, my high school classmates voted me and my friend since kindergarten, Christy Dutter, as “Most Likely to Succeed.” The yearbook picture recognizing that honor shows Christy and me sitting on the hood of a brand new, awesomely cool, Datsun 280 ZX. Seated between us was my dummy of choice at the time, Archie Everett. “See,” I said, “That’s cool.”
“You’re a geek, Dad,” Ashyln my middle daughter said.
“Can I at least tell you about the car!?”, I asked.
“It looks old”, Kenna replied.
“It wasn’t back then. And it was my fifth one!”, I blurted out.
“FIFTH!?”, Bree and Ashlyn yipped, almost in unison.
“Yes, that was my brown 280 ZX, and it was the fifth Z I’d driven the wheels off of in less than a year without having paid one cent. That story later. . . .
Achmed: What a good father.
Achmed: It’s so sweet how you let your daughters speak freely and look at books.
Reprinted from "All By My Selves: Walter, Peanut, Achmed, and Me" by Jeff Dunham © 2011 by Jeff Dunham. Used with permission of the publisher, NAL Trade, a division of Penguin Group.
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