HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: Jeff Dunham's Very Special Christmas Special
HTS Overall Score:73
Nothing says Christmas better than Jeff Dunham and crew popping out jokes for the holiday. I was surprised when I saw the disc arrive in the mail and felt a sense of déjà vu wash over me. Hadn’t I seen this before? It seems a very familiar cover. Looking at the back I realized this was the same 2008 Christmas special that was released during 2009 on Blu-ray and DVD. Upon further research I realized that it had been out of print for some time and that this new release was a reprinting of that famous show in Wisconsin all those years ago. This was back in a time when Jeff Dunham was at his peak. He had just introduced Achmed the dead terrorist in her previous routine and the audience was going wild for the little dead puppet. His bank account was through the roof and his humor was still fresh and full of life. After re watching the Christmas special this weekend I came to the conclusion that no matter how many times I watch the show I can’t help but laugh hysterically at all the antics.
Jeff Dunham is a bit of an anomaly. He is a home grown comedian who’s done an incredible amount of work to get himself as popular as he is. He still is going strong with being the 4th highest paid comedian at over $19 million annually, but the man is a bit resistant to change and reinvention. Sadly that means he will most likely never be as popular as he was back in the first decade of the 21st century, but what was funny back then is still quite funny today. The Christmas special is easily the peak of his career when Achmed hit his stride and other fan favorites like Jose Jalepeno were pulling the audiences in like crazy. Jeff has always had his mainstays with Walter, Peanut (and now Achmed), but the main still has plenty of secondary puppets that he interjects quite a bit of humor into, especially in certain areas of the country. I come from the south west, where Bubba J. is a HUGE hit (can you guess why) and when Jeff came to Tucson years back he actually said he was shocked and amazed that the audience was yelling out EVERY SINGLE punchline for Bubba J. before he could. Same goes with the eastern audiences who fell in love with Melvin, but still, the top 3 draws for every show is in this order, Achmed, Peanut and Walter.
In this holiday special we have a lot of moments to laugh but Achmed literally steals the show. His whole segment of the special is filled with standing ovations, and cheering galore. There’s even quite a few moments where Jeff cracks himself up with his own jokes, especially the culmination of the act when Guitar guy (famed guitarist Brain Haner) and Achmed go toe to toe. Which brings me to the second best piece of the act, no good Christmas act can be without Christmas songs and guitar gives the musical accompaniment for Achmed to belt out some middle Eastern Christmas songs, like “Jingle Bombs”, and “Silence! I Keel You…Night”.
As much as we may love to gush about Achmed, there’s plenty of yucks to go around with the other mainstays and you can laugh along with Walter’s bitter and grumpy jabs at women, the youth and just about everyone in the world who does something he doesn’t like. Then we’re also privy to Peanut in one of his most over the top and politically incorrect acts ever, making jabs at everyone from Asian restaurant owners to making inappropriate hilarity about Angelino Jolie.
Jeff has never been a paragon for political correctness, and while there have been a BILLION other comedians who like to make their jokes filled with obscenities and perverse humor, Jeff takes a different politically incorrect route and while there is some swearing and crudity, the majority of his jabs stab the incorrectness of race, sex, age and the like which is something that most comedians shy away from out of sheer terror of offending those demographics. He’s always offensive, always funny and has the innate ability to make fun of himself at the same time, which gives Jeff one of the most uniquely bizarre performances as a comedian and gives us the chance to once again visit his best show on video.
Not Rated by the MPAA
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=35577[/img]The standard definition 1.78:1 mpeg2 encoded DVD is a bit rough looking at times, but still quite decent. It was shot in Pabst Theater in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, back in 2008 and the cameras used will give a pleasant viewing experience, but unfortunately one that is rather uneven. When Jeff is on stage and the cameras are pointing straight at him, the image looks quite good. Colors are solid, blacks are effectively deep and the only issue that really sticks out is the compression artifacts showed up, especially macroblocking. The inconsistency comes from the fact that the cameras liked to get close up shots of the audience and against the dimmed lighting in the audience the digital noise showed up rather obviously. Still, I can’t complain, the image is quite serviceable and for a stand up show it does nothing to detract from the overall humor and experience of the show.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=35585[/img]The disc comes with a 2.0 stereo track as well as a 5.1 Dolby digital track as well. Both are quite satisfactory to get the job done and the 5.1, of course, edges out the stereo track. The Dialogue is more centered, the audience can be heard a little more clearly and the there’s even a mild amount of LFE from the musical queues. The profanity is left bleeped out, unlike much of Comedy Central’s videos where the home release is uncensored, so that may or may not be a boon to you.
• Ask Santa
• Christmas Tips
• Sleigh Ride
• At the Show and the T-Shirt Bazookas
Jeff has always been a favorite of mine ever since I saw his YouTube vides of Achmed back in the “Spark of Insanity” days, and it’s with great pleasure that Paramount is re-releasing his out of print Christmas special for fans to enjoy once again without having to pull up blurry YouTube videos. I’m slightly saddened that the Blu-ray was re-printed as well as the DVD, but the show has never looked incredible in its high definition release anyways, so this is a minor nitpick. End of story, this is a must pick up for comedy fans.
Starring: Jeff Dunham, Peanut, Walter, Jose Jalepeno, Achmed the Dead Terrorist
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 MPEG2
Audio: English: Dolby Digital 5.1, English DD 2.0
Runtime: 85 Minutes
DVD Release Date: December 9th, 2014
Buy Jeff Dunham's Very Special Christmas Special DVD on Amazon
Recommendation: Watch It
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