Before he was a Comedy Central & Netflix star, Jeff Dunham was a Baylor Bear
With his sold-out performances regularly airing on Comedy Central and Netflix (and becoming best-sellers on DVD), ventriloquist-comedian Jeff Dunham (BA ’86) regularly ranks among the nation’s most successful comedians. That success likely comes as no surprise to his Baylor classmates, who saw his star beginning to rise back when he was on campus, more than 30 years ago.
Born April 18, 1962, Dunham had already been performing for more than a decade by the time he arrived at Baylor. Gifted a ventriloquist dummy as a child, he developed an aptitude for the art, and quickly put it to use. As a Baylor student, he began starring alongside his “friends” (the dummies for which he has become known) at fundraisers, corporate and civic events, and more. Before long, he was winning national talent competitions and touring whenever he had a spare moment away from class.
The work clearly paid off. Along with the characters he developed — like Peanut, Walter and Bubba J., just to name a few — he’s become one of the top comedians of the last 30 years. With a spot on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and hundreds of millions of YouTube views to go with the sold-out shows and highly rated Comedy Central specials, Dunham has been dubbed “America’s Favorite Comedian.”
Closer to home, he’s been recognized as a Distinguished Young Alumni at Baylor, and was chosen to represent the university as an ESPN College Gameday guest picker when the show visited Baylor in 2015.
Sic ’em, Jeff Dunham!