Jeff Dunham and ‘Achmed the Dead Terrorist’ joke about chewing gum in first Singapore show

Nurul Azliah
Senior Lifestyle Reporter
Singapore Showbiz


Jokes surrounding the chewing gum rule, clean toilets and the need for humidifiers in an already humid country were some of the things that made over 4,000 people laugh hysterically during Jeff Dunham’s inaugural comedy show in Singapore.

Held at The Star Performing Arts Centre on Friday, the 52-year-old ventriloquist was in town as part of his “Disorderly Conduct” Asia tour, which consisted of only two stops – Singapore and Kuala Lumpur.

Dunham brought with him his star puppets (Walter, Bubba J, Peanut, Jose and Achmed the Dead Terrorist), but even before whipping them out of his hard-case luggage, he already had members of the audience slapping their knees with laughter.

Hailing from the US, Dunham kicked off the night with a solo stand-up where he gave a series of “test jokes” to figure out what would tickle the Singapore crowd.

He later gave insights into his personal life, sharing photos screened from a projector showing his three daughters (Kenna, Ashlyn and Bree), his really tiny dog and his parents clad in superhero costumes.

Dunham and Bubba J interacted with some audience members, one of whom was a SingTel staff, whose name Dunham could only pronounce as a monosyllabic slur.

This name cracked the audience each time it was mentioned, up until Achmed took the seat towards the end of the show.

Dunham appeared relieved that he was able to perform the puppet in its true character in Singapore, unlike in Islamic-state Malaysia.

The popular puppet, which mocks a dead terrorist carrying a Muslim name, Achmed, was not allowed to appear at his Malaysian show due to disapproval from the country’s government, Dunham shared.

The experienced ventriloquist was forced to improvise. He replaced the turban with a beret, added a moustache, and introduced the puppet as Achmed’s dead French terrorist brother, “Jacques Merde”, which literally translates to “jack s**t”.

Meanwhile in Singapore, it was surreal to catch the grumpy skeleton talk about “terrorising” the city with chewing gum, among other jokes, after all these years of watching the puppet via online videos.

His performance matched expectations of the audience, who roared for the puppet, especially when he gave his long-awaited punch line, “Silence! I Keel You!”

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