Jeff Dunham’s new comedy tour includes a stop in Dayton

Published: Monday, September 18, 2017 @ 10:43 AM

Jeff Dunham controls (from left) Peanut, Achmed the Dead Terrorist and Walter. Or do they control him? CONTRIBUTED
Jeff Dunham controls (from left) Peanut, Achmed the Dead Terrorist and Walter. Or do they control him? CONTRIBUTED

Comedian and ventriloquist Jeff Dunham is bringing his cast of characters on the road for his 60-city Passively Aggressive tour, which includes a Jan. 14, 2018 stop at Wright State University’s Nutter Center.

Tickets for the show will go on sale at 10 a.m. Monday, Sept. 25 at the Nutter Center box office and www.ticketmaster.com.

>> The 10 arts events you will regret missing this season

Comedian and ventriloquist Jeff Dunham is bringing his cast of characters on the road for his 60-city Passively Aggressive tour, which includes a Jan. 14, 2018 stop at Wright State University’s Nutter Center. CONTRIBUTED

Dunham just released his latest stand-up special, “Jeff Dunham: Relative Disaster,” on Netflix this

month.

>> New owners have big plans for this Dayton comedy club

Dunham holds the Guinness World Record for “Most Tickets Sold for a Stand-up Comedy

Tour.”

Dunham will be recognized on Sept. 21 when he receives a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Adam Ferrara (reluctantly) headlines Cincy Brew Ha-Ha

Published: Wednesday, August 19, 2015 @ 12:00 AM
Updated: Wednesday, August 19, 2015 @ 12:00 AM

HOW TO GO

What: Cincy Brew Ha-Ha

When: Aug. 20-22 — 5 p.m.-midnight, Thursday-Friday; 4 p.m.-midnight, Saturday.

Where: Sawyer Point, 705 E. Pete Rose Way, Cincinnati

Cost: $5 (beer wristband), $1 per beer ticket

More Info: (513) 352-6180 or www.cincybrewhaha.com

“Somebody is getting a call now.”

Preceded by an expletive, this is Adam Ferrara’s reaction to the apparent news that the Cincy Brew Ha-Ha Festival, which Ferrara is co-headlining Aug. 20 to 22 at Cincinnati’s Sawyer Point, is outdoors.

“Comedy looks better with a roof and walls,” Ferrara went on to muse wryly.

In all fairness to Ferrara, he’s not the first comic to balk at doing the Brew Ha-Ha, our own annual comedy and craft beer festival. An open-air environment where voices are easily drowned out, where people are easily distracted and drift in and out isn’t generally considered conducive to a good stand-up comedy experience. But it hasn’t stopped the Cincy Brew Ha-Ha from being the biggest event of its kind in America. Ferrara is the Thursday night, Aug. 20, headliner, with actor/comics David Koechner and Brandon T. Jackson headlining Friday, Aug. 21 and Saturday, Aug. 22, respectively.

Ferrara is an Italian-American from Long Island, New York, where he said he initially used humor as a defense mechanism on the school bus. As a young adult, he had a resourceful method for breaking into the business.

“I had a car, and most city comics didn’t drive,” he said. “I would drive the headliner to the gig and be the opening act.”

Aside from his current stint on “Nurse Jacky,” where he plays a NYPD detective, Ferrara’s most visible acting roles were with Denis Leary on his critically acclaimed but short-lived early-aughts cop show, “The Job,” and later on the FX hit, “Rescue Me.” In both shows, Leary played a severely dysfunctional public servant. In “Rescue Me,” Ferrara played Chief “Needles” Nelsen, a wannabe hard-case who tries but doesn’t quite succeed at keeping order in the firehouse.

“I admired (Nelsen’s) humanness,” Ferrara said. “He was thrust into a leadership role before he was ready. He knew he was either going to define the moment or let it define him. He didn’t give up. That show was a great opportunity for an actor because you had to do everything: drama, comedy, slapstick. We did a Webisode where this character named Lou comes in with a sandwich. He gets up and leaves, and we all have to come in and take a bite out of the sandwich. Nobody said a word. It was all timing.”

On his Comedy Central special, “Funny As Hell” (also released on DVD), Ferrara frequently mined his family and ethnic heritage for jokes. Relationships are also a frequent topic, particularly the culture clashes that occurred when he dated a Jewish woman.

“Truth is funny, and falsity isn’t,” he said. “That’s the nice thing about an audience. It’s a great source of feedback. It’s like a giant lie detector.”

These days, he talks a great deal about his Woody Allen-esque experience of being a New Yorker living in the L.A. area.

“I live in Santa Monica, and I don’t fit in,” he said. “I’m a car guy, and I have this dual-exhaust, fire-breathing, 18-foot, 5-inch monster. I have three garages and it fits in none of them. Everyone else is driving Priuses. They tell me my car is bad on gas. I tell them, ‘no, it’s horrendous on gas.’ And by the way, if you’re on a skateboard and you’re over 20 years old, I’m aiming for you.”

As a known amateur car buff, Ferrara also landed a co-hosting job on the American version of “Top Gear.” As a fan of the original UK version, Ferrara was excited but apprehensive.

“When I was told about the American version, I was like ‘don’t screw it up,’ ” he said. “Then they told me they wanted me on it, and I was like, ‘I don’t want to screw it up.’ The producers were the same so I was comforted that it was basically just the mother ship expanding. The first day of shooting, I was told to go not to an office or dressing room, but to a parking lot. It was like a ransom drop.”

Needless to say, Ferrara’s repertoire as an entertainer is very diverse, though he says doesn’t favor one type of performance over any other.

“There’s no master plan,” he said. “Comedy is great, because it’s all me. Acting is a different form of expression that I enjoy, where everyone contributes. The second day of shooting ‘The Job’ happened the day after I went on Letterman. Next day, Denis comes in and kicks my chair and says, ‘I didn’t know you were a stand-up.’ “