Jeff Dunham says if someone told him to put his dummies away and just do stand-up comedy by himself, his life as a comic would be over.
"(If that happened) I would give up and go into real estate," Dunham said in an email message this week.
"It's easy to get lost behind the doll," he said. "People pay attention to the dummy and forget who you are or that you're even there."
But nobody has asked Dunham to stow his ventriloquism puppets yet, either.
Dunham returns to the Tri-Cities May 12 for another hilarious evening of comedy. And he will be bringing along all his favorite smart-aleck dummies including grumpy old Walter, Achmed the dead terrorist and his son Achmed Jr., redneck Bubba J, prissy Peanut, hotsie totsie Jose Jalapeo, Sweet Daddy Dee and Melvin the superhero.
Although Dunham has finally added a female puppet to his menagerie, she won't be making an appearance in the Tri-Cities, Dunham said.
"Diane was created for the movie Dinner for Schmucks, but she is not in our show right now," he said.
Showtime is at 7:30 p.m. at Toyota Center in Kennewick.
Dunham also has a new book out called All By My Selves: Walter, Peanut, Achmed and Me, which is on the New York Times bestseller list. The book recounts his rise to international fame.
Dunham has been a ventriloquist since he was in the fourth grade and made his first public appearance.
When he performed in the Tri-Cities in 2008, he nearly sold out the Toyota Center, and about 20 percent of the audience was made up of kids, said Jude Strode, marketing coordinator with the Toyota Center.
"And we never heard any complaints from parents that his show was too racy for kids, either," she said.
Tickets are $50.50 plus services charges and are available at www.ticketmaster.com or the coliseum box office. Tickets purchased at the box office avoid service charges.
*Dori O'Neal: 582-1514; firstname.lastname@example.org