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Behind the Scenes of the Taping of Jeff’s Special, “Unhinged in Hollywood”

Wow, what an incredible week we’ve had!  Last Wednesday, August 19th and Saturday, August 22nd were spent taping Jeff’s new special, “Unhinged in Hollywood,”  and I really do think you’re going to be blown away when you see it.  It’s ridiculously funny!

Jeff has been preparing for this special for many, many months now.  When he wasn’t on stage, he spent the majority of his time writing and perfecting the script, one word at a time. I couldn’t begin to guess the amount of hours he dedicated to this special.  He is by far the hardest working man I know!  But before we knew it, the first taping day had arrived and we found ourselves (along with 130+ crew members!) at the Dolby Theater in Hollywood.

This theater is unique and extraordinary not only because it sits right in the heart of Hollywood, but also because this is the place where the Academy Awards are hosted each year. Standing on that stage was really something…  especially since Oscar Sunday is practically a holiday in our home! The awe and magic felt when realizing all of the iconic moments and song and dance routines and acceptance speeches that had taken place on that stage by so many talented people in the industry was really quite indescribable.

We arrived early in the afternoon on the 19th.  As soon as we got there, Jeff and his production team met on the stage to start ironing out details.  Jeff worked with the guys on blocking, lighting, sound, prop placement and everything else that comes with putting on a big show like this…


And then later in the afternoon, Jeff’s guest for the evening, country superstar, Brad Paisley, joined Jeff and Walter on stage to rehearse their hilarious bit that was to be performed later that night…


Once all rehearsals were done, Jeff found solace in dusting off three of his cars that would be used on stage later that night.  Here you see him with the Achmedmobile, the Calico Surf Car and a his 1970 Dodge Challenger.


Eight o’clock quickly approached, and it was finally time for the show to start.  A packed house of fans patiently awaited for Jeff and the guys to take the stage…


(I’m so glad you managed to snap this photo, Judi!!)

Backstage, I kissed my sweet guy good-bye and wished him a fun show (as I always do!) Some day we’ll be able to show our twin boys these photos and tell them that they were there for the whole thing…


As Jeff made his way to the stage, I made my way out to the loading dock to take my seat in the production truck.


The production truck is where the director, the producers and all of the other behind the scenes pro’s gather to make sure everything happens the way it should.  My role was to follow the script and make sure that Jeff didn’t leave anything out and that he delivered each joke in a way that I think he would prefer.  I also carefully watched over his hair and make up, and the wardrobe for he and the guys… (Walter’s sweater can get bunched up every now and then!) I was honored to have this job during the tapings of Jeff’s two previous specials, “Controlled Chaos” and “Minding the Monsters” as well.

The show was amazing and hilarious…



When it was over, I was so happy knowing that we’d get to see it all again three days later!

But before we left for the night, Jeff did several press interviews, despite the fact that it was now 11:00 at night.  Although he was utterly exhausted by this point, he still managed to be has funny and charming as ever!


Jeff technically had a clear schedule that following Thursday and Friday. But regardless, he spent the majority of the time editing and going through footage from Wednesday’s performance.  No rest for the weary, I tell ya!

By late Saturday afternoon, everyone involved gathered at the Dolby theater once again.  Since all details had already been worked out, things backstage seemed much calmer this time. We met with some of Jeff’s close friends and managers, ate a little bit of salad and pizza and tried to relax as much as possible before that eight o’clock hour approached.


Before we knew it, it was time for Jeff to hit the stage again!


And as Jeff walked towards the stage, I made my way out to the truck to watch it all transpire for the second time.


Once again, the show was awesome!! We all cheered and clapped in the truck as Jeff nailed each and every segment of the show.


At the end just after he took his bow, he was sweet enough to invite myself and his three daughters, Bree, Ashlyn and Kenna to the   stage so that he could introduce the four of us to the crowd.  Bree had the brilliant idea of taking a family selfie while we were all up there…


Once the show was over, it was time to celebrate! We gathered with friends, family and crew backstage and toasted to a job well done by Jeff and the many others involved!



Jeff had been training hard in the gym and holding off from eating desserts for months up until today, but now it was time to indulge in one of his favorite things in the whole world – CAKE! And darn it, he deserved every bite of that giant corner piece he chose for himself.


We spent the rest of the weekend relaxing and celebrating and celebrating and relaxing….


But once Monday morning hit, Jeff and the team were back in the editing room, cutting and pasting together what would become the final edited versions for NBC, Comedy Central and the DVD. They’ll continue the editing process for the rest of the week.

I can’t wait for you to see this special!! “Unhinged in Hollywood” will air on NBC on September 17th, and then the Comedy Central version will air mid-November.




Hooray for everybody! Saturday was so much fun, and I was so excited when Jeff introduced you and the girls. You all looked fantastic!


Audrey Dunham

Thank you, Shannon!!


Sandy wummer

You are looking great Audrey. What an exciting time. I bet it was fun taping. Dont think most people realize the work that goes into it all. Cant wait to see the final result!


Mark Merchant

Congratulations on all the success! Remind Jeff that behind any successful comedy ventriloquist is a wonderful wife who refuses to be manipulated! (Just ask my wife Cindy!) G-d Bless both of you and the two boys inside you!
Mark Merchant


CS Calkins

ah, Audrey!!! What a TRIP you are!!! FAB job on your site!! DIG the updates! And when those baby boys get a bit older, you may want to cruise on by our vintage homeschool blog. LOTS of FREEBIES from the days of yesteryear for parents to download and enjoy with their babes. I would like to trip through your site once again. Are you perhaps planning on implementing a newsletter sign up sometime in the future to keep followers updated on the latest happenings you feature?


Conrad Hartz

So proud of you two! Thanks for elevating our art.


Patty Davidson

Thanks for sharing! This looks like a lot or work, but so fun! Good luck with the twins, Audrey! You look amazing!


Duane Echols

I’ve been a Ventriloquist for 57years, and I’ve seen many Vents who’ve attempted to raise the Bar in this Art…..Jeff has created a whole New Bar!!! Very proud of you Mr.Dunham!!


Larry colombo

Great article Audrey. Thank you for taking the time to publish this. I am very excited to see the TV version coming up. That Thursday morning will be like Christmas for me.
Motherhood is doing you justice as you still look great.
My best to the entire Dunham family.
Thanks for sharing.



Unfortunately I don’t get comedy central anymore, but I did watch nbc special and I <3 it he was amazing. Jeff is always amazing when I watch his shows im a huge fan . Congrats to u both on your beautiful baby boys. Have always wanted to watch him in person.



I just saw Jeff last Sunday on Valentine’s Day in Philly and he was Awesome. Just want to saw that Jack and James are really cute. I also saw Jeff last year in Vegas at Planet Hollywood. I watch him when he is on tv. My favorite puppet is Peanut. Take care.


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