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TCA Press Tour: Not a laughing matter

July 29, 2009 |  1:19 pm

The journalists gathered at the annual press tour can be a tough crowd for comedians. Just ask Joan Rivers and Jeff Dunham.

Rivers and Dunham appeared Wednesday morning to promote their respective new shows, and both had a hard time initially getting a rise out of the writers, who often don't want to tip their hand about their opinions. Both comics were sometimes met with uncomfortable silences.

Rivers started out her promotion of her new TV Land reality series, "How'd You Get So Rich?" with a crack about wishing she were appearing in front of a room of plastic surgeons ("You should see my arms"). She received a few chuckles, but nothing more. A few other early jokes also did not seem to go over well.

Dunham, a ventriloquist who has scored with a series of TV specials, had an even tougher time when he attempted to poke fun at the writers. ("Would becoming a YouTube critic be a step up or down?") Aided by his surly dummy Walter, Dunham, who will be starring this October in Comedy Central's "The Jeff Dunham Show," appeared to sense that he was not going over too well. Said "Walter," "There's more tension in here than in Chris Brown's car."

Eventually, after a few rough moments, both Rivers and Dunham found their rhythm, and the writers loosened up and started laughing. By the end of their presentations, both received appreciative applause.

---Greg Braxton

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