Patrick Grieve
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Jeff Dunham Shows Off His Collection of AMC Gremlins to Jay Leno

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Jeff Dunham and his 1972 and 1973 AMC Gremlin on Jay Leno's Garage

Jay Leno “admires” Jeff Dunham’s classic AMC Gremlins

There seems to be a big crossover between comedy and car enthusiasm, with many comedians having a unique affection for certain types of vehicles. For example, well-respected comic Jerry Seinfeld is a well-known Porsche aficionado, Indianapolis-born late night host David Letterman loves Indy racing, buff UFC commenter Joe Rogan is obsessed with American muscle, and ventriloquist Jeff Dunham likes… AMC Gremlins.

No, not Gremlins, the 1984 comedy-fantasy film that sometimes airs on the movie channel AMC—we’re talking about Gremlins, the little-loved subcompact that the American Motors Corporation manufactured from 1970 to 1978.

And in a way, it makes perfect sense. After all, Gremlins are to cars what ventriloquism is to comedy.

Dunham showed off his pride and joy during a recent episode of Jay Leno’s Garage. Take a look:

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To be fair, Jeff Dunham’s Gremlin “collection” is really just two cars. The first is a green 1972 Gremlin, and the second, even “cooler” version is a 1973 special edition Levi’s model, complete with a denim interior that suits Jay Leno like… well, like one of his many pairs of denim shirts and jeans.

Jeff and Jay discuss some of he actually interesting history of the Gremlin, including the fact that the design was first sketched on an airline barf bag, and that the vehicle was introduced on April 1, 1970, as if to test the American public’s sense of humor.

And since it was meant to compete with the Vega and Pinto, two other frequently mocked economy cars, one could credibly argue that the Gremlin was the best of the worst. Which is why Dunham defends his V8-powered Gremlin as “the poor man’s Corvette,” to which Jay quips that it’s more like “the homeless man’s Corvette.”

But who knows? Maybe the Gremlin is actually a pretty decent car! And hell, maybe Dunham’s Achmed the Dead Terrorist character is a biting and insightful commentary on our current geopolitical anxieties, and not a racist, one-note joke that only plays well in front of xenophobic audiences!

Well, I don’t know about that last one, but… it’s at least worth debating, I suppose.

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Patrick Grieve was born in Southwestern Ohio and has lived there all of his life, with the exception of a few years spent getting a Creative Writing degree in Southeastern Ohio. He loves to take road trips, sometimes to places as distant as Northeastern or even Northwestern Ohio. Patrick also enjoys old movies, shopping at thrift stores, going to ballgames, writing about those things, and watching Law & Order reruns. He just watches the original series, though, none of the spin-offs. And also only the ones they made before Jerry Orbach died. Season five was really the peak, in his opinion. See more articles by Patrick.