Why The Masked Singer's Jeff Dunham Was 'Really Happy' His Costume Came With A Puppet

Pi-rat on The Masked Singer on Fox
(Image credit: Fox)

The Masked Singer Season 8 is off to a bonkers start. We’ve already seen five celebrities leave in two episodes. Also, fans barely have had time to put clue packages together before figuring out which comedy legend or former boy band singer obsessed with that comedy legend is beneath the mask. It feels like the show compensated for that slightly by making the identities of some contestants a bit more obvious, such as when it gave Jeff Dunham’s Pi-Rat a small sidekick to act as a puppet. It might’ve been a dead giveaway, but Dunham confirmed to CinemaBlend that he was “really happy” it was a part of the ensemble. 

CinemaBlend had a chance to submit questions to Jeff Dunham, who was on vocal rest but willing to respond to inquiries about his performance via email. I asked the famous comedian how he felt about having a puppet as a part of his costume, and if he was concerned it made his identity too easy to guess. Dunham gave a surprising response, and confirmed he was completely on board with having his miniature rat as a part of the show: 

I don’t think anyone would have guessed it was me if I hadn’t been holding a character, and I’m sure the producers want the audience to be able to have a few easy ones … A game isn’t fun if you don’t win at least SOME of the time! So yeah, I’m really happy they created that character with a sidekick for me. Wouldn’t have been nearly as much fun for me or the audience or the panel without the little rat!

I have to admit that had Jeff Dunham gone out onstage without a puppet of any kind, I’m not sure I would’ve known it was him beneath the mask. Not only that, but his little friend provided some spirited backup vocals during Dunham's performance of Elton John’s  “Crocodile Rock.” Spirited as it was, it wasn’t enough to advance him past his initial performance (it could be karma for the terrifying Tim Allen puppet he had a hand in). In the end, Dunham was unmasked to The Masked Singer audience in attendance to cheers and applause (check out our full list of this season's other reveals here). 

If there was anyone in the audience who was unaware that Jeff Dunham was the face behind Pi-Rat, they received a massive tip that it was him thanks to guest panelist Donny Osmond. I asked Dunham if he was surprised The Masked Singer Season 1 competitor pegged him so quickly, and he confirmed he was. He also said he was thankful for Osmond’s kind response to his joke about the performer not doing anything without his sister:

I was CRAZILY surprised by that! And I mean he was FAST! I’m just happy he ran up on stage and kissed me rather than slapping me! LOL.

The former Peacock may have seemed enraged when he rushed the stage to confront Pi-Rat, but maybe he was just getting a little closer to see if it was indeed Jeff Dunham before guessing. In either case, Donny Osmond had the rare accomplishment of a guest panelist guessing the identity of a contestant, which happens less than Ken Jeong correctly guessing a celebrity’s identity! Perhaps he should consider a full-time spot on the roster? 

The Masked Singer airs on Fox on Wednesdays at 8:00 p.m. ET. It’s airing alongside a lot of new and exciting shows, so be sure to check out our 2022 TV schedule for a look at what’s on the way, and what shows are deserving of keeping tabs on as the months continue. 

Mick Joest
Content Producer

Mick Joest is a Content Producer for CinemaBlend with his hand in an eclectic mix of television goodness. Star Trek is his main jam, but he also regularly reports on happenings in the world of Star Trek, WWE, Doctor Who, 90 Day Fiancé, Quantum Leap, and Big Brother. He graduated from the University of Southern Indiana with a degree in Journalism and a minor in Radio and Television. He's great at hosting panels and appearing on podcasts if given the chance as well.