They say nothing is more face-slackening and dull than listening to a comedian explain why his routine works. Fortunately for my readers, I have no routine, and I’m not a comedian. I employ “the funny” on occasion, Both in my writing and in conversation. Rather than go into a drawn-out essay on my take on humor, I’ll give you a brief survey of things that used to make me laugh. I’ll write this in several parts.
I remember exactly one television show before the age of 10 that gave me any reaction other than terrify me (Land of the Lost, The Wizard of Oz), fascinate me (Little House on the Prairie, Swiss Family Robinson, Grizzly Adams) or compel me to watch because of the pretty mosaic of moving colors (every every cartoon, ever). Sesame Street had a sense of humor; especially the muppet skits, that I thoroughly enjoyed. The Oscar-and-Felix interactions of easygoing Ernie and uptight Bert were a constant source of interactive humor, as well as Grover‘s manic happiness and Cookie Monster‘s one-track mind and bad grammar. Kermit the Frog‘s earnest failure at every attempt at Sesame Street news. I realize now, that I was really laughing at Muppeteers Frank Oz and Jim Henson, whose scripted silliness often had ad-libbed inserts that made everything seem more realistic. It’s interesting: Kukla, Fran & Ollie was a puppet show in my young mind. Just cloth stand-ins trying to make a point. But the Muppets, to this day, are real as the person who sits next to me at work (maybe more so. She’s a librarian and God knows what a menace *we* are to the construct of reality). The Muppet show did the same, when they begain airing when I was 8: Animal, Beaker, Statler and Waldorf (the hecklers) and (my personal favorite) the Swedish Chef, were all distinct personalities. They weren’t simply cloth constructs with ping pong ball eyes.
Here is the first appearance of cookie monster, for an IBM. Note that the original cookie monster had *teeth*! Cookie’s voice acting was done by Jim Henson, and not Frank Oz.
And here is my favorite new Muppet creation: Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody.
One last clip. I *do* love me some Muppets! Yoda isn’t from the original cast by any means, but he was most definitely created by Jim Henson, and voiced by Frank Oz. Enjoy 🙂