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Why isn't Kevin Clash given other roles?

Discussion in 'Henson People' started by beaker, Jan 5, 2011.

  1. beaker

    beaker Well-Known Member

    It's no secret that Clash is a master puppeteer, performer and artisan. Anyone who has seen Clash with Elmo in person(be it Muppetfest, the various Henson/performing arts appearances, or random events) knows that he has an uncanny ability and craft.

    A recent interview with a Sesame muppeteer confirms the level of Clash's ability and commitment:
    http://themuppetmindset.blogspot.com/

    Like Whitmire's inhuman marathon ability(such as having his arm erect for hours upon hours straight in a float or cramped space performing Kermit), Clash knows no bounds.

    Yet, why is Clash simply the "performer of Elmo". Yes, I've been chief among many people on here on the Elmo bashing. And we know Elmo has long been Sesame's top breadwinner, which we begrudgingly see as allowing more projects to flourish. So the time commitment to Elmo and worldwide appearances seems chief among reasons why Clash can "only be Elmo and noone else"...

    Yet surely with Disney Muppets or Henson or even amongst Sesame Workshop there must be other roles?

    Ok, this may be a not so subtle "bring back Clifford" thread, but I greatly miss the hip purple catfish. And I can only imagine what characters that havent even been invented that Clash could breathe great life too.

    Its been amazing seeing an endless trove of characters performed by Whitmire, Goelz(including a Muppet Goelz as seen in Stinky and Jake), Jacobson, Kennedy, Baretta, Brill, etc over the years...but who hear hasn't wondered what non Elmo Clash characters would be like?
  2. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    I'd tend to think the problem IS that he performs Elmo, and that's such a demanding job considering how much SS has to shove him in. Kevin is such an amazing performer and he has a great range of character... from hipster Clifford, to mild mannered Elliot Shag, to a perfectly believable Baby Natasha. But he does so much on the show, I'm wondering if he even has time left to be Elmo, let alone anyone else. Though, this season, he has performed a few other characters, the return of Natasha for one.

    There's too much work at SW and too much distance between New York and LA (where Muppet projects will most likely be filmed) for him to make a major Muppet character comeback. I'd expect to hear looped dialogue, maybe a brief performance as a puppeteer on SW's off season if he's not taking a well deserved break as far as the next project goes.
  3. dwmckim

    dwmckim Well-Known Member

    That's pretty much it. Kevin is pretty much "Mr. Sesame Street" - being the ubiquitous Elmo not only takes up much of his time but considering all the other behind-the-scenes stuff he does in regards to Sesame: directing, producing, training, international meets - the guy's pretty booked! Trying to do all this and working more with The Classic (Disney) Muppets - well, that's essentially become a Frank Oz before semi-retirement level situation in regards to schedules, calendars, coordinating travel etc etc.

    True, Kevin will always be primarily remembered as Elmo but his fans will also remember his numerous contributions to Muppetdom including playing the lead character in three major series (SST, Dinosaurs, and Muppets Tonight)
  4. Animal31

    Animal31 Active Member

    Or maybe he's just happy being Elmo, if it's not broken, why fix it?

    There are alot of actors/Performers who grew to hate the character(s) that made them special, Kevin on the other hand, seems very thankful for the opportunity that "threw" itself at him years ago! :D
  5. Canadian Fan

    Canadian Fan Member

    I liked Hoots the Owl when I was a kid, cool character. I also remember Kevin's version of Dr. Nobel Price more than Brian Meehl's version. You got to admit, kids love Elmo. I didn't mind Elmo when I was watching Sesame Street.
  6. dwmckim

    dwmckim Well-Known Member

    Kevin played Sam in VMX but it's been Eric Jacobson since. Clifford was last seen in MWOO (and if memory serves, Kevin looped the lines) and does seem semi-retired (sadly) due to Kevin's pretty much full time job with almost all aspects of SST.

    Hoots is an interesting one. Kevin doesn't do a huge amount of other characters on SST just because with Elmo used 95% of the time, it's hard for him to do/create other major characters because they can't easily interact with Elmo. Hoots went into a stage of not being used for so long that he reportedly had his picture included in a "Hall of Dead Muppets" in the SST studios which was a wall of long forgotten, retired characters - but Hoots has made a bit of a comeback in recent seasons. So he "came back from the 'dead'" as it were.
  7. minor muppetz

    minor muppetz Well-Known Member

    I'd like to see images or video footage of that wall someday. I wonder if there's a way of contacting Martin Robinson about showcasing it in the Sesame Family Robinson blog. But then again, it's sad that a wall of retired characters had to be called the "Dead Muppet" wall.

    Was Hoots even used last season? I think I saw him in the 2010 Macy's float but can't remember (I know that Herry, Alice, and Barkley were absent for the first time in years). I think Baby Natasha is still used from time to time, though I don't think she was on the show these last two seasons. I think I also read that Kevin performed the girl from "I Love My Hair" (though somebody else was the voice).
  8. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    I've said it before and I'll say it again... he does so much I'm surprised he even has time to perform Elmo as it is. Every so often you may just see him as someone else. Again, Natasha and one of the Dirtballs inc movers this season... sporadically others. Even if he is happy playing that one character, I feel like it's an artist that only paints the same thing over and over when he's capable of so much, much more. Of course, some of his best characters are associated with long canceled programs (Dinosaurs, Dog City to name a couple), and again, there's a big distance between LA and New York. Even if SS was in its off season and didn't need Kev for anything else, you'd tend to think he'd want to use a break from SS as just that, a break.

    It is a shame that we don't see Clifford, Leon, and the like anymore... but when you're busy, you're busy. Though I would love to see some of his other SS characters (and potential new ones) pop up in future episodes. I'd love to see more of Hoots and Natasha and the Grand High Triangle lover (who didn't even get to make his yearly episode this year).
  9. minor muppetz

    minor muppetz Well-Known Member

    It's a shame that Kevin Clash didn't even perform in A Muppets Christmas: Letters to Santa, since that was filmed in New York and featured a number of Sesame Street performers who haven't performed in non-SST productions in quite a while (though around that time David Rudman and Matt Vogel were starting to take over as certain classic characters and probably will become a big part of the non-SST Muppet family of performers soon).

    It seems like even if Kevin is busy with Elmo, he's still given other characters quite a bit, unlike Caroll Spinney who is more-or-less stuck with Big Bird and Oscar. With the show's current budget cuts, it's a wonder he didn't perform any of those additional characters in the "Do all creatures take baths?" episode where Oscar made a mere cameo.
  10. beaker

    beaker Well-Known Member

    Well speaking of which, the documentary about his life
    is one of the films getting the biggest buzz at Sundance right now:
    http://www.aintitcool.com/node/48070
  11. beaker

    beaker Well-Known Member


    All I know is they need to bring back Rosevelt Franklin:)
  12. beaker

    beaker Well-Known Member

    Or just time to be with his family and or relax. Again I cant wait to see "Being Elmo", as even though Ive famously said that I don't even acknowledge Elmo as a Muppet, I sure as heck respect the heck out of the man and his craft. I LOVE Hoots, Clifford, and virtually every other non-Elmo thing he's done. I'm glad I got to meet him at Muppetfest, and he's just in a league of his own.
  13. anytimepally

    anytimepally Active Member

    He would've been a good recast for Floyd.
  14. Canadian Fan

    Canadian Fan Member

    That's one character that should be brought back, and Kevin would be perfect for the role. They could also bring Same Sound Brown as well.
  15. beaker

    beaker Well-Known Member

    Some clips from the new theatrical documentary film "Being Elmo", about the life of Kevin Clash.

    Check out how professional even his early puppets were. Kevin coulda been working with JHC before he was even in middle school as far as Im concerned

    (various clips)
    http://vimeo.com/18966111
  16. Puckrox

    Puckrox Well-Known Member

    Oh man, this is great. I'm so excited for this movie.
  17. beaker

    beaker Well-Known Member

    Me too! This is the third theatrical full length Sesame Street documentary that has premiered at Sundance Film Festival in recent years, the others being "The World According to Sesame Street"(which is hard to watch in parts due to the subject matter), and "When Muppets Dream of Peace"
  18. minor muppetz

    minor muppetz Well-Known Member

    Has there been any news of a DVD release of "When Muppets Dream of Peace"?

    I read a review of it at Tough pigs today, and I'm glad to know that it has some clips of Richard Hunt as Elmo (presumably his Elmo is is heard more clearly than it was in Follow That Bird... and hopefully they didn't just mistake Jerry Nelson's performance from Monsterpeice Theater: Me, Claudias for Richard's, like they did in the A&E documentary).

    The Muppet Mindset had an article from somebody who saw it (I think the same person who talked about it at Tough Pigs), and he said that he was told that Clifford will appear in the new Muppets movie, though he wasn't able to give any more details.
  19. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    I don't like to say or play favorites, but Kevin's one of the best puppeteers they have on staff. I can never say enough about his range. It's a shame we'd never see the likes of Elliot Shag again after Dog City, though. That was one of my favorites of his. A mild mannered, yet slightly snarky cartoonist who talked to his cartoon. Why wasn't Little Muppet Monsters that good?


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