#844 Celebrities on Sesame Street

Celebrities tell you how to get, how to get to Sesame Street.

Let’s count down 15 of the best walk-ons:

15. REM’s monster mash. In just over three minutes, Michael Stipe and friends take us on an emotional roller-coaster with Furry, Happy Monsters, a cover of their own Shiny, Happy People, televised in 2000. Watch the monsters mosh happily, cry sappily, and then bring it all back with a booming grand finale.

14. James Taylor’s Jelly Man Kelly. In this classic clip from 1979, folksy James Taylor sings a campfire tune with the help of some enthusiastic kids and a big guy on a big tuba. He turned out to be a Sesame Street regular, also dueting with Oscar in That Grouchy Face (a spoof of That Smiling Face), and singing Up On The Roof, up on a roof.

13. Feist teaches counting basics. Singer-songwriter Feist does a walk-on in August, 2008 teaching kids to count to four. “1-2-3-4, monsters walking ‘cross the floor. I love coun-ting, counting to the number four.”

12. Overruling Law & Order. File this one away in the dusty trivia bin in your brain: Sesame Street and Law and Order actually share a studio in Queens, New York. Yeah, seriously. As a result, many actors in each show have done cameos in the other. Sesame Street upped the ante in 2006 when it debuted the Special Letter Unit spoof. Watch it and you’ll be saying “chung chung” forever.

11. R2-D2 and C-3PO on love. Our favorite intergalactic comedy duo does a touching segment on The Street in 1980. After chasing stormtroopers across the galaxy, it seems R2 is looking for love in all the wrong places. Good thing 3po is there to offer some sage advice.

10. Larry King phones one in. In an Abbott and Costello-esque routine from 2004, Larry King hosts the Letter W and takes callers from Wabasha, Wichita, and Wala Wala. Worth it for the crooked glasses and messy hair at the end.

9. Norah Jones missing her Y. Norah Jones sings a sad cover of Don’t Know Why in 2004, where she talks about how her Letter of the Day pal ‘Y’ failed to show up when he said he would. Seems she’s taking it pretty personally, too. “We used spelled great words together. Now I can’t spell ‘anything.‘”

8. Neil Patrick Harris as The Shoe Fairy. In this acid-inspired showtune sing-a-long from August, 2008, Doogie Howser floats and flies around Sesame Street snapping and popping pairs of possessed shoes onto everybody’s feet. Keep an eye out for the Doctor or you may find yourself bowling melons or mopping sidewalks with your feet. If you want to skip the plot buildup, scroll a few minutes into this clip for the jazzy number.

7. Robert De Niro on how to be an actor. Bob pokes fun at himself and pretends to be a dog and a cabbage while teaching Elmo about acting. Features the classic De Niro line “Hey, look at me, I’m a cabbage. Good source of riboflavin.”

6. Tony Bennett crooning with Big Bird. In 1998, Tony sings about Slimey the Worm’s heart-wrenching voyage to the moon in a Fly Me To The Moon cover. And hey, if you like this one, be sure to check out his 1995 walk-on song about how big the little things in life can be. Tony, we’re right there with you, buddy.

5. Robin Williams goes nuts. In a classic Robin Williams moment in 2000, he plays almost fifteen characters in just over a minute to teach Elmo about what he can do with a stick. It’s a short, captivating bit showing the magic of imagination. Just try to focus on that, not his shirt.

4. Stevie Wonder jamming in the Street. An old 1973 street party clip featuring Stevie Wonder and his band jamming Superstition with a pile of kids dancing on the fire escape. A spinning six minutes from over thirty-five years ago.

3. James Blunt crying about geometry. In a great parody of his popular tune You’re beautiful, James tears up as he wistfully mourns his long lost triangular love. Watch as his mournful memories cut to smoky scenes from the discotheque and when Telly Monster chimes in with a great line about the hypotenuse. Math jokes at their finest, people.

2. Johnny Cash and Birdy Big. The Man in Black put in a few classic Sesame Street guest appearances over the years, but perhaps none finer than this dusty, warbly 1992 cover of Don’t Take Your Guns To Town featuring Big Bird as the lonely cowboy.

1. Andrea Bocelli sings Elmo to sleep. Your heart might melt a bit over this soaring 2005 lullaby as long as you aren’t creeped out by the grizzled, crooning tenor hanging out at Elmo’s bedside. A classic scene about enjoying tomorrow.

Hard as it may be to believe, Sesame Street is now ramping up to nearly forty seasons on the boob tube. Yes, Big Bird has proven Mr. Snuffleupagus exists, Oscar’s mellowed out a little, and even though the Cookie Monster still loves cookies, he now considers them a Sometimes Food.

For kids and parents alike, there’s something special about seeing celebrities cool it down a notch, ham it up a notch, and just let themselves hang out there on daytime television. Because maybe these celebrity appearances just remind us all of sunny days, sweeping the, clouds away. They take us away, to where that air is sweet.

And they help us all forget, forget life without Sesame Street.

AWESOME!

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Come and play

Photo from: here

93 thoughts on “#844 Celebrities on Sesame Street

  1. If it was a tad more cynical and titled “The 15 most Ridiculous Attempts to Impress People that Dont Know Who You Are!” I would say this post would be better suited to cracked.com

  2. Oh Myles, I think you need a nap!
    Seriously, all these guests were on Sesame Street for the PARENTS’ sakes.

  3. What about Smokey Robinson doing “U Really got a Hold on Me?” I still remember that one from when I was a kid. Classic.

    1. My absolute favorite Sesame Street celebrity guest spot…I still picture it in my head every time I hear that song on the radio!

  4. Loved it! Love the muppets, love the music! Thanks for this, I’ve forwarded the link to a bunch of friends :)

  5. I second that notion! Grover was the nerdical hero on SS, I would always get equally excited to see him or Oscar the Grouch.

  6. If there is any celebrity appearance on Sesame Street that is etched into my brain, it is Patrick Stewart with the letter B doing Hamlet. “A B, or not a B? That is the question.”
    I have no idea why it’s always stuck with me.

  7. Awesome…though, Ben Stiller doing “The People in Your Neighborhood” is the best!

    And, San Carlos, it depends on what you call special–I’ve seen Yo-yo Ma on Mr Rogers.

  8. When I saw the title, I thought “Furry Happy Monsters!” and was immediately gratified when that was the first entry. I saw that episode when my daughter was little. We loved it!

    I’d like to think the author was inspired to write this post after seeing the clip for #8 (NPH as the Shoe Fairy) on my Facebook profile.

    But now that there is fact-checking on the comments, I guess I shouldn’t make any unverified claims.

  9. Hopefully I’m not duplicating the comments above in Russian (?).

    But I’m glad to hear that jdurley was already a fan of the NPH clip. NPH is a rare talent and totally AWESOME. I think there should be a whole entry dedicated to NPH. (Check out Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along-Blog if you haven’t already).

  10. If there is a future entry on “Actors who play themselves in movies to hilarious effect” then NPH should score high for his strung-out turn in “Harold and Kumar go to White Castle.”

  11. Its true, Mike. We’re just one big happy family here, and we can’t have any lingering rifts. That would be distinctly not awesome.

    Freedo is a new one though – hadn’t heard that before. Frodo? Sure.. Fettucini Alfredo? Definitely.. But Freedo is a first.

  12. #3 has been my favorite youtube clip for the last 2 years, absolute genius.

    And the only time that I have seen James Blunt and not wanted to punch him in the face.

  13. I think us first generation Sesame Streeters got gypped…not too many famous people on there.

    I did love the Muppet Show, especially when Elton John was on there.

  14. my all time favorite is James Taylor singing Jelly Man Kelly. still makes me laugh just as hard as it did 20 years ago.

    i know this is your personal list and you cant include every celebrity appearance, or the list would be far too big, so if you dont mind, id like to contribute a few of my favorites.

    ill start off with a bang.

    Grover’s Monster In The Mirror w/ too many celebs to count:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=maYnqbdo2jw

    Johnny Cash w/ Biff:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5M2v-pkSIQY

    Johnny Cash w/ Norrel:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2n-eWCEaC4M

    Oscar sings w/ Johnny Cash:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zWv9tWYHnIE

    and w/ James Taylor:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2uQa4dvrg1E

    James Taylor by himself and band:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dFUp2tPBZcs

    Carol Channing and Ssssssammy The Ssssssnake (this creeped me out so bad as a kid):

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0-UMlJhgQbY

    Lady Smith Black Mambazo and Kermit (one of my absolute favorites):

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RcpTCKOzJjA

    ^ w/ Paul Simon:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RCWkF6RpR7E

    Ray Charles:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NZJxL3PrrLM

    Ernie and countless celebs:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T3049TRLo5M

    The Spin Doctors… and some orange monster:

  15. This post absolutely made my day. First visit to the blog, and I love it soo much! good luck with the award thing!

  16. Hey, how about when the Goo Goo Dolls came on and parodied their song “Slide” with Elmo? Because that definately made my day.

  17. This has totally made my day! I started singing along with grover about 30 seconds into the wabba song, and it must’ve been years since i first saw it. Gotta love sesame street!

  18. Jason Mraz did a really awesome bit called “Outdoors” which spoofed his song, “I’m Yours”.

  19. I can’t believe you didn’t include this one:

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SMAixgo_zJ4&hl=en_US&fs=1&]

  20. I totally grew up on Sesame Street!!! Now that I’m going to have my own children, I’m hoping I can find somewhere that I can buy Sesame Street on DVD….pass the wisdom of “The Street” along ;)

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