‘A Stranger in Paradise': Richard Hunt as a Kid

Today would have been Hunt’s 64th birthday. In honor of that, here’s another scoop from Funny Boy: The Richard Hunt Biography.

Howdy Doody and Bob Smith, 1948

Howdy Doody and Bob Smith, 1948

At just five years old, Hunt made a gutsy attempt at a television debut, a prescient predecessor to cold-calling the Muppets. He landed a spot in the kids-only audience of the Howdy Doody Show, at the NBC studios at 30 Rockefeller Plaza. His parents had gone to great lengths to acquire “the hottest ticket in television,” most likely through Richard Senior’s job at the networks. The “Peanut Gallery” seated forty kids between 3 and 8 years old: ten tickets went to a sponsor, four to the host, a few to each cast member, and the rest to NBC’s public relations department. “Hardly anyone who wrote in for a ticket ever got one,” admitted host “Buffalo Bob” Smith. Continue reading

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Brand new zine: Queen Elizabeth’s Purse!

queen-elizabeth-handbag

“Queen Elizabeth’s Purse” is a bright red, 50-page story of my 2014 trip to London – my very first time in Europe – to research Funny Boy: The Richard Hunt Biography. It’s a story about how to do things you didn’t think you could, and enjoy yourself to boot; or, how I learned to love London. The zine provides an inadvertent advance behind-the-scenes look at the biography, taking the reader along on six interviews with Muppet producers, writers and performers, as well as a pair of Hunt’s London pals. 17 photos and drawings. Bonus: Find out what Queen Elizabeth really keeps in that purse!

Order one on the zines page!

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Saturday Night Live – and the Muppets!

Richard Hunt and Jerry Nelson's daughter Christine clowning around on the Saturday Night Live set, 1975.

Richard Hunt and Jerry Nelson’s daughter Christine clowning around on the SNL set, 1975.

Did you enjoy last night’s Saturday Night Live 40th anniversary special? Saturday Night Live didn’t quite know what to do with the “Mucking Fuppets” (as John Belushi called them), but
their appearances in SNL’s first year were a great springboard for the Muppets to prove their mettle with a late-night, grown-up audience, thus paving the way for The Muppet Show! Enjoy this clip from 1975 — the sketch is opened by none other than Richard Hunt!

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Funny Boy: The Richard Hunt Biography – Revealed!

In honor of World AIDS Day, here are the opening paragraphs of Funny Boy: The Richard Hunt Biography. Enjoy!

Richard Hunt and puppet backstage at "Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass," 1974.

Richard Hunt and puppet backstage at “Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass,” 1974.

June 1970 found Richard Hunt feeling restless. He’d been out of high school for a year, trying on various ill-fitting endeavors. Most of his close friends were away at college. The Beatles had broken up. The world was changing rapidly, but Hunt was stuck in suburban New Jersey, reading about it all in the New York Times. Though bucolic Closter lay just across the George Washington Bridge from the city, New York seemed increasingly unreachable, as did Hunt’s dream of making it there as a performer. Continue reading

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The Count Writes a Haiku

Jerry Nelson would have been 80 today. I was lucky to know him.
Here’s my memorial essay, “The Count Writes a Haiku.”

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