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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Norman Stiles, The Swami of Sesame Street

e67c57e1fb1218ea9227f7513c7c24f9Norman Stiles, Sesame Street head writer from 1971 to 1995, told me that Richard Hunt used to call him “Swami” – and after talking with him for a couple of hours, I can see why. Stiles comes off as a classic trickster guru, making you laugh but also making you think. We spoke about Hunt, Sesame’s halcyon days, what makes good writing, and about Stiles’ new project, The Baby and Toddler Parenthood News Network, in many ways a spiritual descendant of Sesame, in the last days of its Indiegogo campaign. Enjoy! Continue reading

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Muppet Biographers Unite!

Bn8CNy2CUAAC4-H.jpg-largeThis weekend I attended the Biographers International conference in Boston, where I had the privilege of meeting Brian Jay Jones, author of Jim Henson: The Biography.

The conference, held at UMASS Boston on the picturesque Dorchester Bay, attracted about 200 writers, editors, agents and other people interested in the craft, mechanics and morals involved in telling the story of a life. Quite inspiring!

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