Last weekend, most of the internet celebrated what would have been the 75th birthday of Jim Henson. I wrote a small piece about what the man and his company means to me both as a film lover and a 26 year old kid, so I’m not going to expul too much more on my admiration for him. Let’s just say that I owe a good amount of my creativity to him and the entire Henson Company.
So, what better way to celebrate the man and the legend but by watching a saucy puppet show? But not just any saucy puppet show … an official Henson Company saucy puppet show!
If Sesame Street is the preschooler of the Henson family, Stuffed and Unstrung is the 20-something theater major who’s not afraid to start up the penis game in public. Using genuine Henson puppets-that-are-not-officially-Muppets (see the commercial below), the improve show was often very adult content, with the very first audience suggestion of the night being, “Sex!”
While some of the audience suggestions didn’t really help (a load of douchebags behind us kept screaming, “Jersey Shore!” even when the cast mentioned they just used that the other week and asked something new), host and Whose Line alum Patrick Bristow kept things together, and the puppeteers were all so great. Of course none of the skits from last night are online, but here’s the video that convinced me that I needed to see the show when it came to town (probably not safe for work).
Beyond the hilarity, maybe you noticed something else about the video … the puppeteers are completely visible. There are video screens on either side if you care to suspend disbelief a little more, which I did every once in a while to get the “Muppet Show” experience. What I loved was that we could watch how the puppetry works compared to how it looks on the screen. As a pure-blooded Muppet fan, it was awesome to see all of this. I just drank it in.
Something else that made me so happy were a few classic musical skits from The Muppet Show recreated live on stage. These were skits that Jim Henson himself first performed, so to see these quick TV treasures performed for us … it was pretty damn enchanting. It was like a little piece of my childhood came alive on stage.
It was in the second half of the show that I realized this is the very first time I’ve seen genuine Muppets (or “Henson Puppet-Americans,” if you will) live and in person. It’s really a dream come true. Fellow Muppet fans, if that doesn’t convince you, I don’t know what will. Stuffed and Unstrung is on tour this fall … go see it as soon as you can!