Adam Hills is a Muppet Nutcase and I Couldn’t Be Happier

Okay so, I am in the middle of reading Aussie comedian Adam Hills’ autobiography Best Foot Forward and I just had the biggest fangirl moment.

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Adam Hills is not only my favourite comedian, but also my all-time favourite talent to come from Australia, so to hear that one of my heroes has the same obsession as I do about my other long-time heroes is both mind-blowing and incredibly gratifying.

In the same chapter Adam squees over meeting the Dalai-Lama, Adam talks about his appearance on the back in 2012. If you haven’t seen it, the clip is right here:

In this clip, Adam talks a little bit about what happened backstage after his set, but this new book reveals a lot more. For example:

  • Not only did Adam get a picture with Kermit, but he asked Steve Whitmire if he’d be willing to make a quick video for Adam’s daughter. Steve, being the nice guy he is, was happy to oblige.
  • Apparently the video they did together was ruined by the background noise, so Steve took them to a more quiet corner and did the video again.
  • Adam hanged around with Bill and Dave after the show and had a few drinks.
  • Some of Adam’s friends lost their collective shit when they realised who Adam was talking to.
  • Dave and Bill kept in contact with Adam after that and invited him to the set of Muppets Most Wanted.

So, the next time you watch MMW and get to the scene with Fozzie and Walter in the train compartment realising that Kermit has been switched out for Constantine, you’ll know that right beneath the camera, an extremely giddy Adam Hills was sitting in between Eric and Peter!!! Apparently Fozzie even wanted his opinion on stage directions!

In addition to that, Adam based a huge portion on his stand-up show, Happyism, on this experience and the cast of Puppet Up, including Brian Henson, attended one of these shows and invited him to perform with them one night!

I also had the pleasure of  seeing Happyism when it came to Melbourne and have watched the DVD version at least a hundred times. A few years later, Adam did another show called Clownheart. On the night I went to see it, I got to meet Adam after the show and fangirl over his interaction with the Swedish Chef for a few moments.

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I’m extremely happy to say that I’ll be seeing Adam again next month for a special show dedicated to this new book! If there happens to be a Q&A, you can bet your boots I’ll be asking about his experience at The Muppets Take the O2!

I’ll let you know how that goes when the time comes! For now, here’s a video of the sketch Adam and the Swedish Chef did together at the O2!

And be sure to check out Best Foot Forward ! It’s a brilliant book about a great guy and his story should be shared as widely as possible!

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A Short Message About A Year Since the “Ker-fuffle”

The fact that I didn’t post anything on the actual day should give you an indication about how I feel about it. To be honest, I completely forgot about it until I got the notification for a blog post from my friend Mary.

It’s been like that for at least the last six months. I’ll hear news about Steve doing Cons and merely think, “That’s nice. I’m glad he’s getting out and about.” Entire Con panels have been filmed and placed on YouTube. I used to crave content that contained Steve just being himself, but now, I see the videos and save them for another time.

Don’t get me wrong, I still adore the man with all my heart, but I think the title of “Whitmire Fan #1” applies to someone else and that is something I am perfectly okay with. I’d like to think the past 12 months have passed with me gaining a better sense of maturity. I’m not the same preachy, ‘down with Disney, boo the Henson’s’ fangirl I took such pride in being before.

Another transition I’ve made in the aftermath of the “Ker-fuffle” is from referring to myself as a ‘Muppet Fan’, to a more general ‘Jim Henson Fan’. Muppets are obviously apart of that, but in the absence of decent Muppet content (AKA content that I can enjoy from this side of the world), I’ve taken the opportunity to dive into other areas of Henson lore. You’re far more likely to find me down in a Fraggle Cave then the Muppet Theatre for the time being.

As I’ve mentioned many times before, all I have for Steve Whitmire is the hope that he is happy, healthy and enjoying whatever he is getting up to these days. He has mentioned new characters and personal projects during his Con panels, something I look forward to seeing for myself.

For those who were asking, I hope this satisfied your craving for my thoughts.

-Marni

P.S: Oh and while I’m here, I should mention that any permanent return to the Halibut won’t occur until at least October 5th. I have one last trimester at university until I can apply to graduate, so my focus over the last few months has been there.

‘Muppet Guys Talking’ is Like Coming Home

If you’re looking for an in-depth review of the documentary, I’ll happily send you in the direction of Tough Pigs and the Muppet Mindset because this is definitely not one of those.

No, this is something extremely personal that I finally feel comfortable sharing with you. You see, since the whole “Kermit Thing”, I’ve felt extremely disconnected from Muppetdom. It was a painful experience to have that safe happy-go-lucky illusion shattered and replaced with bitter arguing and general nastiness. The Muppets weren’t the Muppets anymore; they were something to analyse and scrutinise over. To defend and have my hackles rise up when people didn’t agree with my opinion.

I was a hypocrite; I preached about what was right and who was right for the Muppets while simultaneously becoming someone who should never be associated with them at all. And for that, I apologise. I’m sorry for being someone Jim Henson would be disappointed in.

And really at the end of the day, it always comes back to Jim and this documentary just reminded me of that fact. Watching these old friends gathered in such a relaxed environment, ignoring the cameras and crew around them, laughing and joking and remembering the wonderful things to remember….Jim did that. He started it and the people he left behind are continuing it because to them, it’s so natural and integral to who they are, as individuals and as a collective.

And I’m quite happy to say that it wound up transferring from them, through the computer screen straight into me. For the first time in months, I could just relax and enjoy the Muppet Performers for who they are and the characters they have brought to life. It’s a breath of fresh air. I can breathe because it feels right again. Frank, Dave, Jerry, Fran and Bill are (and my Frog is this corny to say!!!) the spotlights in the distance that showed me the way home.

Sure, I could happily go on and on about the great stories the Performers told, how great it was to see Jerry again (it truly was), how hard I laughed when Dave was mockingly impersonating Frank and Frank didn’t have a leg to stand on while defending himself, but right now, in the aftermath, I just want to reflect on the experience. It’s a bit like the first time I read Jim Henson: The Biography. If I remember correctly, in my review of the book, I remarked on how it was like I could feel Jim’s presence in the room as I read, like an old friend simply being there for comfort. This documentary felt exactly like that.

It’s a pretty good feeling.

I’m not saying I’m going to re-enter the fandom to the tune of exploding penguins and boomerang fish smacking people in the face as I saunter in. I think the best way back to the way things were is the quiet, reflective approach. Start with Sam and Friends and work my way through the timeline. I’ll catch up to how things are now eventually. I just need some time and a bucket load of Jim Henson’s patented Ridiculous Optimism.

A huge thank you to Frank Oz, Dave Goelz, Bill Barretta, Fran Brill and the late, great Jerry Nelson for reminding me why the Muppets mean so much to me: the people who created them.

Also, much love and gratitude goes to Victoria Lablame for conceiving the idea for the doco. And of course much love for the production staff. Awesome work guys!

Well, that’s enough late-night rambling for me! There’s only so much laughing and crying one can do before it’s time for some decent shut-eye!

Catch ya next time!

Marni

Steve Whitmire’s Steppin’ Out in Knoxville

So, it was announced a few hours ago that Steve Whitmire (you know, that guy this blogger just can’t seem to shut up about), is going to be making an appearance at Fanboy Expo’s Knoxville Comic Con this coming June.

From the Fanboy Expo Facebook page:

It’s not easy being green! Fanboy Expo is thrilled to announce that Steve Whitmire will be joining us for Knoxville Comic Con June 29-July 1st. Steve is known for voicing and puppeteering some of our favorite Muppet characters like: Kermit the Frog, Ernie from Sesame Street, Rizzo the Rat, Wembley Fraggle, and Beaker. Steve is brand new to conventions and is anxious to get out and meet fans. Get your tickets to Knoxville Comic Con www.fanboyexpo.com

As someone who’s been missing his almost weekly Muppet Pundit posts, I’m glad to see Steve taking another step in embracing the Muppet fandom. This certainly does seem to be the ‘Year of the Muppet Performer’ (I honestly apologise for not remembering whether ToughPigs or The Muppet Mindset coined that phrase first), with Frank Oz taking over Twitter with his adorableness and the Muppet Guys Talking documentary getting a decent amount of hype.

There’s really not a lot more to say about it for now until much closer to the date, but hey, now you have plenty of time to get planning for a great few days of fun stories and quite a few laughs!

If there’s anything to update, I promise you I’ll be on top of it!

30 Years of A Muppet Family Christmas

Michael Wermuth, Jr

A Muppet Family Christmas was first broadcast in 1987 and is one of the greatest Muppet specials, if not one of the greatest Muppet productions, of all-time. The special brings together the casts of the Muppets, Sesame Street, Fraggle Rock, and even a scene involving the Muppet Babies. It’s perfect for fans of the Muppets, Christmas, or both. And today we take a little look back at this awesome special.

 

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For those who haven’t seen it, Fozzie Bear decides to take his Muppet friends to his mothers farm house for Christmas, deciding to make it a surprise, unaware that she had planned to spend the holiday in California and had rented it out to Doc and Sprocket. Ma Bear ends up staying and having to make room for all the unexpected guests (and gets more and more unexpected guests) while Doc warms up to sharing the farm house with the Muppets. There’s several songs, running gags, and multiple plotlines – such as the Turkey who was invited by the Swedish Chef diverting the chef’s attention to others, Gonzo and the turkey fighting over Camilla’s affections (which doesn’t really resolve much – he meets her, then they feud but quickly get stopped, then they all sit together during the carol sing), Fozzie builds a snowman who comes to life and becomes his partner, but the biggest plot involves Miss Piggy, who didn’t show up with the others due to scheduling a photo shoot and shopping, getting lost in a terrible snowstorm while on the way to the farm house.

There may not be much plot focus (though I feel it has a lot more plot focus than previous specials starring the cast of The Muppet Show), but it doesn’t need a real plot. There’s so many memorable scenes and numbers included. Compiling a list of the top ten scenes from this special would be really hard because EVERY scene is very memorable. It’d probably be easier to make a list of the LEAST memorable stuff – and even a lot of that is memorable to me (let’s see, what’s least memorable…. How about Kermit sending the rats and chickens away from the kitchen and into the Swedish Chef’s bedroom? No, too memorable…. How about Dr. Teeth expressing how proud he is for being one of Fozzie’s weirdo friends? No, that’s too memorable… How about the way that one background rabbit moves his lips when sing… No, that’s too memorable…). But the greatest scene in this special must be the carol sing at the end, with a crowd of Muppets singing a medley of great Christmas songs – Kermit and Piggy sing “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”, Fozzie and his mom sing “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”, Floyd and Janice sing “The Holly and the Ivy”, and so on. And this awesome sequence lasts almost ten full minutes.

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While Fozzie’s mother had made a couple of appearances on The Muppet Show, this is the first time that she had a big part, and would continue to appear in a handful of productions following this. This special was the first time I remember seeing Lips (while my earliest memory of seeing the Muppets is The Great Muppet Caper, at the time my young mind could only remember a few scenes), the character stuck out to me, and as I was used to The Electric Mayhem having five members, I thought it was odd that they suddenly had his wild yellow guy with them (and he seems to show up a LOT in the background, probably more so than other characters). It was also my first exposure to Doc and Sprocket, and would take a number of years before I realized they were on Fraggle Rock (ignoring Doc’s brief line about Fraggles which I didn’t fully understand at the time). Now it may seem like every Muppet is included, but there’s plenty who are not. For a number of years I thought it would have been great if the special had long-unseen characters (like characters who barely made it past the first season of The Muppet Show or hadn’t been seen on Sesame Street since the 1970s) until I realized that this special wasn’t really a celebration of the works of Jim Henson, just a fun special combining the casts of the three main Muppet franchises.

One of the big deals of this special is that it’s perhaps the biggest crossover between Henson franchises (almost tied with The Muppets: A Celebration of 30 Years). This special has not had an official release or broadcast since Disney bought the Muppets in 2004, but is the lack of release or broadcast due to the heavy use of characters owned by Disney, Henson, and Sesame Workshop? The three companies seem to be good at cooperating when needed, and while Kermit used to have to be cut from a few Henson specials (hopefully Kermit’s re-inclusion in Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas means he can be re-included in The Christmas Toy soon), a handful of other Henson productions with Disney-owned characters have been released uncut, Sesame Workshop doesn’t seem to have any problems releasing Kermit the Frog segments from Sesame Street, and Disney has released a few Muppet productions with uncut appearances by Sesame Street characters. Hopefully Henson wouldn’t provide issues with the inclusion of Fraggle Rock characters (though Sprocket wasn’t cut from post-2004 releases of The Muppet Christmas Carol). Enough songs have had to be cut from the video releases – let’s not have to cut more stuff. But I have a feeling it just hasn’t been released for the last reason the majority of other old Muppet content hasn’t been released – and I haven’t a clue why. It also would have been great if there was a soundtrack album to this special.

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In terms of crossover, I feel they missed out on a great opportunity with the Fraggle Rock scene. They could have had more characters visit Fraggle Rock, it’d have been great to have had some of the Sesame Street Muppets visit, but instead, we only get Kermit and Robin visiting the place. It’s still a great scene, but it’d have been awesome if a large number of characters met the Fraggles. For years I’ve also thought it’d be great if the Sesame Street humans appeared and interacted with Doc (I also used to wonder if they worried about the fact that Doc was played by a different actor in certain countries – without wondering the same about Sesame Street characters).

Anyway, if you can only see one Muppet Christmas production, see A Muppet Family Christmas. If you can only see one Muppet production that’s not The Muppet Show or any of the movies, see this special. If you’ve already seen the special, you know you want to see it again. So here’s to 30 years of one of the best Christmas specials of all-time!

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Celebrating One Year of the Halibut!

Exactly a year ago, on a whim, I challenged myself to keeping a blog going on a semi-regular basis. The challenge came about because I had had the sad revelation that I had never really been able to stay committed to a protect for more than a couple of weeks and thought this could be a great chance to practice.

12 months, 63 posts later and here we are!

For those who may have been wondering, I called this website ‘Just for the Halibut’ due to it being one of my favourite puns made by Fozzie Bear during this song on The Muppet Show .

It goes without saying that creating this blog has been one of my best decisions yet. It’s my space to play around with my writing, share ideas and thoughts, review the films and TV shows I love and just, well, be myself while online. People can get to know me via my most expressive medium and in turn, I can get to know them through their comments and feedback.

I was going to write a long-winded post about what this blog means to me, but I think a short-hand recount will do just fine. Let me put it this way: the blog has already given me opportunities I never thought I would have. I was complimented by an author I admire, made friends and connections I never would have otherwise and most astonishingly of all, I got to connect with my creative idol. I wasn’t expecting any of that. Instead of getting bored with it after a couple of months, all of these strange and inviting events have kept me going strong with a passion I would be remiss to lose.

Before I wrap this up, there’s a few people I’d like to thank:

Sunny Eclipse: Thanks for being such a great friend and giving me great feedback when we talk! I especially thank you for your support during the whole Whitmire debacle. Things were falling apart, but we could help each other pick up the pieces.

Mike Quinn: You’ve been an amazing friend this year and I’m grateful for the support we were able to provide for each other when times were difficult during the Debacle. Thanks for your generosity in providing feedback for articles I was extremely hesitant about posting.

Mary Arlene: You’ve been wonderfully helpful and generous with your time with all of your responses to my posts!  It’s been a delight getting to know you these past few months!

(If you guys haven’t checked out Mary’s blog, you totally should!)

Jarrod Fairclough: You and I may have agreed to disagree on events from this year, but I still appreciate the time and effort you put into keeping The Muppet Mindset up and running. You’ve certainly set the bar high for this sorry slacker.

Anne Terri: Your input and participation is also well appreciated. (I promise to keep the cussing to a minimum!)

1000 Eyes (from Muppet Central): Your snarky feedback is more often than not exactly what I needed.

And thank you guys for being my loyal readers! I really appreciate your time and enthusiasm as I continue to stumble over the keyboard and try to bring you content you will enjoy each and every week. It’s been a heap of fun and I certainly don’t see myself giving it up anytime soon.

As always, you can contact me at justforthehalibut@yahoo.com for post suggestions, comments, feedback or even just to say a quick hello!

Always a pleasure,

Marni

I wonder what the next year is going to bring?

 

Late Night Nonsense: ‘What the F***?’ on The Muppet Show

It’s another one of those nights where I felt like posting something, but have a bad case of writers block. So instead of a post that (I’d like to think) is thought-provoking, here’s some super-screwed up Muppet Show moments that always leave me stumped for words!

This one in particular always makes me go, “OH GOD, JIM AND JERRY, WHY HATH THOU FORSAKEN US?

Rizzo the Rat: Radical Rodent

I never thought I’d ever be so anxious to see a rat again as I do Rizzo. He and I have had a very strange relationship. There are times where I’ve found him to be as annoying as Piggy, but if he’s not there, it feels like there is something very much missing. I generally find characters that fulfil Rizzo’s archetype to be intolerable, which makes my connection to him even stronger because I’ve been able to overcome all that in order to observe our similarities.

To me, Rizzo is the Muppet equivalent of that guy we all know who suffers from small-man syndrome in a very big world. Always upfront with everyone they come across, very snarky, very loud for someone their size, but at the end of the day, when confronted, they would much rather avoid the conflict. What I enjoy about Rizzo is that he more often than not breaks the mould with his open heart and loyalty to those who care about him. I’m quite happy to overlook his scheming and rather…ahem…ratty exploits with his family and other Muppets because I know he’ll always make the right choice in the end.

Tonight, I’m going to keep things fairly simple and share with you some of my favourite rodent-centric moments. I do apologise for not keeping up my usual posting rate this past week (that’s what happens when your birthday comes around!), so hopefully this will keep you entertained for the time being.

This is one of the only redeeming moments of Muppets from Space for me. The delivery of his lines along the timing of Rizzo being pummelled in the face with the boxing glove cracks me up every single time. I can relate to this kind of scenario. You go into something, believing that you’re too intelligent to fall for any tricks, only to discover that not only are you ill-prepared, but you’re going to get a decent ass-whooping for being so. Rizzo’s paranoia that second time around is 100% accurate. Doesn’t mean it stops him from making the same mistake!

It’s less than two minutes long, but this clip demonstrates everything I love about Rizzo. He clearly dragged Rowlf out there as part of a scheme to make a video that will upstage Tyson (let’s face it, Rowlf can talk and he is far more adorable), but gets distracted by food because…well…..pizza. Rizzo ends up completely missing the moment he had set-up to film, but that doesn’t matter because his friend just hurt himself. He immediately forgets everything else and runs to Rowlf’s aid. Even if he is a bit sketchy, you can’t fault the rat as a friend.

As a side note, I love how this clip was shot and I really wish the Muppets would do more of it. Not only is it cheap, it’s very inclusive and personal too. 

Is it bad that I wish Steve Whitmire had shot this at 2 o’clock in the morning while drunk off his ass? It just seems like something an intoxicated puppeteer would do.

This isn’t the full clip, but it’s still worth showing here. I really don’t have much to say about it other than I loved hearing the story from James Bobin about Steve sending it to him in mock protest. Rizzo really had taken a backseat during that time-period, so it was a relief to see him get some attention in the 2015 show. The clip itself is amusing and adds a lot of meta-humour to Muppet-lore with Rizzo pointing out that his character has been ignored.

Rizzo-bashing is best bashing.

I love this moment as much as the next Muppet fan, but I’m mostly adding this to the list as to not get a heap of flack for ignoring it. You can bet that when I watch Muppet Christmas Carol in December, I’ll be quoting it every 5 seconds until someone gets me to shut up.

I added this song to a previous list and it certainly deserves to be added to another. One talent that Rizzo shares with my beloved Wembley Fraggle is his fantastic scatting abilities and it’s a shame Steve didn’t get another chance like this to show it off (nor with any of his other characters). The scene is just….fun. ‘Rat Scat’ just adds to the playfulness of the happenings on screen. Who cares if it’s just there to show off some creative puppetry? It’s world-building off-set to the rhythmic ramblings of a radical rodent.

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Gah! I swear there was a clip of this on YouTube not too long ago, but I can’t find it!

If you haven’t seen this episode of The Muppet Show, Rizzo and the other rats decide to protest against doing a Pied Piper-themed skit with Jean-Pierre Rampal. If I remember correctly, it’s the children of the village that end up being musically exorcised from the village instead. This was obviously very early in Rizzo’s character development and he is just as much of a kid as Steve was.

(I swear if I ever find a clip of it, I will update this article ASAP!)

Crikey, how early in the 90’s was this? Kermit and Steve still had a lot of bonding to do!

There were better examples I could have used, but this will do because it explains my point better than I could write it out. Gonzo and Rizzo are only second to Kermit and Fozzie in terms of Muppet friendships for me. It was such a natural progression for these two characters to cover for the Frog while he was recovering from the loss of his performer. The Steve/Dave dynamic had already been tested and proven with Wembley and Boober, so of course, the Weirdo and the Rodent were going to work out just fine.

Just watch as these two effortlessly bounce off each other in this clip. It’s exactly what you want when representing a real friendship. You’re slightly irritated with the other person, but you put up with them anyway because you have come to the conclusion that they are worth the effort. Rizzo and Gonzo get each other in ways that outsiders clearly don’t understand. Rizzo is constantly baffled by Gonzo’s strange exploits and may mock them, but he’ll never completely dismiss them, because it’s what he loves about his best friend. Plus, it makes life colourful for a guy that grew up in the grungy, dirty sewers.

Sure, Rizzo also has a strong bond with Pepe, but it’s Gonzo who gets Rizzo on a personal level. Personally, I think Gonzo sees Rizzo as someone he can call his own. Like I said at the beginning of this post, the rat is a small guy in a big world. Gonzo is the only Whatever he knows, so he understands how it feels to be isolated from the people around you. By being friends, they compliment each other and make the other feel less estranged.

It’s actually a sweet thought to consider.

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Whoever has been chosen to take over Rizzo as of 2017 had better tread carefully because one slip-up could mean the end of our beloved rat as we know it. I may no longer feel anger at the current Muppet Performer situation, but I would be lying if I said that I am okay with someone picking Rizzo up. It’s going to be extremely painful so see him return, even more so than Kermit. If he has the wrong voice, if his body language isn’t as fluid, even if he loses the slightest bit of sarcasm, Rizzo the Rat will cease to exist.

He’s not like Piggy who was created from a joke, nor is he like Fozzie, who’s conception was based on the need to give Kermit a sidekick. His origins came straight from his creator. Steve wasn’t the user of a source for the character, he was the source and remains to this day. Rizzo’s backstory, wants and needs, dreams and aspirations, remain with him. Can a new performer pick all of that up and use it properly? Only time will tell.

You can re-tell a joke, but you can’t re-tell Steve. Simple as that.

So What’s Next?

Well, after all of…..THIS! I’ve taken the time to relax and ease any residual anger from the situation out of my body. At some point during this month, it will have been exactly a year since Steve Whitmire got the unceremonious shove from the Muppets, but I’m not going to make a big deal out of it for a couple of reasons:

A) Steve has confirmed that he reads my posts and I’m sure the ‘anniversary’ isn’t something he’ll want to be reminded of.

B) To keep carrying on about it would just be a moot point.

And C) I have my own selfish reasons for not wanting to think about it this month. The main one being that it’s my 21st birthday Wednesday after next. I remember the feeling of guilt in the pit of my stomach when I realised that while I was stuffing my mouth with cake last year, Steve was probably already going through the worst time of his life.

But hey, that’s all water under the bridge now. There’s not much I can do for Steve’s career other than to defend his position, and I’m still up on my soapbox preaching his Muppet philosophy. Like I said previously, I’m not churning out scathing, hard-headed articles anymore, mostly out of respect for the Muppet Performers who are still there doing their best. My beef is with the Muppets Studio executives, just as it should be.

Brushing the Muppets aside for a moment, I just experienced an absolutely horrid weekend, leading me to question whether or not my living situation needs to drastically change soon. Writing always helps to clear my head, so I thought I’d take one of my favourite subjects (though he obviously means a lot more to me than that) and have some fun coming up with suggestions for what Steve could do next.

Please bear in mind that these are just silly ideas and I don’t actually expect Steve to do them. While I would love for him to do some of these things, it’s all harmless speculation and brainstorming.

The Rocky Horror Puppet Show:

A puppet adaptation of an already silly-on-purpose musical, lorded over by Steve, would be nothing less than epic. Steve’s evidently a huge fan, so why not combine his expertise with his love for the show? He’s even close acquaintances with Rocky’s creator, Richard O’Brien, so finding a way to pitch the project wouldn’t be difficult.   I can almost imagine it: mostly done Avenue Q-style, but with excellent bunraku ( please tell me that’s what it’s called…) puppetry thrown in as well for numbers like ‘Sweet Transvestite’. That’s referring to a stage adaptation, of course. A feature film would be less likely, but still a heap of fun!

Plus, it would be awesome to watch Steve take on Riff Raff, perhaps even Frank N Furter!

A Book?

This is an idea that has actually been thrown around and suggested directly to Steve ever since he started Muppet Pundit and the high quality of his writing become obvious.

When I suggest that Steve should take pen to paper, I’m not thinking of him going down the ‘here’s a 700-page rant about why Disney’s destroying the Muppets’ route. I’m thinking more of the ‘my career has been pretty goddamn epic and here’s some cool-ass stories’ or ‘if you want to be a great puppeteer with strong characters, here’s how to do it’ kind of thing. Heck, even a straight out autobiography would be great, but of course, that would depend on how open he’d want to be about his personal life.

Lectures/Workshops:

Steve’s already done this a couple of times before, but now would be a great time to take it on the road, perhaps even internationally. There are hundreds of puppeteers out there that would kill for the chance to learn from someone who worked closely with the great Jim Henson, especially someone who has proven to have matched up to Jim’s puppetry talents.

Just to speak from a personal stance, if I were to attend a puppetry workshop held by Steve, it would be a huge pleasure and I’d give 100% effort, but I’d be even more interested in the lecture that would accompany it. Especially, if that lecture was along the lines of the ‘Sentient Puppet’ talk he did back in 2010. Reading through notes taken from that talk, there’s a lot that could be applied to writing characters for novels or TV shows and films (but that discussion is for another article).

Having Steve join the very few monitor-puppetry masters, who get out there and strive to educate the masses would only benefit the art form in the long run.

An Album:

Take a listen to this. I dare you to look me in the eye and tell me that you wouldn’t be able to listen to several tracks featuring that voice.

I love music with all my heart, but I must admit I’m not the best at determining what type of voice would suit what type of genre. This is the only sample of Steve’s natural singing voice I’m aware of and the most I can say is that it seems to lend itself to classic rock and maybe a ballad or two. With his character work, Steve’s done a huge variety of different styles, so he could do anything he wants, really. I’m just saying, it’s a shame we never got Kermit’s rendition of ‘I Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing.

Jerry Nelson’s ‘Truro Daydreams’ remains one of my favourite albums because it’s so genuine to who Jerry was. I have a feeling Steve would wind up producing the same type of gravitas through his own songs.

YouTube/Social Media:

This is probably the least likely out of any of my ideas, but I’m bringing it up anyway due to it’s possibilities. Steve starting up his own YouTube channel would be a great little creative outlet, providing a space for him to display snippets of his personal creativity, whether it’s a puppet-skit or something else entirely. Creators on the platform often use it as a means of getting immediate feedback while working on bigger projects. Just to use my Rocky Horror suggestion, say, if Steve wanted a general consensus on how excited people were about the project, he could release teasers containing footage from rehearsals or something along those lines.

As for social media, I’d never expect Steve to be tweeting every 10 minutes, or constantly posting pictures on Instagram, but it would be hugely beneficial if he wanted to promote independent projects. Simply posting on Muppet Pundit has earned him more attention over the past few months, more people are aware of his name and what he has contributed over the years. A stronger online presence can have it’s drawbacks, but it’s the quickest and most efficient way of spreading things around.

TV Shows and Feature Films:

I was fairly close to ignoring this prospect due to…well…certain controversies, but then again, I don’t see why the option would be closed off to Steve. He’s a world class performer and just because Disney, Henson and Sesame can’t/ don’t (want to) have anything to do with him doesn’t mean other companies can’t pick Steve up for something. The problem is, puppetry really isn’t that prevalent in the film industry unless a company specialises in it.

Lucas Film is bringing back puppetry and special eff-…..Ah, crap. That’s Disney again, isn’t it?

You never know, maybe one day Warner Bros will decide to do a film starring puppets that passive-aggressively mocks the Muppets and Steve could have a field day trolling the Disney executives.

If someone else doesn’t come up with the idea, it would be my pleasure to put a script together to avenge my favourite Muppet Performer.

In the end…. 

There’s actually a question that has been brought up a few times by a variety of different people: What exactly does one do with their life after being kicked out from their dream job and seemingly becoming shut off from film companies they have worked for previously?

I didn’t have a definite answer in regards to Steve, but these were just a few small ideas that have been stirring in the back of my mind for the past few months. I’ve said this before, but no matter what Steve does next, those who remain his fans despite all of this years chaos will support his decisions in the long run.

If there’s anything I can be definite of, it’s that….