‘Sesame Street’ Katy Perry/Elmo Duet Video Deemed “Too Racy”

09.23.2010

The New York Daily News is reporting that a video of pop star Katy Perry singing a spoof of her hit “Hot N Cold” with Elmo (performed by Kevin Clash) has been deemed “too racy” and subsequently pulled from Sesame Street‘s official YouTube Channel.

Kevin Clash with Elmo. Image courtesy SesameStreet.org.

The video, released exclusively on the web September 20th, apparently received too many negative comments and complaints about Perry’s wardrobe, which consisted of “a low-cut yellow-green heart-shaped dress, a sheer piece of material covering her ample cleavage.”

The show’s producers have issued the following statement:

In light of the feedback we’ve received on the Katy Perry music video which was released on You Tube only, we have decided we will not air the segment on the television broadcast of Sesame Street, which is aimed at preschoolers. Katy Perry fans will still be able to view the video on You Tube.

We will not be linking directly to any video here on the blog (just to avoid potential broken links); however, dozens of YouTubers are (naturally) scrambling to get traffic off the controversy and publicity. Just do a YouTube.com search for: Katy Perry Elmo and you’re sure to find it.

In a bit of ironically related news, The Hollywood Reporter has an exclusive preview video from Sesame Street’s upcoming 41st season with a parody of the very adult, violent and graphic HBO series True Blood. Sesame Street (and Jim Henson productions in general) has never shied from spoofing pop culture even at the risk of alienating their core demographic from the joke. But like the subtle (and sometimes not-so-subtle) innuendo in classic Looney Tunes cartoons, there are some gags and references on Sesame Street that parents will laugh at but kids won’t understand until adulthood.

I don’t believe I can encode the video via WordPress, so here’s a direct link:

http://video.hollywoodreporter.com/services/player/bcpid6555681001?bctid=614605996001

Sesame Street has other preview segments for their 41st season on their official YouTube Channel, including celebrity guests Jason Bateman, Chris O’Donnell, Wanda Sykes and Colin Farrel, and two others which I must share here:

– Oprah Winfrey providing voiceover for an animated spoof of herself and her own show:

– Joseph “Run” Simmons (of famed hip-hop group Run-DMC) and Kevin Clash as Elmo as Steven Tyler performing a parody of “Walk This Way”:

And here’s a bonus video we linked to recently (for those who don’t follow us on Facebook or Twitter): Kevin Clash and Elmo visit Baltimore:

~ Craig Crumpton
Publisher, Voice Actors in the News

Additional source: Blastr.com


Kevin Clash Signs At KY Book Fest

04.19.2009

WBKO News of Bowling Green, KY did a very brief interview with Kevin Clash, voice and puppeteer of Sesame Street’s Elmo. Kevin made an appearance at the Southern Kentucky Book Fest to sign copies of his autobiography, My Life as a Furry Red Monster.

Video of the interview is available at WBKO.com.

And if for some reason you’re not able to get the video to load or the page is removed in the near future, here’s what Kevin had to say about getting to meet kids when he’s performing Elmo live: “They really don’t know me. They see me as somebody that’s carrying around their best friend, so they really don’t even acknowledge me half the time, which is fine with me. I think it’s really sweet. I get to be an audience to watching them talk with Elmo, so it’s really nice.”

Elsewhere, TV Guide goes behind-the-scenes for the filming of a Sesame Street segment which includes NBA star Kobe Bryant beatboxing with Elmo (performed by Kevin), and Elmo also appeared on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon interacting with guests Ice T, Morgan Webb, and even sings the Sesame Street theme backed up by the band which you can view via Hulu.com (fast-forward to the 22-minute mark).

Previous news: 3.29.2009 — Kevin Clash Upstages As Elmo.


Muppets/Jim Henson News Round-Up

04.06.2009

– I’ve done a pretty extensive update of my previous report on Jim Henson Exhibits in 2009. Several new links, events, and guest info has been added.

– The 3.29.2009 release of Follow That Bird: The 25th Anniversary Deluxe Edition includes a “New Interview with Carroll Spinney,” voice and puppeteer of Big Bird and Oscar The Grouch. Chud.com’s review of the DVD says: “It’s fun to see the elderly Caroll Spinney reflect on his work at Children’s Television Workshop. He remembers about meeting Henson and developing the Grouch and Big Bird. It’s great work all around and it stands up over the years.”

Fan report and photos from meeting Muppeteer Dave Goelz (via MuppetCentral.com).

LooseToon Blog by Steve Vitale reports on an Atlanta 2008 event featuring Dave Goelz and Steve Whitmire. Includes photos and video. The same blogger also reports on an earlier 2008 event featuring Jane Henson.

– Sesame Street’s Elmo (performed by Kevin Clash) will appear on NBC’s Late Night with Jimmy Fallon on Wednesday, April 15th. See The Muppet Newsflash for more details.

Additionally, Elmo and Abby Cadabby will appear Tuesday, April 6th on The Bonnie Hunt Show, which Muppet Newsflash also has details on, along with Elmo’s April 2nd appearance on NBC’s Today.

– The Jim Henson Company’s adult improv puppetry extravaganza Puppet Up! Uncensored has two live performance dates April 18th and May 22nd in Hollywood, CA. The Puppet Up! troupe includes several talents with voice-over credits (click here to see a previous report on the cast). Visit PuppetUp.com for ticket info.

Additionally, The Center for Puppetry Arts in Atlanta, GA is hosting a special screening of Puppet Up! Uncensored: Live in Melbourne, Australia on April 25th. Visit Puppet.org for more details.

And even though it’s not exactly on-topic with the voice actor theme of this blog, it *is* Muppets-related and it’s just so bizarre I have to share it… you must see these photos of designer Jean-Charles de Castelbajac’s Muppets-inspired clothing-type things at Paris Fashion Week via DailyMail.co.uk, InventorSpot.com, and TrendHunter.com.


Kevin Clash Upstages as Elmo

03.29.2009

You must watch this recent Associated Press video interview with British comedian Ricky Gervais and Elmo (as performed by Kevin Clash) and see how deftly Kevin’s quick wit and improv skills catch both Gervais and the interviewer off-guard.

Kevin published his autobiography, My Life as a Furry Red Monster, in 2006. The book received praise from both Muppets/Sesame Street fans and media critics alike, and more information is available on the RandomHouse.com official site. Also, check out these two YouTube videos with Rove McManus and Elmo both interviewing Kevin about his book.


‘Wonder Pets’ Danica Lee Interviewed

03.16.2009

Danica Lee, the 10-year old, twice Emmy-nominated cast member of Nickelodeon’s Wonder Pets talks with The Ashbury Park Press about getting to meet Kevin Clash (voice and performer of Elmo) and what it’s like being the voice of Ming-Ming on Wonder Pets.

Ming-Ming follows in the footsteps of Tweety Bird, another yellow bird with an unorthodox speech pattern. Ming-Ming’s lisp is played for laughs, as the duckling speaks lines too sophisticated for her years. “I never had a lisp; they actually wanted her to have a lisp,” said Danica of the show’s creators. “After a while, it became natural, so now I can speak in two voices, and that’s kind of cool. It’s also funny because Ming-Ming is supposed to be 3 years old and how would a 3-year-old know all those words, the vocabulary that I’m saying?”

It can be startling to hear Ming-Ming’s perky voice emerge from Danica Lee, especially for preschoolers who might think Ming-Ming is a real duckling.

Upon request during the interview, Danica tried out her Ming-Ming voice on a 4-year-old fan.

“This is sewious!” Danica cried. “We need to save the baby animals wight now!”

Her young fan seemed unnerved, and she couldn’t really grasp the concept of a “voice actor.”

“Oh, don’t ruin it for her,” [Danica’s mother] Lisa Lee said. “Let her enjoy the magic of it.”

Danica herself has been enjoying every bit of magic on “The Wonder Pets!”

“I get to do so many things I love,” she said, petting a plush Ming-Ming doll. “It’s so much fun.”

Click here to read the complete interview.