Friday, December 23, 2011

The Man Behind Elmo

I may be the last person in the world to learn this, but this man, Kevin Clash, is the muppeteer behind Elmo:

I listened to an interview with Clash, and here are the couple things I found especially interesting:
  1. There's something not quite right about the name of the toy, "Tickle Me Elmo." Clash (who wasn't consulted in the naming of the doll) remarked that Elmo never refers to himself in first person. It should technically be "Tickle Elmo."
  2. Muppeteers have to be fit. When they're on the set, they're covered in dark cloth and rolling around on these ottoman-like contraptions. To be able to pull off all the puppet movements while laying low, they apparently have to go through a regimen of crunches and sit-ups. Great images here.
During the interview, Clash morphed into Elmo a couple times. I don't know if this only happened during that interview, or if it always happened and I just had never noticed it, but when Elmo laughs there's a tiny twinge of a deep, low rasp at the end that is very much Clash's voice.