At the Daytime Emmys this past weekend, Kevin Clash once again took home the prize for Outstanding Performer in a Children’s Series for his work with Elmo. (Have you caught his documentary Being Elmo yet? If you haven’t, it’s a must see. Really. I cried my eyes out.)
One of my own favorite Muppet memories was catching the short-lived “Muppets Tonight” on Friday nights on ABC during their TGIF timeslot. (Did you guys love it too?)
In an updated version of “The Muppet Show”, Kevin’s puppet pal, Clifford, took over hosting duties. And not because he wanted to… (He had previously been seen in “The Jim Henson Hour” and “The Muppets at Walt Disney World” special — helping out the Electric Mayhem with his percussion talents in one of their WDW shows.)
See below how Clifford got the job:
Check out that monster cell phone!
I guess part of hosting duties meant singing the theme song. Catchy number, right? (Although not even close to the original.)
I also liked how he really wanted to pump up the cast… when they had literally not a moment of their show planned. Always a good way to start things!
While Clifford gained major responsibility as the host of “Muppets Tonight”, he did lose one thing: his trademark sunglasses. Apparently he decided to ditch the “I’m going to wear sunglasses inside” vibe for his new gig and opted to show off his face.
Doesn’t he look dapper in his vest? (But his lips remind me of Sebastian the Crab. Am I wrong?)
Sadly, Muppets Tonight only ran for 2 seasons. In later Muppet appearances, Clifford took back his sunglasses and was last seen in a small role in The Muppets’ Wizard of Oz.
While it might have been customary for Kermit to be the host at “Muppets Tonight”, using Clifford was a way to introduce audiences to a lesser known character. A bold move, if you think about it. As much as I adore Kermit, I was always ridiculously entertained by Clifford and now that he’s been absent from recent Muppet endeavors, I miss him and I hope he’ll make a return someday.
Hey, you never know.
(Image: Muppet Mindset.)