Elmo sat down recently with BTS’ Art Vandelay to discuss his relationships with Big Bird, Kermit and the gang as well as the controversial video with Kate Perry
Art: Tell me Elmo, if I ask people on the street to name their favorite Sesame Street character, 4 out of 5 will say “Elmo”. For years though “Big Bird” would have been the favorite. Does this create tension between you two?
Elmo: Big Bird’s a real pro and when I started with the show, he welcomed me with open wings. Sure things are different. I don’t clean his nest anymore like I did at the beginning, and I guess he kinda took that the wrong way. Like I was you know, “getting to big”. Some of that leaked to the press and got blown way out of proportion, but we’re good now, real good.
Art: Do you guys hang out outside the set or pretty much business?
Elmo: We are both really busy. Me with all the toys and appearances and Big with all the ah, ah…anyway he’s got a lot going on. So no, pretty much just the set.
Art: So who do you hang with?
Elmo: Me and Grover will go out on occasion; we both enjoy sushi so try it a couple times of month. Herry Monster’s a lot of fun, and no one messes with us when he tags along. I have just gotten to know Jack the Boss. Let’s just say when we hit the town neither of us make it to the set on time the next morning.
Art: You didn’t mention “Kermit”.
Elmo: No, I did not.
Art: Anything to say about him?
Elmo: Let’s move on.
Art: Ok, so what about the ladies? If half of what TMZ reports, you must never sleep.
Elmo: You know you can’t believe the puppetrazie.
Art: Well, there has to be some truth.
Elmo: Look, like any other red-dyed puppet, I have fun. But, don’t look for me to kiss and tell.
Art: So the rumor that you’re the father of Leela’s son, true or not true?
Elmo: That’s been going around for years. Leela was the Indian-American owner of the Sesame Street Laundromat for one frickin’ season, 39 I think. We were friendly but that’s it. No idea how that got started.
Art: You have been extraordinarily successful with your line of toys. Probably outsell the other characters by yourself two to one. Does this create resentment?
Elmo: Early on, it did. I probably did not handle it very well. But that kind of success was new to me, took me some time to adjust. Now things are cool. Everyone understands my sales help theirs too, so its fine.
Art: Do you tire of people asking them if they can tickle you?
Elmo: Who wouldn’t after the millionth time? I used to allow it all the time but finally just had to invoke a “no tickling” policy.
Art: I understand you spoke to the Dough Boy, Pillsbury’s, to get some help.
Elmo: Yeh, I had read in an article that he had to have stomach surgery after getting poked so many times, and he too had to put a stop to it. We have the same business manager and he set up a lunch. DB said it was hard, you know that was his thing, being poked in the stomach and laughing. But he just couldn’t do it anymore. I figured I had to do something before I ended up under the sewing machine too.
Art: All right, let me ask you about the recent controversy over your video with Kate Perry.
Elmo: I thought it was great. Katy was awesome to work with and no, I did not think her dress revealed too much. I would have preferred it in red, though, but Miss Piggy has worn crap a lot more revealing and she ain’t got anything on Kate Perry. Plus, everyone saw her in it before we shot, no one said damn word. I didn’t even know it got cut till Oscar texted me that he read an article on the internet.
Art: What did you do?
Elmo: I immediately called up Carol-Lynne…
Art: Sesame Street’s executive producer Carol-Lynne Parente you mean?
Elmo: Yes, and told her I thought it was a Chicken$%# decision. She listened, but said the piece was killed, nothing more to do.
Art: She say why?
Elmo: Just the usual crap. Parent’s complained; SS has a duty to protect the kids.
Art: You seem suspicious.
Elmo: Look, if complaints roll in about one of our segments, we get them forwarded to us right away. It’s really important that we know our audience. I did not see a single complaint on the video.
Art: So what’s the real story? Who wanted it killed?
Elmo: There’s only one with the power to get a segment killed that quickly.
Art: Ok, who?
Elmo: I would rather not say, but do understand Miss Piggy was jealous over Kate.
Art: Are you saying Kermit had it killed?
Elmo: Not saying anything; just was very unusual.
Art: Well, I am sure the truth will come out sometime. Do you mind if we include the YouTube link to the video when we publish this interview?
Elmo: Not at all, it’ll be cool.
Art: Terrific, and thanks for your time.
Elmo: Thank you Art.