I have shared with you some amazing experiences that have evolved because of my blog. Last week I did something very cool. I interviewed Elmo! Before Christmas, I told you about the upcoming release of Elmo Loves You, just in time for Valentine’s Day. Last week, several bloggers were given the opportunity to speak with the adorable, well-loved, furry red monster from Sesame Street. I so wish I had the ability to record the interview (check out Classy Mommy who actually did this!). Nevertheless, here it is…straight from the horse’s furry red monster’s mouth!
We started the interview with introductions. He had all of his mannerisms that you’ve come to know and love on Sesame Street. I did my absolute best to capture exactly what Elmo said! Here it is:
Me: Elmo, I heard you made a surprise card? Can you tell me who it was for?
Elmo: Elmo made a surprise card for someone special but it blew away.
Me: It blew away?
Elmo: Yes and I couldn’t get it.
Me: Elmo, can you tell me who the card was for?
Elmo: No. It was a surprise card for someone special.
Me: Elmo, can you tell me how you made the card?
Elmo: I used construction paper, and glitter, and crayons.
Me: Well, Elmo, where is the card now? Did you find it?
Elmo: The card is with someone special.
Elmo: Elmo sang with John Lennon and Trisha Yearwood and REM
Me: Wow….did you sing a special song?
Elmo: Elmo sang, “Elmo Loves You” and Elmo teaches you how to sign “I Love You”
Me: That’s wonderful Elmo. Can I ask you a few more questions? What is your favorite TV show, besides Sesame Street, of course?
Elmo: I like Spongebob Squarepants
Me: What else does Elmo like to do?
Elmo: I like to sing and play games
Me: Elmo, what do you want to be when you grow up?
Elmo: Elmo wants to be a teacher
Me: Elmo, thank you so much for taking the time to speak with me. Is there anything else you’d like to say?
Elmo: Elmo loves all of you very much!
Once my interview with Elmo was finished, I had the opportunity of speaking with the voice behind Elmo, Kevin Clash.
Me: Hi Kevin. Thank you so much for taking time to speak to me. I wanted to ask you a few questions if that is ok. Why do you think Elmo is so popular?
Kevin: Kids really connect individually to the simplicity of the character. They love his laugh and the fact that he is so positive. Elmo was created for really young kids. People realized that young kids, even younger than they thought, were watching. We wanted to create a younger character with the same Muppet edge and humor.
Me: How did you get started doing the voice for Elmo?
Kevin: I started building puppets at a young age, around 10. I incorporated puppets into school and did live shows in the area I was living in. My mentor knew Bob Keeshan who put me in contact with Jim Henson. I ended up working with Jim Henson and the muppet and then becoming a regular puppeteer on Sesame Street.
Me: What is it like being “Elmo”? Do you ever use your Elmo voice in “real life”?
Kevin: I don’t actually use the voice in real life. I went out with my daughter one time when she was young and she told someone at the store that her daddy was Elmo. I did the voice but they didn’t believe me so I stopped using it. I wrote a book called My LIfe as a Furry Red Monster and I am recognized more because of the book.
Me: What is your favorite part of your job?
Kevin: I am able to do something with kids and they are the best audience. I work on a show where I can give back to children. When 911 happened I was able to give back to the kids by entertaining them and helping them get away from the tragedy. I did the same thing when Hurricane Katrina hit. It’s an honor to be on the show. It’s humbling and a lot of fun. Children have these conversations with “Elmo” and I have the best seat in the world.
Me: So what is up next for Elmo and Sesame Street?
Kevin: We are in our third sequence of outreach programs. We produced a series of DVDs specifically for
military families. We’ve done some US show tours with sesame characters at military bases so kids can see their favorite characters and understand what mommy and daddy do in the military. We’ve also done a series of emergency preparedness DVD’s for parents and their children. Our next step is to create a series specifically focused on autism. Parents can get these DVDs for free directly from the Sesame Workshop site.
Me: Kevin, thank you so much for your time. It was an honor to speak with both you and Elmo!
That’s a wrap folks!