Everyone’s favorite junk food junkie has been at it since 1969, voiced for the first three decades by Frank Oz, the same muppeteer who gave life to those bosom buddies, Bert and Ernie. He’s undergone some major changes over the years – they yanked his pipe in the late ’80s to steer clear of any “smoking as muppet habit” controversy. More recently, with childhood obesity the hot topic in pediatrics, his chocolate chip munching has received less and less air time. If you hadn’t noticed, Cookie Monster’s gone a little fruity.
He told Stephen Colbert in an appearance on Comedy Central earlier this year, “Me not abandon cookies, me love cookies, but one cannot live on cookies alone . . . Cookie is sometimes food,” he told Colbert.
“Right,” the Colbert Report host answered, “because sometimes you have to pause to open the next sleeve of Oreos.” We knew that guy was someone we could hang out with. Although we’d have to share our cookies . . . which you don’t actually have to do with cookie monster. The monster mumbles a big game (in somewhat broken English), but have you seen him eat a cookie lately? When Oz was still the man behind the muppet, Cookie Monster chewed and swallowed – you even saw a bump in the throat as the cookie went down (classic example, his first meeting with the Count back in 1972, when that totaling Transylvanian tried his best to count the cookies before they were gone). Not anymore. Muppeteer David Rudman chucks ‘em over his shoulder while our kids aren’t looking or shreds them with his cookie ”fist” and just keeps making the classic “awwww, numm, nummm, numm, numm, num” noises for the fake out.
But my second-favorite blue monster (Hello everybodeeee, who doesn’t love cute, lovable Grover the best? He’s the cute, furry little monster and super to boot!) is still holding strong as the host of the Letter of the Day, and still keeping prissy Prairie Dawn on her toes. So he might be staring 40 in the face, so cookies don’t go down the way they used to. He’s still got his googly eyes fixed on years of eating and cracking up our kids.
Celebrate Cookie Monster’s birthday with a host of videos, some classic and some brand new, over at the new Sesame Street site. It share his birthday (today), his likes, and, of course, his favorite food. Any guesses?
Image: Muppet Wiki