Tag Archives: Gonzo

In Memoriam: Ed Koch; Cool Old Guy First, NYC Mayor Second

Mayors, and politicians in general, usually possess the stereotype of being buttoned up, polished, careful with their words and actions. They’re not usually schlubby Jews with thick Noo Yawk accents and the kind of appearance that more resembles the Uncle at your Bar Matzvah who drinks too much Kiddush wine, commandeers the microphone and tells hackneyed jokes than the leader of the most influential city in the world. But former New York City Mayor Ed Koch, who died early this morning, defied those stereotypes, and many others. Indeed, had you presented a four-year-old me with a photo of our Uncle Morty side-by-side with one of Koch we would have been hard-pressed to tell the difference, and that, perhaps, speaks to his appeal and to his legacy.

There are two real cornerstones that shaped our youth and who we are today: The Mets and the Muppets. And Koch had a history with both of them. Before we every really knew Ed Koch as the outspoken Mayor of New York City, we knew him as a Mets fan, an old guy in a Mets hat who seemed to be of some import but we weren’t really certain what. Our first memory of the late Mayor is probably his brief appearance in the 1986 Mets music video “Let’s Go Mets Go,” popping up next to NYC luminaries such as Robert Klein, Howard Stern, Twisted Sister and Gene Shalit, seeming more like a crazy, die-hard fan than a political heavyweight. But Koch proved you could be both simultaneously, and few reveled in the Mets World Series victory more than Koch. You can accuse some politicians of feigning allegiance to their local teams, especially in times of triumph, but you can’t say that about Koch and the ’86 Mets.

Our other early memory of Koch – and something of a rite of passage for NYC Mayors – was his work with the Muppets, offering a cameo in The Muppets Take Manhattan. Certainly, a Muppet film taking place in the country’s largest city would require an appearance from its leader. But that much, a rote cameo, was somewhat perfunctory. What was special about this particular cameo was that Koch felt right with the Muppets, that his off-kilter brand of governing was somehow complimentary to the bizarre, left-of-center sensibility of the Muppets. They were, in a way, a natural match, with Koch even appearing in “The Great Muppet Look-Alike Contest,” a feature in a 1983 issue of Muppet Magazine, paired up with Gonzo naturally. And he was right at home sparring with Gonzo again in Muppets Take Manhattan. 

Twins.

We’re too young to have really understand Koch’s impact as Mayor of New York City. We think he generally did a good job, but that might be because we like him, because he remained a visible, outspoken presence in NY life. We’re not even familiar with his hosting turn on SNLthe third piece of the triptych that helped define our personality along with Mets and the Muppets. But we know that he was a fan of and a part of two things that we love, that are a part of our very makeup. And he’s also an integral part of another strand of our DNA, New York City. We’ve come to love this city the way that Koch did for so many decades. He was a quintessential New Yorker, a wise-cracking, tough-talking, bald-headed Jew who became Mayor.

Only in New York.

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Filed under Checks & Balances, In Memoriam, Intersection of the venn diagram of things that I love, Local Flavor, Matt Christopher Books

STOP THE PRESSES!

The Muppets is here and the Muppets are finally back.  Sigh.  We did it.

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Filed under Freak Out Control, Lady Holiday, Muppets, The Big Screen

Muppet Monday: Our Long-Awaited Thoughts on the Impending Arrival of ‘The Muppets:’ Or Why We’re Dreading the Thing We Wanted More Than Anything Else

In two days The Muppets will return to theaters after more than a decade away from the big screen.  It seems like just yesterday that we were salivating over the whispers of a Muppet resurrection orchestrated by Jason Segel (yes, that Jason Segel).  After spending years on the brink of obsolescence – thanks to bad business deals, changing tastes, the boom of CGI, and general Hollywood bureaucracy – it began to seem like the Muppets would never be given the opportunity to recapture the glory they once possessed, that they would forever be relegated to an aging, evermore antiquated attraction at Disneyland, and truly exist only on DVD and in the hearts and memories of people over 25.  We yearned for their return, and while we never imagined their savior would be a geek in shining armor like Segel, we were thrilled when the rumors began to circulate that someone who grew up on the Muppets, someone who loved and cherished them as much as we did, was going to resuscitate them.  Not some out of touch, graying puppeteers, or even the Henson family, but someone with a fresh, relevant perspective whose primary hope was to honor the spirit and style of Jim Henson.  We could not have been more excited.

And now, with The Muppets about to unspool at theaters across the country, what we feel is not excitement, but trepidation.  Why? Because of this:

Kermit, Miss Piggy

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Filed under Be careful what you wish for, Bert-n-Ernie, Flashback!, Freak Out Control, Muppet Mondays, Muppets, Saturday Night Live, The Big Screen

Muppet Monday: Don’t Call it a Reunion, They’ve Been Here For Years

In last week’s Entertainment Weekly (on stands now) the Muppets, as the cast of the Muppet Show, reunited to talk about their old show, as well as, most importantly, their upcoming return to the big screen with Jason Segel.  To be fair, it’s not like the Muppets needed to be reunited, as they’ve been pretty much working non-stop for 40 years (we’re also not sure there was any compelling reason to bring the casts of The West Wing, Will & Grace and Alias back together after like 4 months apart, but that’s a different complaint for a different blog), but any national magazine publicity is good national magazine publicity.

(click to enlarge, so you can see how they managed to sneak Mickey Mouse in the background)

And read the brief interview with Kermit, Miss Piggy, Fozzie, and Gonzo here.

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Filed under Internet Killed the Print Media Star, Mickey Mouse Club, Muppet Mondays, Muppets, Other people's stuff

Muppet Monday Movie Thought

Since we covered the big Muppet movie(s) news last Friday, for this Muppet Monday post I just have a brief thought/question about the Muppet-verse going forward.  In Muppets From Space Gonzo learns that he is not a weirdo or a whatever but an alien.  However, I never really considered this official canon (not that the movie wasn’t good, but just that I didn’t buy the alien explanation).  So the question is, as the Jason Segel-penned The Greatest Muppet Movie of All Time inches closer to production, will Gonzo maintain his alien status, or will it be brushed under the rug like Terminator 3?

*Indeed, Muppet Wiki entry on Gonzo notes that his alien origin has been disregarded.  Let’s see if that holds.

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Filed under Muppet Mondays, Muppets

Muppet Wednesday: Slow down, Muppets, I can’t keep up!

If Jimmy Fallon didn’t already have the planet’s best house band, I’d say he should hire the Muppets, because, as seen in this outtake from their pre-Christmas visit to Late Night, the Muppets don’t only do Christmas Carols:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Although, when I first saw the link I was hoping it was going to be this version of “One.”  Now, that would have been cool.

More Muppet News: Parades, Groins, Collectible Figurines!!!

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Filed under Mickey Mouse Club, Muppets, Virulent