January 4th, 2013

Ernie and Bert

YoB&E: Day 4--Reason and Rhyme

As promised, here is the reason why I'm embarking on my Year of Bert & Ernie project.

I got the idea, at least in part, from the book Street Gang, in which Michael Davis, at least once, refers to Jim Henson and Frank Oz as, "one of the greatest duos in comedy history," and I realized that that is totally true, and yet they hardly ever get any recognition as such. Oh, they get lots of recognition for other things--like puppetry and filmmaking and so forth--all of it well deserved, but they hardly ever get any recognition as a comedic duo.

I think there are two main reasons why that is: First, they were puppeteers, so I think a lot of people dismiss their work as being "just" for kids, even though relatively little of their collaborative work was intended specifically for children (Sesame Street being the exception rather than the rule). Second, they were probably the best puppeteers in the world in their time, so people tend to attribute their accomplishments to the characters that they played. To put it another way, you're probably much more likely to find Bert & Ernie or Kermit & Miss Piggy on a list of the greatest comedy duos of all time than you are to find Henson & Oz on such a list.

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So, there you have the reason, and we have the rhyme in today's sketch:

Ernie gets Bert to play a rhyming game

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