Weekly Muppet Wednesdays: Guy Smiley

WMW Guy Smiley
Written by Ryan Dosier.

Performed by…Guy Smiley full
Jim Henson (1969-1990)
Eric Jacobson (2005-2008)

First appearance…
Sesame Street Season 1 (1969) 

Most recent appearance…
Sesame Street Season 43 (2013)

Best known role…
Sesame Street’s frantic, excited, multi-talented game show host.

Memorable quote…
“This is Guy Smiley, America’s favorite game show host!”

Guy Smiley is everyone’s favorite game show host who has worked on numerous shows on Sesame Street. His most well-known shows include “Beat the Time” and “What’s My Part?”

In the early days of the show, Guy Smiley was an integral part of the Sesame Street interstitial cast. Anytime a host was needed for a wildly out of control game show (that still educated, of course), Guy Smiley was the obvious choice for the part.

In his work on the game shows, Guy Smiley got to work with countless popular Sesame Street characters, including Grover, Count von Count, Cookie Monster, Prairie Dawn, Forgetful Jones, and Sherlock Hemlock.

Guy Smiley has also worked alone on a few occasions, performing a few musical numbers on the show. One of his best known songs is “Air,” in which he makes a song pitch to sell the listeners air–“But please don’t send us money, ’cause it’s absolutely free!”

Through the 1990s and early 2000s, after the death of Jim Henson, Guy Smiley has faded into semi-obscurity, only making a few scattered vocal appearances in Sesame Street computer games. His first real appearance after Jim Henson was in 2006 in a PBS “Ready to Learn” promo where he was performed by Eric Jacobson, and again in 2008 in a brand new street story with Gilbert Gottfried.

Guy Smiley has hosted a myriad of game shows on Sesame Street. Here are a few of his favorite game show hosting roles.

  • “What’s My Part?”
  • “Beat the Time”
  • “Here is Your Life”
  • “Name That Sound!”
  • “The Mr. and Mrs. Game”
  • “What’s My Letter?”
  • “What’s Prairie’s Problem?”
  • “Bring That Thing”
  • “This is Your Lunch”
  • “The Anything-in-the-World Prize Game”

Sesame Street could easily use Guy Smiley for countless game show parodies. Game shows are still very popular in the world of television today so there’s no reason that Guy couldn’t be used as a host to parody these shows. 1 vs. 100 is just asking to be done by Sesame! Eric Jacobson is also a great recast for Guy and matches Jim Henson’s enthusiasm in the role, so a lack of performer isn’t a good reason not to keep Guy Smiley around.

It would be wonderful to see more of Guy Smiley again… he fills the job of host, emcee, and salesman better than almost anyone on the Street. Guy Smiley is America’s favorite game show host, so why not bring him back into the mix?

The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier, muppetmindset@gmail.com

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