Weekly Muppeteer Wednesdays: Joey Mazzarino

Today’s post was written by Tom Stroud.


Notable Muppets…
Murray Monster, Stinky the Stinkweed, Horatio the Elephant, Papa Bear, Blögg, Two Headed Monster (2003-), Bug, Goggles, Colambo

Joey Mazzarino set out to be a performer. When he was in college, Camille Bonora, a Sesame Street puppeteer, came into his class to teach improv. Joey, who was working at a preschool, recognized one of her characters, Meryl Sheep, and was impressed by her skills and job. She was impressed by his knowledge of the show, and said he could visit the set and meet Jim Henson. A year and a half later, Camille made good on that promise. Joey went down to the Sesame set, where he met Jim Henson, Richard Hunt, and the other puppeteers. Joey picked up a puppet, tried it out, and fell in love right on the spot. When he went home, he borrowed felt from the costume shop and made his first puppet. He practiced nonstop, and soon sent an audition tape to Sesame Street. Joey was soon invited to a workshop, which led to his job as a puppeteer on the show.

A few years after he joined the show, Joey came up with an idea for a sketch starring a black lamb puppet, “Colambo.” The lamb was the star and title character of the sketch, and this sketch led to a writing job on the show. Joey has become a major part of the show in recent years, performing the hilarious characters  Horatio the Elephant, Papa Bear, Stinky the Stinkweed, and his most major character, Murray Monster. Joey is now the head writer for Sesame Street, writing for the show and for specials such as Elmo’s Christmas Countdown and Elmopalooza.

Joey’s work is not limited to Sesame Street, however. He has also written for Bear in the Big Blue House and the original script for Muppets From Space, quitting after director Tim Hill made huge changes to the script, changing the ending drastically. Joey’s most famous role with the Muppets was as young Kermit’s friend Goggles in the direct-to-video movie Kermit’s Swamp Years.

The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier, ryguy102390@gmail.com

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