Moving Up the Ranks

D'Snowth

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So this is something that's been intriguing me for years now, but it's only been recent discussions that have prompted me to make a thread about it. At any rate, something I've noticed about certain performers within the Henson organization - regardless of what they worked on (SS, TMS, FR, whatever) - seems to move up in the ranks pretty quickly after joining Henson. One thing I've also noticed about this, too, is that this seemed to happen moreso to what we would the "Second Generation" performers.

Take Kevin Clash, for example: he joined Henson in the mid-80s, and soon was not only filling in for some of the core performers for the physical manipulation of their characters, like for Jim for Ernie or Kermit on SS, he also already took on many major characters, like Elmo and Dr. Nobel Price; outside of SS, the character of Clifford was pretty much created specifically so he could have a signature character within the core group of Classic Muppets (Kermit, Fozzie, Piggy, Gonzo, etc). Plus, he also was already serving some behind-the-scenes duties as well as far as coordinating other performers and such.

Similarly, Bill Barretta seemed to quickly move up in the ranks as well, joining in the early 90s, and quickly getting work on DINOSAURS, but also having major characters on MT! like Pepe, Bobo, Johnny Fiama, even Clueless Morgan transitioning from MTI (same with Kevin and Polly Lobster); and much like Kevin, he too quickly began serving behind-the-scenes duties with coordinating other performers, and getting involved with the production aspects of Muppet projects as well.

One of the reason this intrigues me so much is that most Muppet Performers would attest to having to spend years having to right-hand, or perform minor background characters, before moving up in the ranks such as that (with Richard Hunt being one of the more vocal ones about it).
 

MuppetSpot

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It seems to me that both that Matt Vogel and Peter Linz started off with background characters until now where they have major characters along with doing the Muppeteer workshops for other countries.
 

D'Snowth

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True, but their moving up was a far more gradual process, as they've both been with SS since the 90s, but it's only been within the last decade or so that they've been getting more prominent roles in performances and behind the scenes.
 

MuppetSpot

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Marty was the luckiest person for the Muppets because he got a main character right away. Plus he would do a lot of workshops as well for new puppeteers.
 

D'Snowth

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Yeah, Marty's another good example of moving up really quickly (and I think that was one of the reasons Richard initially resented him).

What gets me though is that Marty's involvement with Henson was far broader than it ended up becoming: he's pretty much SS-exclusive now, but I remember way back when, he was the farmer in Bunny Picnic, as well as performing in other Henson/Muppet projects outside SS.

Similarly, David Rudman started that way, then he also ended up becoming SS-exclusive, but now that he's performing Richard's characters, he's branched back out.
 

LittleJerry92

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I find it strange why Richard got a main character on Sesame Street. Personally I think he could have been a good Telly Monster.
 

Oscarfan

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I often think about Rick Lyon and despite directly working with Jim on things and actually studying the art of puppetry, he never really rose to anything beyond the occasional one-off AM. And then in comes somebody a year or so after, Joey, who has no prior experience and within a year or so he's getting tons of speaking roles and even named characters.
 

MuppetSpot

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Didn’t Rick Lyon leave the Muppets/Sesame Street on bad terms? And I have a feeling Joey and him clash together.
 

D'Snowth

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Not to mention Joey came in as a writer as well.

And yeah, I think Rick was among the many performers throwing shade at Steve last year, strongly imply that Steve often threw him under the bus, and was responsible for him getting fired from SS.
 

vettech28

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I don’t know about that. Steve doesn’t seem like a person who would deliberately throw anyone under the bus.

But yeah, Rick obviously has a beef with Steve. What other performers threw shade at Steve? The only other one that I’m aware of was Tyler Bunch.
 
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