On this day 22 years ago, the master of Muppets and brightest hallmark of childhood for many of us, Jim Henson, passed away after a sudden illness. His creations—Sesame Street, The Muppets, Fraggle Rock and the perennially creepy The Dark Crystal—all live on in perpetuity.
The Muppets never really left, but thanks to the popularity of their 2011 eponymous film, which also starred Jason Segel, Amy Adams and Chris Cooper (and featured a few pretty great cameos) and got the Muppets accused of communism or something.
The other arm of the Muppet Empire, Sesame Street, is still going strong after more than 40 years, and Henson’s whimsical puppet people have always been at its heart and soul. But as with The Muppet Show, more and more fabulous celebrities have been making their way to the Street to hang out with Henson’s progeny, perhaps to give some reprieve to the parents who watch it. Here, in honor of Jim and his legacy, are a few of our favorite recent celebrity-Muppet encounters from Sesame Street.
Neil Patrick Harris Dances With Elmo As a pairing, there is no one more fitting. An energetic former child star and a Muppet that embodies childlike enthusiasm. Here, they sing about pajamas and do the dance that launched a thousand .gifs.
Feist Sings "1, 2, 3, 4" With Some Help This video is cute, and is surprisingly not the only tenuous link between the Muppets and Peaches. Because of course someone on the Internet made a Miss Piggy/”Fuck The Pain Away” mashup. Of course.
Ken Jeong and Joel McHale Teach About Vegetation The Community stars came on the show earlier this year to expand some young vocabularies. Ken Jeong taught the word “deciduous,” while Joel McHale demonstrated “prickly” with an anthropomorphic cactus and pineapple. As one YouTube commenter put it, “You guys are going to have Abed on to decribe the word ‘meta,’ right?” #sixseasonsandaMuppetmovie
R.E.M. Sings “Furry Happy Monsters” It’s no Katy Perry singing “Hot ‘N’ Cold” outside Hooper’s Store, but “Shiny Happy People” is still a jam, and when Muppets and a banjo are also involved, well then.
Richard Pryor’s Alphabet No Muppets involved, but too good not to mention. Even funny when he has to self-censor for the kiddies, Richard Pryor gives the best rendition of the alphabet we have ever seen.
Beaker Sings "Hot Stuff" One for the road from The Muppet Show and YouTube. Neil Patrick Harris tweeted this today in homage to the late Donna Summer as well as Henson.