Saturday, October 01, 2005

Jerry Juhl

When Bob Denver and Don Adams passed away, there were stories all over the internet. Unfortunately, the news of Jerry Juhl's passing has been trickling like a rumor. He passed away on Monday, I saw the first report on Wednesday and finally believed it when Mark Evanier posted it.

Jerry Juhl was the main writer for the Muppets for over thirty years. He started with Jim Henson as a puppeteer but quickly moved to creating scripts for the puppets. He was the head writer on both The Muppet Show and Fraggle Rock and is truly responsible for the Muppet style; manic energy, corny jokes and characters that connected both with each other and the audience. It sounds cliche but the Muppets were so well realized that they weren't characters anymore.

Renee and I own just about all of Palisades' Muppet figures. They're on display in our guest bedroom and when people come over they say we're nuts (and Renee puts all the blame on me). But I always catch them staring at each and every character and smiling. In a way, they're visiting with old friends.

I don't think there's been a single show that influenced my comedy writing like 'The Muppet Show' and Jerry Juhl was responsible for more than I realized. And, when all is said and done, there are fewer lines that make me laugh harder than "Good grief! The comedian's a bear!"

He will be sorely missed.

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