Oct 8, 2010

St. Louis Goes Gonzo for Dave Goelz

Ryan Dosier - Greetings, Muppet fans! How's your life? It's been awhile! (You know... if you don't count yesterday or everyday before that.) I'm here to finally write an article on my own for my website--shocking, isn't it? Today I'd like to give you all an inside look at an incredible event that took place a week ago today in St. Louis, Missouri that involved Dave Goelz, a special guest, and a bunch of wonderful Muppet fans.

The event in question was Muppet History 101: An Evening with Dave Goelz and it was held at the St. Louis County Library (sort of) near St. Louis, Missouri. This was just about two hours from me, so rampant, rabid wildebeest couldn't stop me from attending (unfortunately, they did stop Mufasa... that scene always gets to me). So I packed up my camera, threw on my Gonzo t-shirt, printed out some Muppet Mindset business cards to hand out, trimmed my facial hair, and made my way up to St. Louis for the event!

Except I left at around 11:30 in the afternoon and the event didn't start until 7:00 at night. So... I went to lunch with my grandma and cousin (which you probably don't care about), bought the new Muppet Yahtzee game at a local mall (which you probably only care about slightly more), and stopped by a comic shop where I found the Muppet King Arthur trade paperback which The Muppet Mindset is apparently quoted on the back of... so I had already had a very, very good day even before seeing Dave Goelz!

I arrived at the library around 5:00 in hopes of weaseling my way into the library before the doors officially opened at 6:00. Unfortunately, that was a no go, so I sat in my car and played Text Twist on my iPod until about 5:45 when I wandered over to the back door where a small crowd of people waiting was beginning to form. As I was walking up I apparently caught the eye of an eleven year old kid in an awesome Muppet t-shirt. I thought, at first, that he was just excited to see my Gonzo shirt, but it turned out he was excited to see me. He shouted, "Oh my gosh! You're Ryan Dosier!!" To which I said, "...Yes, yes I am."

Turns out the kid was Max, an (apparently) huge fan of me and The Muppet Mindset, who recognized me from the few pictures of me that have been on the blog and my YouTube video. So I was thrilled to meet such an enthusiastic young Muppet fan--especially one that is also a fan of me--so we took a picture together:


Such a great kid!! SO much fun and SO knowledgeable--look out Muppet world, Max is going to be stepping up soon enough. I just hope he remembers me when he starts his own Muppet fan site--and that he doesn't attempt a coup and overthrow me. ...Probably shouldn't be giving him ideas.

So anyway! I talked to Max and his awesome mom and the other Muppet fans and people waiting around for the doors to open, trying explain to people who I was (thankfully I had those aforementioned business cards) and then a little before 6:00 the doors finally opened and we all wandered in. I got a seat in the front row with Max and his family and friends (who traveled all the way to St. Louis from Nashville, Tennessee--that ain't a short drive, my friends). As we were walking in I got a tap on the shoulder asking if I was really Ryan Dosier from The Muppet Mindset and it turns out with was Anthony from the ToughPigs forums and his amazingly awesome fiance Roz! They were two of the friendliest and most fantastic people I've had the pleasure of meeting. So nice and fun and easy to talk to... just fantastic! Plus, Anthony lucked out by finding Roz who is a HUGE Muppet fan and an all-around AWESOME lady. He's living the dreams, folks! Unfortunately we didn't get a picture together... I'm not exactly sure how that happened but it needs to be rectified at some point.

While we were sitting around chit-chatting while waiting for the event to start I met so many other wonderful Muppet fans whose names I either didn't get or are escaping me right now... but I know they included Daniel from the ToughPigs forums (pictured at right), an adorable little girl who I took a picture with, and a fantastic guy in an Electric Mayhem t-shirt who couldn't stop saying nice things about the Mindset. It seemed that every time I said I was Ryan Dosier from The Muppet Mindset someone else turned around and said, "You run The Muppet Mindset? I love that site!" It was truly an incredible experience and my first time in a group of Muppet fans. I felt like a celebrity!

And then Dave Goelz had to come out and take away my celebritude... But it's okay because it was freaking Dave Goelz!! The main library guy gave Dave a nice, long introduction--during which Dave made three false entrances, finally just standing next to the podium waiting for the intro to finish. Eventually Dave looked at his watch and said, "Well, that's it for me! I've got a plane to catch!" and started to leave, which made us all laugh and clap and stuff.

Once the intro was over Dave finally took the podium and introduced Muppet History 101, put on by The Jim Henson Legacy. He explained that it was a look into Jim Henson's humble, hilarious beginnings and told us that he would be introducing and explaining each clip. He jumped into it pretty quickly and we started out with a hilarious clip from Sam and Friends in which Kermit interviewed two NBC news anchors, as Muppets, of course. All of the anchors' dialogue was looped and made up entirely of their sign-off phrases from the programs, such as "[name of anchor], NBC News, Washington DC." It was hysterical and I don't want to give away the gags... but it was awesome and already showed Jim's innovative humor.

The next few clips were commercials for Esskay Meats and Wilkin's Coffee... and I'm sure you all know how hysterical they are, so I don't really need to dwell on them. Next we saw the Sesame Street pitch tape featuring Kermit and Rowlf and "Hey, Stupid!" and everyone died of laughter--including Dave. It was fantastic. Then Dave introduced some stuff from The Muppet Show. We saw "Froggy Went a Courtin'" from The Muppet Valentine Show and then we saw a heap of promos with Kermit and Fozzie promoting various guest stars for that week of The Muppet Show. Dave told us that he did Fozzie's right arm in these spots and explained that it was his job to find a prop for Fozzie to play with and bug Kermit with. These props ranged from a trombone, Dave's Gonzo-shaped microphone headset cover, a script, glasses, and so much more. They were laugh riots and showcased the ad-libbing power of Jim and Frank. Absolute genius.

The final clip was an incredible interview with Fozzie and some British chap whose name I don't remember from around the era of The Muppet Movie. I can't tell you a time that Fozzie was more funny. I was dying of laughter--and so was everyone else in the room! It was just incredible and I wish I could give a complete transcription of it, but unfortunately my memory isn't that good.

However, I do remember that the Question and Answer section was next. We got through about five questions with just Dave before a fantastic little kid got a hold of the microphone going around and asked, "Um, who's the special guest?" Well, to answer his question...


(Sorry that picture is so blurry... I was shaking with excitement.) So out comes Gonzo and he is in top form. My gosh... He was everything I hoped he would be and more. It was like sitting there watching to your best friend make a crowd of people laugh and feeling so incredibly proud. This is going to sound incredibly cheesy, but I don't care... It was like old friends who've just met sitting there watching Gonzo. Someone I've known my whole life and I'm now finally getting the chance to meet. It was incredible. In other news... I SAT LESS THAN TEN FEET AWAY FROM GONZO!!!

So then people started asking the weirdo questions. Here are some of the ones I remember the most clearly...

Question: "Gonzo, what did you think of Fraggle Rock?"
Answer: "I don't know what that is. Is it some TV show? Never heard of it."

Question: "Gonzo, what's your favorite song?"
Answer: "Oh, that's a good question. There are so many songs... but I really love the song I did in the first Muppet Movie, 'I'm Going to Go Back There Someday.'"

Question: "Gonzo, why did you act like a middle-aged widow in Letters to Santa?"
Answer: "...What?"
Clarification: "Well there wasn't a single canon!"
Answer: "Well--I'm a maturing ARTIST! I progress, I GROW! And besides--that was a MOVIE! I can't just wheel a canon in and go off script! There's a crew! There are people working! I can't just shoot myself out of a canon in the middle of a production--there's a SCRIPT!"

Question: Something REALLY random that no one would ever know the answer to.
Answer: "THAT'S the question that has been gnawing at you?! Really? The state of the world we're in and THAT'S what you ask? Really? Nothing about the Middle East... Oil spills... Obama?!"

Question: "Where's Rizzo?"
Answer: "Rizzo's not here. He's on the coast." *waggles eyelids*

Question: Something about Gonzo's horn in The Muppet Show.
Answer: "I don't know. I don't watch the show."

And now some witty banter between Dave and Gonzo...

Dave: "At first Gonzo's voice was small and insecure--it sort of mirrored me. I felt very insecure at the time."
Gonzo: "And rightly so!"

Gonzo: "That's it, I'm leaving!"
Dave: "That's not how it works. I can go without you, but you can't go without me."
Gonzo: "...Good point."

And now... the question that I asked...

Dave: "You in the front row in the purple shirt."
Gonzo: "Wait a second! Is that me on your shirt?"
Me: "It is! I'm wearing you tonight, Gonzo."
Gonzo: "That is so cool! Where'd you get that?"
Me: "JCPenney--not that I'm trying to promote for them or anything."
Gonzo: "Gotcha. That's awesome!"
Me: "Thank you. And now my question... Well, first, let me just say what an honor it is to meet you, Gonzo. Just incredible for me."
Gonzo: "It is an honor, isn't it?"
Me: "Absolutely! But my question is... What do you think of Elmo?"
Dave: *laughs*
Gonzo: "Elmo... Elmo. Well, Elmo's a weirdo! Seriously! Have you ever heard him speak? He never uses pronouns! It's always 'Elmo went to the library' or 'Elmo ate dinner' or something! You kids, you know Elmo, right? Well do you talk like that? Do you say, 'Buster cleaned his room'? I didn't think so! I don't know how Elmo got a job on educational television."

We all laughed vehemently, of course... and Gonzo just completely controlled the room. Oh, and, I HAD A CONVERSATION WITH THE GREAT GONZO!!!

After the Q and A Gonzo went back into his box and then the library hosted a signing session with Dave. So I hung around the back of the line so I could be all official and talk to him about an interview and stuff... and I bought The Muppet Movie on DVD just for him to sign. Once I got to the front of the line where he was signing stuff I gave him my card and we talked for a bit and he told me he was very interested in an interview, so... That might be happening at some point very soon!

Then he signed by DVD and my t-shirt and I had a giddy fan-boy moment. And then... the evening was over. It was just beyond incredible, Muppet fans and if I wasn't scrambling to finish this article because I have to run off to class I would tell you more... but believe me when I say that it was just the greatest thing ever. If you have a chance to see a Muppet live and in person don't you dare pass it up. You're depriving yourself of an unprecedented experience that you will never, ever forget.

Thanks to Dave Goelz and Gonzo for making it an evening I'll always remember and thanks to all of the wonderfully amazing Muppet fans I met who made me remember why I run this blog in the first place!!


To view these and all (70) pictures I took at the event, check out our Dave Goelz album on The Muppet Mindset's Photobucket account!











The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier

11 comments:

  1. Yeah, I don't know how we ended up not getting a picture together. I was thinking about that the other day. We absolutely need to correct that next time.

    Great report of a wonderful day!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Oh, also, the British interviewer was Michael Parkinson. Here's another amazing clip of him with Kermit and Piggy -

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D_fKqMgkRa0

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi, it's me again. The "really random" question, as I recall, was something like "Why did you hire John Cleese as your chiropractor?"

    ReplyDelete
  4. I didn't get a picture with Anthony and Roz either! Oh, and Ryan, did yor grandma and cousin think you were there to see them? Nice meeting you and the all the other Muppet fans! It's fun seeing people who know and like the Muppets as much as I do! My mom is nice, but she doesn't retain Muppet information as much as us. I mean she doesn't really grasp the fact that Kermit doesn't love Piggy or that Mahna Mahna had two different names in The Muppet Show and Sesame Street or stuff like that! I just had a fun time with you guys! Hope they'll have something like this event again!

    Galley-o-hoop hoop!
    From Max

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know how you feel. Everytime my mom sees Rowlf shes like "Oh my God, its Fozzie Bear!" I'm trying to figure out how Rowlf looks like a bear! Also, she thought that Jim Henson voiced a performed every single Muppet when he was alive. How would that be possible anyway when the Muppets are in the same scenes as each other containing many!

      Delete
  5. That was a great article, Ryan! Good for you!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Dear Max, I do hope you are not thinking of stealing my job there with your rambunctious knowledge of all things Muppet! - The British C

    ReplyDelete
  7. WOW! I'm glad you had such an awesome time! While reading this article, my eyes were glued to the screen...just like in another memorable Gonzo moment. :)

    http://images3.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20100506212733/muppet/images/b/b0/304_gonzo_television.jpg

    --Josh Hankemeier

    ReplyDelete
  8. Dang I wish I knew about this! A Muppet event and not just a Muppet event, a Muppet event with Gonzo the Great and Dave Goelz! To bad I wasn't a major Muppet fan then:( Oh, well. I cracked over Gonzo's thoughts on Elmo. Now I really wish that Disney had the rights to get Elmo that cameo in the new Muppet movie that Jason Segal decided to add. Gonzo would've had a field day picking on a 3 year old monster. Wow, just reading sounds weird since Gonzo is suppose to be middle aged:O Great article Ryan:)

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hey Ryan, thanks for mentioning me and putting my picture up on the blog! It means A TON to me, seeing as how I think, like you in a way, that meeting Dave and seeing Gonzo live was the greatest moment in my life so far.

    ReplyDelete