MADtv was a comedy/sketch show loosely based on MAD Magazine, even though in later seasons, the program generally dropped its association with the magazine. MADtv generally features an off-the-wall, at times, risque style of parody humor. The show ended in 2009 in its 14th season on the FOX television network.
Sesame Street had been parodied in a series of recurring sketches starting in the 11th season. The sketches feature Keegan-Michael Key as Gordon, Bobby Lee and Crista Flanagan as kids Billy and Sally (even though they didn't receive their names initially), and Jordan Peele as Big Bird, in a "fake" costume character and called "Bird." When Gordon initially appears in a sketch, he typically says "Hey kids, Bird, what is going on?" The sketches take place in Big Bird's nest, and opened with footage of children crossing a bridge and playing in a playground accompanied by the opening theme tune. With the exception of the latest ones, all of them had parody lyrics lampooning the Sesame Street Theme. While entirely revolved around Sesame Street, the sketches would quite often throw in references to The Electric Company and The Muppet Show.
Big Bird Gets the Flu
- Episode #1108
- Air Date: December 10, 2005
Billy and Sally notice a sick Big Bird in his nest. Sally tells "Bird" that he should feel relaxed since he had just gotten back from a long vacation. Then Gordon enters to see what's going on, and when he asks Big Bird where he went, which Big Bird answers Southeast Asia (visiting his relatives), he realizes that Big Bird might have the bird flu. "The bird flu? What's that?", Big Bird asks. Gordon and the kids then start singing and dancing to a song entitled "Avian Influenza Virus Genesi," to the tune of "ABC-DEF-GHI."
This cuts to a "Silhouetted Faces" segment (from The Electric Company) with a man and a woman in a blue background. The words they form are "flu," "fever," and "fatal."
Back at the nest area, Sally decides to cheer up the Bird with a big hug. But Gordon tries to resist her from doing so, but it's too late as Sally gets feathers on her, and Big Bird sneezes on the kids, thus infecting them with the bird flu and causing them to start sneezing. Gordon panics and runs off screaming, "This is bad! This is bad!".
This cuts to another sketch, with Cookie Monster (with a big, flat head and yellow nose) walking behind a brick wall which holds a plate of chicken. Cookie notices the chicken, which at first he doesn't want to eat (simply because he's not "Chicken Monster"), but gives in ("Who me kidding? Me eat anything. Me compulsive eater!"). Cookie gobbles up the entire plate until he starts to feel cold and faints, as the chicken has been infected with the bird flu.
Sally notices Bob (played by Frank Caeti) (as a portly man) coming in pushing a wheelbarrow full of dead Muppets (actually just random non-working puppets, including humanoids and some monsters). Billy and Sally walk up to him, and Bob tells them that they have to leave right now. Billy asks him what's going on, but Bob tells them that he doesn't want the kids to see what's in the wheelbarrow. Sally looks at the cart with sorrow as Bert, Ernie, and Grover (not shown) have died. Elmo, lying in the cart (with bloodshot eyes and without his nose), giggles and blurts out, "Tickle me! Tickle me!" until he coughs and falls backwards, dead.
Big Bird asks Bob if he's responsible for what has happened, to which he says yes, and opens a nearby trashcan to dump the dead Muppets into while singing "Everyone's Infected in the Neighborhood" (to the tune of "The People in Your Neighborhood").
Gordon comes back and tells everyone to back away as he pours a can of gasoline onto Big Bird. "Hey, that smells funny!", says Big Bird. Gordon then asks if anyone has a lighter, to which Billy says he does and hands it to him (Gordon gives him a rather strange look, as he would again in some of the following sketches). Gordon is about to set Big Bird on fire, but before he does, he reminds him that he is sorry about what is about to happen. Big Bird says his last words: "Well, I guess that's it for me. Goodbyeee, kids!".
The screen turns blue with the burning flames heard in the background as the letter P zooms towards the screen. Grover says, "Sesame Street is brought to you by the letter P... for "Pandemic!", and the word "Pandemic" appears on the screen.
Statler and Waldorf also give their concluding thoughts in front of the red curtain. Waldorf says, "We're gonna get letters on that one!", to which Statler replies, "As if anyone who watches this show can write!", and then they both laugh.
Donald Trump Tears Down Sesame Street
- Episode #1115
- Air Date: March 4, 2006
Some construction workers are taking apart Big Bird's nest. Billy and Sally show up and Big Bird tells them about the situation, to which Billy asks if it's because his nest is dirty. Of course it is, as Big Bird does everything there, but there's no reason why they should tear down his nest.
Gordon comes in and apparently, because Big Bird's nest is being taken apart, everyone else has to move out as well (not only did the sketch's incarnation of Gordon actually own the street as Big Bird realized, but his grandfather did as well back when it was "coloreds only"). Gordon and the kids then start singing "E is for Evicted" (to the tune of "C is for Cookie").
A wrecking ball then swoops out of nowhere and hits Big Bird in the head, to which the scene cuts out with a clanging sound effect (used in cartoons) and Big Bird moaning in pain.
This leads to an Ernie and Bert sketch. Ernie (with red skin, a yellow nose, and a different striped shirt) packs up his suitcase and as Bert (with two eyebrows and a different shirt) approaches, Ernie tells him that it looks like they will have to find a new place to live, but it turns out that Bert will be staying at Grover's place in Chelsea. "Room for one more?", Ernie asks. "No, it's a studio.", replies Bert, and adds that they will "be on top of each other as it is". Ernie had thought that he and Bert have always been together. Bert says that they were, but now that the apartment will be gone, so will he, and walks off without his paperclip collection. Ernie, now alone, then starts singing a heartbreaking song to his Rubber Duckie: "Oh my Duckie, we're alone. Now this is a broken home..." But then he gasps, "...Literally!" as the same wrecking ball that hit Big Bird earlier swoops in and hits Ernie.
Sally wraps a bandage around Big Bird's head. Gordon says that he will find some aspirin, to which Billy says he has in his pocket (Gordon again gives him a strange look). An incoming car is heard, prompting Sally to cry out, "Elmo! Look out for that limo!" as Elmo gets hit and lands right onto the ground screaming, coughing and falling back dead. Donald Trump (Frank Caliendo) approaches and apologizes as he (Elmo) didn't cross at the traffic light. Gordon tells Billy and Sally that Donald is the one who will be tearing down Sesame Street, and replace it with a Starbucks coffee shop. Sally tells Donald that now they'd have no place to live. Big Bird also reminds him that he's already a millionaire. "Billionaire, Bird.", Donald corrects him as he sings "I Love Cash" (to the tune of "I Love Trash"). His hairpiece joins in the song as well. After the song has ended, Gordon remembers that he has to send an eviction notice to Luis at the Mail It Shop, but as soon as he walks in, a gunshot goes off. Gordon comes back out, having been shot in the arm by Luis. Gordon warns Big Bird and the kids that they must run for their lives as Luis has gone mad, and they do while Luis continues firing gunshots. Big Bird, however, is still in his nest, trying to find a way out.
The sketch ends with a light blue background with the Sesame Street logo being censored by the "Registered Letter" accompanied by the theme instrumental. Grover says, "Sesame Street is brought to you by the Registered Letter, informing you that your property has been sold to a thatch-haired real estate mogul."
- Episode #1206
- Air Date: November 4, 2006
Big Bird notices Billy text messaging a friend he has made on the internet on "MyPlace" on his phone. Sally explains that MyPlace is a site where one can meet new friends. Billy then gets a message from his friend, whose screenname is "Dr. Fuzzyballs1964". Gordon comes in and the kids tell him what's going on. Billy says that his new friend wants to meet him today, but Gordon is concerned, and asks Billy how much he knows about this "friend" of his. Gordon gives a reasonable shrug when Billy says that his friend is into fashion, as he always asks Billy what he's wearing. But then starts to think otherwise when Billy continues that this friend, who also knows a lot about computers, can only use one hand to type. Gordon, Big Bird and the kids sing "Watch Out for the People on the Internet" (to the tune of "The People in Your Neighborhood"), warning about the dangers of meeting strangers online.
This cuts to another spoof of the "silhouette faces" sketches from The Electric Company. The words the man and woman form are "MyPlace," "message," and "molester."
Back at the nest area, Billy meets his online buddy, who, unbeknownst to him, is actually Bert disguised in a trenchcoat, hat and shades. Bert notices that Billy looks much older than 13. Which is because Billy is a smoker. As soon as Billy leaves to change his clothes, Bert is approached by Chris Hansen (Michael McDonald) from Dateline NBC. Chris then asks Bert about a photo he had sent to Billy, which is one of his fuzzy testicles as his online identity suggests. Bert tries to act innocent, but then a man shouts, "Everybody get down!" as two members of the force then run in and tackle Bert. Big Bird and the others rush in to see who the predator is. Bert then claims that he's an alcoholic and that Mr. Hooper molested him, which is why he did it. Gordon tells him that they're not buying it, and so he, Big Bird, and the kids sing "Going to Prison" (to the tune of "Doin' the Pigeon").
The sketch then ends with a blue background accompanied by the theme tune instrumental, and Grover says, "Sesame Street is brought to you by the letters (letters flash on screen as he mentions them) A, O, and L". It then cuts to the Sesame Street logo censored by a computer with the MyPlace website, and Grover concludes "...providing chatrooms to all ages for over a decade."
- Episode #1211
- Air Date: January 20, 2007
Billy and Sally notice Big Bird glowing green and in pain. Billy also notices that he's slowly getting some bald spots. Big Bird also points out that he has also laid a hard-boiled egg, which is odd because he's a male bird. Gordon comes in and Sally tells him what's happening. Gordon tells Big Bird that he is suffering from (what "that Russian secret agent died of") radiation poisoning. Big Bird asks him what it is, and this leads to Gordon and the kids into singing "Radiation Poisoning" (to the tune of "Rubber Duckie").
After the song has ended, it cuts to an emergency room in a hospital, where Kermit (portrayed as an iguana and is green and yellow; his trademark eyes and pupils are also missing), who has also been infected with the radiation, is lying in bed singing how it is "quite easy glowing green" (to the tune of his trademark song "Bein' Green"). He falls backwards dead after he says, "The doctors hope I taste like chicken."
Back at the nest area, the hazmat team are searching around a trashcan on top of a few crates, where they detect where the radiation is coming from: The trashcan, in which Oscar pops out of. Oscar tells Gordon that he was making a dirty bomb. Billy says that he too made a dirty bomb once, after "eating scallops and chocolate milk". Gordon corrects Billy that a "dirty bomb" is a weapon of terrorism. But Oscar isn't a terrorist, he's just a grouch. He was actually making the bomb for somebody else. Then Elmo enters the area, dressed in a terrorist outfit, asking Oscar if he's got the dirty bomb, but also sees that he's surrounded. Gordon asks him why he even needs the dirty bomb. Elmo says that he's now "Elmo TMX", is an extremist, and will take over Sesame Street and turn it into Elmo's World. However, Elmo's plan is foiled when Gordon points out that the "hazmat guys" are also police officers, who then arrest Elmo.
Big Bird asks Oscar why he hasn't been infected by the radiation. Oscar then says, "I've got a kick-ass immune system! I've been living in my own crap for 30 years. That's why!".
The sketch concludes with a blue background accompanied by the theme instrumental, and the Sesame Street logo blocked by the "Registered Letter". Then Grover says, "Sesame Street has been brought to you by the letters (letters flash on screen as he mentions them) K, G, and B. (All letters come onto the screen, forming "KGB") Killing people in creepy ways for the last 50 years!".
Tickle Me Emo
- Episode #1303
- Air Date: September 29, 2007
A commercial parody featuring an "emo" version of Tickle Me Elmo from "Depress-a-me Street." Tickle-me-Emo is Elmo's "angst-ridden, teenaged cousin," who is programmed to say a number of different phrases, such as, "If life is so fair, why do roses have thorns?" "There is no God, you hear me? No God." "Nobody understands what I'm going through, especially YOU!" "I hate you! I hate you! I hate you!" And, "I hurt myself to feel alive!" Tickle-me-Emo also has a head-spinning function, but it is advised that children not leave the doll alone for too long, as it also has the ability to slash its wrists.
- Episode #1316
- Air Date: May 17, 2008
Big Bird is seen standing under a tree in a suburban street with his suitcase on the ground, groaning to himself, "Why me?! WHY ME?!?". Billy and Sally find him and ask why he’s not in his nest back on Sesame Street. Big Bird explains that the bank took his nest after he defaulted on his rate mortgage. So he decided to move back into the tree he grew up in, where he is standing (even though his parents don't quite accept his presence as he is defecated on by one of them). Then Big Bird angrily shouts, "Okay, I get it, Dad!". Big Bird continues that his parents also think that he's a weirdo. Not because of his size, but rather the fact that he hangs out with children 30 years younger than him.
Gordon comes in riding an ice cream cart, having just lost his job as well (whatever it was he was doing before), and now he’s been assigned with a task usually performed by illegal aliens. Big Bird adds that it’s hard all over. "It sure is, Bird. It sure is.", Gordon agrees. Gordon and the kids then sing "Economically This Whole Country’s Screwed It Seems" (to the tune of "ABC-DEF-GHI").
This cuts to another silhouette word segment from The Electric Company, with the words "Bear stearns," "Bankrupt," and "Blow your brains out."
Back on the street, Big Bird comments that just when things are getting worse, he’s been living on the streets before. Sally inquires that maybe they’ll get a new president, and things will change. Gordon scoffs at that remark. The president, as he puts it, doesn’t even have real power. Big Bird agrees; the president is also a bigger puppet than he [Big Bird] is. Billy wishes he could vote, but he's 13, and Sally can’t vote either because she's a girl. Gordon assures the kids, "It wouldn’t matter anyway. If I've learned one thing, it’s that one vote doesn’t make a difference-- get your hands off the merchandise, China Grove!", he abruptly yells to Billy and smacks his hand while trying to open the cart's lid.
Cookie Monster is standing behind a brick wall (still on the same street) moaning in pain. Billy enters and ask what's wrong. Cookie says that he eats way too much sugar, and can’t get a health insurance, so he had to cut off his foot. Cookie (and Billy) sings "D’s for Diabetes" (to the tune of "C is for Cookie," accompanied with words on the screen, with cookies floating above the words) before collapsing.
Sally bemoans that the country is "in the crapper". Gordon tells Billy and Sally that they can work for him; the ice cream cart he's operating also serves as a mobile meth lab. Gordon opens the cart, and out pops the Swedish Chef holding a jug of smoking pot. Gordon adds that the Chef is the best cook in town, and the kids happily cheer. The skit ends with a shot of the Sesame Street sign in a blue background.
- Episode #1406
- Air Date: November 8, 2008
In part 2 of a GEICO commercial parody skit, Elmo is hired as a celebrity to tell Guyco customer's, Melinda Calkins (played by Arden Myrin), story. As Melinda tries to tell her story of being in a car crash (with a totaled 1999-2004 Ford Mustang in the background), Elmo replies, "Elmo say that must have given you a poo poo!" and then laughs. Melinda goes on saying how her father flew through the window shield and hit an iron fence. Then Melinda talks about her sister's head was then severed by the airbags and she is trying to find it. Elmo replies, "When Elmo loses things, Elmo retrace his steps!", and then laughs again. As Melinda tries to remember that her insurance is Guyco, Elmo says that he's going to count the street sign as the police comes by with a body bag on a stretcher. The sign said "311" as Elmo reads it. Elmo then says, "Elmo love to read!", and laughs again. Melinda replies that this just happened and Elmo laughs after he shouts, "Tickle Elmo!". Melinda is mad at Elmo for laughing when her parents are dead and throws Elmo into the street. A car brake is heard and Melinda runs away.
Elmo is now a Guyco customer, and celebrity Carlos Mencia (played by Johnny Sanchez) is going to help tell the story of what just happened. Elmo is disgusted that Carlos is the best celebrity they can give him. Elmo says that he's famous and that he should be able to have George Lopez or Cheech ("Hell, I'd even take that Wilmer Valderrama too!") as his celebrity to tell his story. Carlos is getting so mad at Elmo that he tears his head off and throws it into the street. His head then hits a car's windshield, which happens to belong to another celebrity, Mo'Nique (played by Erica Ash), who was in the first part of the GEICO commercial parody skit.
As Mo'Nique steps out of her car and sees Elmo's head on her windshield, she says that she is paralyzed, she's got whiplash, and her back hurts. She then picks up Elmo's head off the windshield and plans to sue Carlos for throwing it at her as Carlos runs away.
The skit ends with Guyco's logo as the narrator says, "Guyco, insurance for everybody. Regular people, Latin comics, sisters looking to get paid, or even decapitated puppets."
- Episode #1416
- Air Date: April 25, 2009
Gordon finishes a conversation with Big Bird at his nest: "Bottom line: You're gonna have to start cleaning up after yourself. I’m tired of spraying down at my walkway." "Okay, Gordon.", Big Bird replies. After Gordon explains that he doesn't use Big Bird's nest as a toilet, Big Bird snaps, "I said, OKAY!", annoyed by the fact that after Obama had been elected, Gordon has been acting "uppity". Gordon of course doesn't care for that word. Gordon then notices a quiet and not so cheery Sally (whom he calls "White Girl") standing by them. She is worried about Billy. When Big Bird asks why, an exhausted and fat Billy enters, much to Gordon’s shock. Billy had apparently been eating pizza and donuts from the cafeteria. Sally remarks that he looks like a Cabbage Patch kid. Big Bird abruptly cuts in: "More like a Cabbage FAT Kid!" and Gordon makes a reprimanding gesture at him. Gordon and the kids then break into the song "Childhood Obesity" (to the tune of "Rubber Duckie").
This cuts to an Electric Company-esque silhouette faces segment, where they form the words: "Food," "Futon," "Fideo Games," and "Fatty."
Back on the street, Gordon tells Billy, who is playing on his game boy console, that he is in bad shape. "I know.", Billy responds. "I didn’t get the morphing scepter on level 14!". Gordon snatches the game away from Billy, and tosses it out into the air. A crash is then heard (parodying the off-screen crashes that Sesame Street is known for). Gordon tells Billy that he needs to exercise. Billy reluctantly gets on the ground to do some push-ups while The Count, standing behind the brick wall, counts them (with the number flashing on the screen). He counts, "1! 1 push-up!", but Billy gives up quickly before he can continue. "What?! That wasn’t even 1!", the Count exclaims. But then he concludes, "0! 0 push-ups!" and does his trademark laugh, and keeps on laughing for a long time as the others start talking over it..
Sally wonders what they’re going to do now. Gordon tells her that there is only one thing that they can do: Which is (as they answer in song to the tune of "One Fine Face") get Billy on a gurney and take him to get liposuction surgery (behind the brick wall again). Ernie (who somehow survived after being hit by the wrecking ball) and Bert (who probably decided to move back to their apartment) appear as surgeons who operate on Billy.
The sketch concludes with the Sesame Street sign in a blue background, with a letter P, as Grover (whose voice is slightly different than in the previous sketches, probably because he's getting older) says, "Sesame Street is brought to you by the letter P, for "Plastic Surgery." It's never too early, kids!".
- Episode 1205 (November 11, 2006): Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane reveals that the show was originally live-action, and had to switch to animation, a slew of celebrities tried out for roles including Kathy Griffin (Arden Myrin), who says she has a perfect voice for cartoons, because she shot so much Botox into her neck she sounds just like Kermit the Frog - she then pauses and remembers he's a Muppet, and says she has a perfect voice for Muppets.
Cast & Crew
- Nicole Sullivan, cast member (1995-2001)
- Keegan-Michael Key, cast member (2004–2009)
- Taran Killam, cast member (2001-2002)
- Jordan Peele, cast member (2003–2008)
- Dick Blasucci, executive producer and writer (1998-2009)
- Bruce Leddy (CinderElmo director), director, writer, supervising and executive producer (1999-2009)