Playwright Briandaniel Oglesby was procrastinating. He wrote a very funny satire of mid-century gay life in New York City using very few words and the aging heckler muppets, Statler and Waldorf, it started getting attention soon after he posted it. Laughing, sure, but others teared sharing the post. This compelling short piece of writing went viral. It was good.
Gay Muppet Love
On Twitter, @BlessedPioqueer tweeted, “I’m oddly touched and emotional after reading your gay Muppet fanfic” is a sentence I never thought I’d write but here we are anyway.
And that was enough for user @pearlhein to write “I read the comments to make sure I wasn’t’ the only one who cried, Thank you for validating.”
And so it went with hilarious and inspired ideas and response memes until one @CycloneSteel posted, “I had to look them up to figure out which one was Statler and which one was Waldorf, and i found out the original Statler died of AIDS. makes your story a little too close to the mark for me. The 80s and early 90s suck” (continued below embed)
Oglesby soon replied, “Oh wow. That’s gutting. Now I’ve looked it up as well.” and responses kept coming. In the spirit of that time the comments kept going and some have clearly not lost their talent for the darkest of humor to get through difficult discussions.
A later tweet brought a page ripped from — of course — Charles Kaiser’s “The Gay Metropolis”, the best book about that world, reported and generous with real details. This man, finally with a name, Richard Hunt, the real Statler, was a “principal Muppet”. He played the non-speaking back end of Snuffelupagus…Gladys the Cow and others.
He was known as, “the wonder boy from New Jersey.” according to Hunt’s boyfriend, who offered more detail to Kaiser. He recalled Hunt calling in the late night/early morning and that he would then come visit for an early breakfast, to get high, and they’d go to bed, “…which was where we belonged. Richard and I belonged together in bed. The less said the better.” And then weirdly he said some more, “He looked great. He was wonderful. All those basketball games they did him good.”Embed from Getty Images
“Things were happening. The Muppets were emerging. They were novel and exciting.” He goes on to describe Rudolf Nureyev the first time meeting Hunt backstage, “looked him in the eye and introduced himself this way: “You love to suck cock don’t you?”
Sure, it’s been a long winter, and even stories about puppets going to the theater and fumbling physical contact is enough to give some laughs ad tears. Sounds like Oglesby is now serious about trying to turn it into something other than a procrastination exercise.. “At some point it became a pitch” he tweeted later.
In the tradition i think of Avenue Q, Todd Haynes hard to find emotionally wrenching telling of the Karen Carpenter eating disorder story with Barbie Dolls, and the Southpark worlds it’s possible Henson willing.The original writer soon replied, surprised, “Oh wow. That’s gutting. Now I’ve looked it up as well.” and the posts kept coming as you can see from the excerpt as well as the hundreds of memes and other comments.