Henson company aims for puppet primetime
On November 20th, TBS will be airing a taped performance of the Henson gang performing improvised, uncensored comedy at the Las Vegas Comedy Festival. This isn't the warm and wacky Muppet comedy of yore. Puppet Up! Uncensored! is blue comedy developed by a whole new team of writers and performers looking to bring a fresh voice and renewed primetime supremacy to the Henson name. In addition to the improv performance, TBS has ordered up 30 episodes of Uncensored for its forthcoming broadband channel and remains in negotiations over the semi-improvised late night talk show project.
The Henson Company is also shopping around a third project called Tinseltown. The pilot concerns a gay puppet couple, a pig and a bull, balancing work in Hollywood with life as parents.
Television audiences are accustomed to seeing naughty puppets with modern day sensibilities by now thanks to Meet the Feebles, Greg the Bunny, Wonder Showzen, Crank Yankers and Avenue Q. What people often forget, however, is that Jim Henson's most irreverent work wasn't for children and included appearances on the first season of Saturday Night Live. Why the Henson Company doing adult-oriented material continues to surprise anyone is beyond me. The Muppet Show may have been family-friendly, but creations like Gonzo, The Swedish Chef and the Lew Zealand, the boomerang fish thrower, had to come from some pretty twisted minds.