Comedians are by far some of the most clever people in our modern society. They make insightful observations, call us out on our shortcomings, and point out truths that we rarely want to admit to.
In Dave Chappelle’s, 2000 Killin’ Them Softly stand-up special, he riffs about Sesame Street for a few minutes. In the bit, he makes some observations that are only possible as an adult and if you are blessed with the ability to truly dissect a situation and read into its context.
He starts off by bringing to our attention how the characters bash Oscar the Grouch to his face, something we are told as children not to do to someone. Then he points out that Snuffy has the symptoms of a heroin addict, Cookie Monster’s crackhead-like obsession with those tasty little baked discs is extremely unhealthy, and the Count looks, sounds, and dresses like a pimp.
Within the short bit about everyone’s favourite, once loveable but now seemingly darker cast of characters, he drops a line that gets a minimal response from the otherwise lively crowd:
“Sesame Street is a terrible place. I wouldn’t go there if I knew the way.”
Why is this line so clever? If you refer to the thousands of times you’ve probably watched the show and sang the theme song, you’ll realize that the entire tune is simply asking for directions to this magical place.
Are you singing it right now? It’s perfectly natural if you are.
The line is considered a throwaway by the audience and plenty of other viewers over the last 20 years. However, it is a testament to the level of detail that only true masters of their craft put into their work.
The complete Killin’ Them Softly special can be seen here
The Sesame Street bit can be seen here