Big Bird Lip-Syncing ‘Still Not a Player’ Will Ruin Your Childhood

29 May 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘I Am Big Bird: The Caroll Spinney Story’ review: A fascinating doc on Sesame Street icon.

Big Bird, the Sesame Street star, lip-syncs rapper Big Pun’s “Still Not a Player” in the latest YouTube video produced by Internet mashup artist “Animal Robot.” Enjoy the irony of the lyrics bragging about a man sleeping around mixed with video of the children’s TV icon singing a song called “That’s Cooperation.” Just imagine if Sesame Street taught kids what a “player” is, or maybe it’s best that youngsters find out for themselves when they get to college. He helped open Red China, may have swayed at least one presidential election, had a grisly murder happen on his property… I’d heard this previously and considered it an apocryphal story.

But the scrupulously documented love letter to the gentle genius Spinney includes footage of preliminary physical training for what was supposed to have been NASA’s greatest PR coup. By cleverly syncing clips from Sesame Street with rapper Big Pun’s “Still Not A Player,” Roberts turns Big Bird into a rapping prodigy — with plenty of helpful little Muppets to hype him. Animal Robot keeps it clean by using the censored version of the song (only fitting for a Children’s Television Workshop puppet), but it’s still a pretty good gag to watch the usually soft-spoken Big Bird spitting mad rhymes about all of the tail he’s been pulling. His story stretches from a childhood with a father who violently objected to his love of puppets (as did the school-kids who connected his “girl’s name” with his “dolls”), to his early ‘20s when he found himself improvising an hour of children’s entertainment on TV, promoted to the cast of the Bozo the Clown show, and then off to L.A., where he had a fateful meeting with Jim Henson.

Though they’d later become best friends, Spinney and Henson weren’t on the same page initially, and the man who would be Big Bird intended to quit almost immediately. And he had an antipathy with pioneering Sesame Street director Jon Stone that seemed to drive both men creatively even when they weren’t on speaking terms. Spinney’s 40-year love affair with his wife/manager Debra plays large (his first wife, the mother of his three children, is not even mentioned by name). And there’s a tearful reunion built into the narrative between the Spinneys and Lianzi Ouyang, a little girl who became the de facto child star of the 1983 Sesame Street special Big Bird In China.

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