Jerry Nelson Remembers
Richard Hunt was a good friend and a talented performer. I was lucky to be associated both professionally and socially with Richard for twenty-two years. Richard was generous to a fault. There was no way you could pay a dinner check when you ate out with Richard. I would often resort to ostensibly going to the men’s room, in order to secretly ask the waiter to bring me the check, because if the bill was put on the table Richard would snap it up and pay for everyone before you could say “Jack Sprat”. He finally got wise and got to the waiter before I did. Richard was also a very generous tipper. Often over twenty percent for good service. Once while dining late at a local restaurant, the service was poor and sloppy, the food took forever to arrive and when it did some of the food was cold and the steak was overdone. The waiter plopped the food down along with the check and said he would like to collect as soon as possible. As the waiter walked away, Richard by this time totally disgusted, tuned back to the table and said, “That’s it! Not a penny over fifteen percent".
It was a great experience working with Richard all those years. We became so simpatico, one of us would start a bit and the other would pick up on where the bit was going immediately. The Two Headed Monster on Sesame Street was a typical example. We often didn’t need to rehearse. We would talk through the actions and intentions and then just do it. Of course, the fact that Two Headed Monster spoke in gibberish helped a lot, but it was always pure joy to work with Richard.
While we were doing The Muppet Show in England, Richard was the official Muppet Workshop Tour Guide. He even had a tour guide hat. He would take visitors through the shop, where all the puppets that were not being used hung on racks. Richard would stop at all the characters and do a little schtick imitating their voices. All our guests adored Richard. He made them feel so welcome and at ease. He took special care with young ones too, for as he told me once “Can you imagine the incredible impression this makes on a child's mind?”
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