Laughing Matters — Muppets Tonight: Johnny Fiama, “We Hardly Heard Ya”

Sometimes comedy illuminates hard truths with a pointed urgency that other means can’t quite achieve. Sometimes comedy is just funny. This series of posts is mostly about the former instances, but the latter is valuable, too.

Someday I must write at length about Muppets Tonight, the short-lived nineteen-nineties ABC series that revived the late Jim Henson’s troupe of felty entertainers with a verve that’s been sadly absent from most other similar attempts since. One thing I especially appreciated was the commitment to expanding the cast of characters rather than the reliable safety of the tried and true. Naturally, not every new addition was a durable winner, but I maintain there were more hits than misses. As evidence, I submit that “I understand you’re ooga-chakaing” took hold as an eminently quotable phrase among my post-collegiate crew that embraced Johnny Fiama and his faithful companion, Sal Minella, as worthy new favorites.

Johnny was right about his album. It was a real comer.

Previous entries in this series can be found by clicking on the “Laughing Matters” tag.

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