Mr. Johnson (Sesame Street)
|Sesame Street character|
|First appearance||1969 (Fat Blue)
1972 (Mr. Johnson)
|Created by||Jim Henson|
|Portrayed by||Jerry Nelson
David Rudman (in The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland)
|Aliases||Fat Blue, Mr. Blue, Mr. Blue Man, Sir (by Grover)|
Johnson is a fat Anything Muppet who has become increasingly frustrated over the years with the service Grover provides (in earlier skits, Mr. Johnson was calmer and Grover was the one who would get irritated, but the situation reversed over the years). Mr. Johnson is always called "Sir" politely by Grover.
Mr. Johnson was mainly performed by Jerry Nelson, and is mostly seen as a customer at Charlie's Restaurant.David Rudman and Matt Vogel will possibly perform Mr. Johnson after Jerry Nelson, who died in August 2012.
In the restaurant sketches, Mr. Johnson goes to Charlie's Restaurant, which is a table service restaurant that he visits on a regular basis. Johnson is a nice and pleasant fellow, but can still be a bit impatient. He is usually in a hurry and has no time to wait, while Grover, the waiter, torments and harasses Mr. Johnson with his antics and mistakes. As a result, Mr. Johnson is eventually turned into the angry victim. However, in earlier sketches, Mr. Johnson and Grover's roles were switched; Johnson was calmer and Grover was usually the one who would get annoyed. Sketches typically end with Mr. Johnson either walking away in a huff, getting hurt, or fainting (which he does most of the time) out of frustration and annoyance. Despite the fact that Grover ruins his dining experiences, Mr. Johnson always goes back to Charlie's (he even says to himself, "Why do I keep coming back to this place?").
Other sequences with Grover and Mr. Johnson encountering each other include sketches on an airplane, at the airport, in a telegram office, at a rent-a-car agency, at fast food or other types of restaurants, at the movies, at a portrait studio, at a baseball game, at a department store, at a coffee shop, as a hot dog vendor, as a fitness gym trainer, as a salesman, as a game show host, as a street musician, as a flight attendant, in an art gallery, and in a taxi. In the sketches, something usually drives Johnson to lose his patience and get very infuriated with Grover.
In two other sketches, Mr. Johnson attends the park, with Grover showing up to annoy him. In one sketch, with Mr. Johnson wanting to eat his lunch all alone, while Grover is plays the guitar and sings (Mr. Johnson also paraphrases a quote from Casablanca: "Of all the benches in all the parks in the world, I had to pick this one!"). In another, Johnson wants one long hot dog or two short hot dogs with mustard.
In one skit, Mr. Johnson attends the Birdland concert / nightclub, and is pestered by the Squirrel Nut Zippers singing "Put a Lid on It" (in this skit, Johnson's first name, Fred, is mentioned during the song).
Several sketches take place in Mr. Johnson's apartment at 14 Sesame Street, where Grover is involved in delivering singing telegrams (along with Elmo in one sketch, in which he taught him how to send telegrams), selling wigs, delivering pizza, doing home renovation on Johnson's new house, or other door-to-door activities.
In one sketch, Simon Soundman (also performed by Nelson) goes to Charlie's for lunch and says he doesn't know why Mr. Johnson recommended the restaurant since it has bad service. He also mentions that Johnson is his brother (even though they have different last names).
On June 13, 2011, Nelson and Frank Oz reprised their respective roles as Mr. Johnson and Grover in a new Sesame Street sketch uploaded on YouTube parodying Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, called SpiderMonster the Musical.
In popular culture
- Jon Stewart, on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, has called Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele the "perpetually dissatisfied customer at Grover's restaurant," complemented by footage of Mr. Johnson.
- "Grover's Chicken Sandwich" video clip, Sesamestreet.org
- Mr. Johnson on Muppet Wiki, an external wiki
- Grover and Mr. Johnson on Muppet Wiki, an external wiki
- Tough Pigs: Grover the Waiter skit collection