If you harbor doubts that Ricky Gervais would prove anything less than a great human co-star in the latest Muppet movie, just ask Elmo.
Three years ago this week, the caustic British comic and the lovable American monster produced an instant "Sesame Street" classic in which Gervais’ "Celebrity Lullaby" – sung to an insomnia-plagued Elmo – morphs into a fur-raising heavy metal ode to the letter “N.” Elmo, meanwhile, gets some revenge by not-so-innocently suggesting Gervais isn’t a major star (“Is Mr. Ricky Gervais a celebrity?”).
Gervais now is apparently a big enough name to be sought for the latest installment of the Muppets' triumphant big-screen comeback, according to The Hollywood Reporter. He would be wise to take the correct turn at Fozzie Bear's proverbial giant fork in the road and make a Muppet connection.
Sure, Gervais probably isn't the first actor who comes up when casting children’s films – but the Muppets were never only about the kids. Gervais and Jim Henson’s franchise share an irreverent sense of humor that mixes the silly and the smart, playing on different levels to different viewers.
The Elmo-Gervais musical meeting has notched some eight million hits on YouTube. Check out the video below as Gervais reportedly negotiates on whether to bring his Muppet act to the movie-going masses:
Hester is founding director of the award-winning, multi-media NYCity News Service at the City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism. He is the former City Editor of the New York Daily News, where he started as a reporter in 1992. Follow him on Twitter.