Cookie Monster is a popular Muppet character on the children's television show Sesame Street.
Cookie Monster is a small bipedal monster covered with thick blue fur, and gifted with a voracious appetite.
Cookie Monster is best known for his voracious appetite and his famous eating phrases: "Me want cookie!", "Me eat cookie!", and "Omm nom nom nom" (said through a mouthful of food). He often eats anything and everything, including danishes, donuts, and inedible objects such as salt and pepper shakers, napkins, telephones, motorcycles, and the four letters in the word "food". Once, he even attempted to eat Guy Smiley.
As evidenced by his name, however, his favorite food is cookies. Chocolate-chip cookies are his favorite kind; oatmeal cookies are his second favorite. In a song in 2004, Cookie Monster revealed that, before he ate his first cookie, he believes his name was Sid.
He is known to have a mother, a younger sister, and an identically-designed cousin, who all share his characteristic blue fur and "googly eyes". He also has a father, who appeared in a Monsterpiece Theater sketch promoting energy conservation, water conservation and environmentalism. Both Cookie Monster's mother and father share his enormous appetite.
The book Jim Henson's Designs and Doodles explains Cookie Monster's origin as follows:
In 1966, Henson drew three monsters that ate cookies and appeared in a General Foods commercial that featured three crunch snack foods: Wheels, Crowns and Flutes. Each snack was represented by a different monster. The Wheel-Stealer was a short, fuzzy monster with wonky eyes and sharply pointed teeth. The Flute-Snatcher was a speed demon with a long, sharp nose and windblown hair. The Crown-Grabber was a hulk of a monster with a Boris Karloff accent and teeth that resembled giant knitting needles.
These monsters had big appetites for the snack foods they were named after. Each time the Muppet narrator, a human-looking fellow, fixes himself a tray of Wheels, Flutes and Crowns, they disappear before he can eat them. One by one, the monsters sneak in and zoom away with the snacks. Frustrated and peckish, the narrator warns viewers that these pesky monsters could be disguised as someone in your own home, at which point the monsters briefly turn into people and then dissolve back to monsters again.
As it turns out, these commercials were never aired — but all three monsters had a future in the Muppet cast. The "Crown-Grabber" was used in an Ed Sullivan Show sketch, in which he ruins a girl's beautiful day. Known from then on as the Beautiful Day Monster, he made a number of appearances on Sesame Street and The Muppet Show. The "Flute-Snatcher" turned into Snake Frackle, a background monster from The Great Santa Claus Switch and The Muppet Show. For nearly 30 years, Henson and puppeteer Frank Oz were an extraordinary team. Cheryl Henson, Jim's daughter and the president of the Jim Henson Foundation, says the two men shared a subversive sense of humor
In 1967, Henson used the "Wheel-Stealer" puppet for an IBM training film called Coffee Break Machine. In the sketch, the monster (with frightening eyes and fangs) devours a complex machine as the machine describes its purpose and construction. At the end of the sketch, the talking machine explains that its primary purpose is to produce the greatest explosion known to man. The monster promptly explodes. This sketch was also performed in October, 1967 on The Ed Sullivan Show. (It was also later performed on the George Burns episode of The Muppet Show using the Luncheon Counter Monster.)
Two years later, Henson pulled the puppet out of the box again for three commercials selling Munchos, a Frito-Lay potato chip. This time, the puppet was called Arnold, the Munching Monster. After the three ads were produced, Henson had the opportunity to renew the contract. He chose not to, because at that point he was working on Sesame Street — and that monster puppet was moving on to the next stage in his career.
Cookie Monster, still unnamed, made his Sesame Street debut in the first episode, interfering with Kermit the Frog's "famous W lecture" by eating a model "W" bit by bit (turning it into an "N", a "V", and finally an "I", to Kermit's frustration). Enter . . Their Muppets were regulars on The Ed Sullivan Show and The Tonight Show.
It was later, on a Muppet game show, that the cookie-fixated creature we know emerged, puppeteer Frank Oz says. The winning contestant was offered the chance to choose a prize: a vacation, a new house, $10,000 cash, or a cookie. He chose the cookie — and the Cookie Monster was born.
"As opposed to many of us who need many things to try and make us happy, he only needs one thing, and that's a cookie," Oz says. "That is his one obsession, and he's insatiable."
Though Cookie Monster was the improvisational brainchild of several writers, producers and puppeteers, Oz is most often credited for his existence. The puppeteer, who also created Miss Piggy and Bert, was known for taking character development seriously — often refusing to break out of Cookie Monster's voice during writing sessions.
Cookie Monster's theme song, "C is for Cookie", is one of the most famous songs from Sesame Street.
In 2006, in response to growing concerns about record levels of childhood obesity in the U.S.A., Sesame Street began airing segments entitled Healthy Habits for Life. In these segments, the Muppet characters of Sesame Street talk about healthy habits, such as eating properly and exercising. Hootsy the Owl serenaded him with a little ditty called "A Cookie Is a Sometimes Food." The Healthy Habits for Life segments spawned false Internet rumors that Cookie Monster's name had been changed to Veggie Monster or would be taken off the show entirely.
It wasn't true, but angry fans inundated the Sesame Workshop with letters, and more than 3,000 people signed an online petition.
"What's wrong with you people?" one of them wrote, "To quote the monster himself: 'C is for Cookie, and that's good enough for me!'"
In a 2007 appearance on Martha Stewart's TV program, Cookie Monster explained his new philosophy that "Cookies are a sometime food."
- Frank Oz — From 1969 to present
- David Rudman — From 2001 to present
- Jim Henson — in The Ed Sullivan Show
- Joe Raposo — in Everyone Likes Ice Cream
- Eric Jacobson — occasionally in 2001 and 2005
David Rudman officially became Cookie Monster in Sesame Street's 2002 season (taped 2001), but the year before that, Rudman shared the part with Eric Jacobson. Once Jacobson was cast as Grover and Bert, Sesame Workshop chose Rudman as Cookie Monster to allow for more interaction between Cookie Monster and Bert/Grover. Frank Oz still performs Cookie Monster and his other Sesame Street characters a couple of times per year.
Art / Fiction
Numerous children's books featuring Cookie Monster have been published over the years:
- Happy Birthday, Cookie Monster
- Cookie Monster's Kitchen
- Cookie Monster's Christmas
- A Cookie Gone Wrong - Monster's Story
- Biggest Cookie in the World
- Cookie Monster and the Cookie Tree
- Cookie Monster's Good Time to Eat
- Cookie Monster's Blue Book
- Cookie Monster, Where are You?
- Cookie Monster!
- Cookie Monster's Activity Book
- Cookie Monster Mammoth Color
- Cookie Monster's Book of Cookie Shapes
- Monster and the Surprise Cookie
- Sesame Street: Wanted, the Great Cookie Thief
- An article in The Wall Street Journal notes that the guttural singing style in death metal bands is called "Cookie Monster singing".
- In the Star Wars spoof Hardware Wars, Chewchilla the Wookie Monster is an obvious takeoff on Cookie Monster.
- Trekkie Monster in Avenue Q is based on Cookie Monster.[original research?]
- In 1990, U.S. Budget Director Richard Darmand wrote an introduction to the annual United States Federal Budget entitled, "Green Eyeshades and the Cookie Monster" in which he called the $260 billion U.S. budget deficit the "ultimate Cookie Monster" -- a giant monster that devours everything.
- In an episode of the Fox animated series Family Guy, Cookie Monster is shown in rehab. He is a patient in a psychiatric hospital. He apparently is trying to quit eating cookies. Later, he is shown in the women's bathroom, trying to cook a spoonful of cookie dough with a cigarette lighter in the same manner as a heroin addict. In that same episode, he is seen in his room when the doctor comes in and finds cookies stashed under the mattress.
- Cookie Monster Munch is a video game developed by Atari and Children's Computer Workshop for the Atari 2600 and released in 1983. The game was programmed by Gary Stark. The object of Cookie Monster Munch is to guide Sesame Street's Cookie Monster through a simple maze, collecting cookies and placing them in a cookie jar at the bottom of the screen.