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NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MAY 29: John Legend and Chrissy Teigen attend the Sesame Workshop's 50th Annive...
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15 Of The Most Memorable Celebrity Appearances On Sesame Street Of All Time

Hundreds of famous names have made a stop at 123 Sesame Street.

From politicians to poet laureates, since its debut in 1969, Sesame Street has had its fair share of celebrity appearances stop by on sunny days. Sure, there are A-list events such as the Grammys and Academy Awards, even the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame, but getting invited to Sesame Street is also the ultimate dream destination for many celebrities. Some may consider it a rite of passage to stardom.

Over its 53 year tenure as the longest-running children’s show on television, Big Bird, Elmo, Cookie Monster, and the other puppets have hosted Motown legends, Hollywood A-listers, poet laureates, First Ladies, boy bands, and a Hamilton star!

Many of these star guests have made several appearances over the years and used their talents to teach both muppets and kids lessons on helping each other, self-love, self-esteem, and believing in yourself. Plus the rendition of the ABC song is endless, just take your pick. There’s also the reliability fans love when seeing their favorite stars on the show. It’s always a thrill to see icons let down their A-list shield and bring out their inner kid to hang out with Elmo, bake cookies, play pat-a-cake, and do quirky dances. It’s also been a stage to uncover some hidden talents we may not have known a few of our favorite stars had, such as improv and singing. And while some of these celebrities are no longer with us, their presence is forever immortalized thanks to Sesame Street.

John Legend

The R&B singer taught us the good that can happen when everyone can stand by one another and help each other out in his 2017 appearance, with a little help from Elmo! Who knew that Elmo’s vocals could mesh so well with the Grammy-award willing artist. This was also around the time Legend became a first-time dad to Luna, whom he shares with Chrissy Teigen. “One day Luna will be very excited by who daddy hung out with today,” he captioned the Sesame Street clip on his Instagram. Teigen later recorded their one-year daughter’s reaction to watching her dad, Big Bird, Elmo, and the Cookie Monster telling her hello and that they loved her. An amazing moment to find out your dad was on your favorite show, plus to know your favorite characters know your name!

Robin Williams

The beloved late comedian and actor visited Sesame Street several times between 1990-2012. But one of his most memorable appearances was in Season 42, in which he teaches the Two-Headed Monster about the word ‘conflict.’ Near the end, while trying to explain conflict, things get a little heated and Williams started speaking to the monster in his native tongue. “Wait, I just realized something,” Williams said in the 2012 clip. “We disagree, we’re arguing about something!” He added, “ We’re having a conflict!” The pair end up singing a song about conflict. Another classic Williams appearance is in Episode 2835 when he showed Elmo all the fun things you can do with a stick. Although the scene was scripted, Williams improvised most of it, including the reference to Gene Shalit's mustache.

B.B. King

Yep, Big Bird and the gang have even hosted kings, B.B. King to be exact. The late Blues legend had a jam session about the letter ‘B’ in his 2001 appearance. “Without the B, there’d be no Big Bird,” he sang. “There’d be no King B.B. But we do have the letter B.” He went on to sing about everything that starts with the letter like a beard. King died in 2015 at the age of 89. But his music, including the letter B song, will live on. This wasn’t the first time the Beale Street legend stopped by Sesame Street. In 1984, King did a soulful rendition of the alphabet song with Sesame Street musicians Joe Raposo, Steve Little, Bob Cranshaw, and Jim Mitchell.

Whoopi Goldberg

Before The View, Whoopi Goldberg was encouraging Elmo and kids to love the skin and fur they’re in. The actress also explained her dreads to Elmo who thought they were fur. “It’s a little like fur but it’s more hairy, not so furry” she explained. Elmo replied, “Whoopi likes Elmo’s fur and Elmo likes Whoopi’s skin and hair.” The 1990 episode was the first of many appearances the Tony- award-winning actress and talk show host will make. Later she will come back and teach Baby Bear about different ways to handle his anger after someone eats his porridge. And in 2017, she and Elmo will meet up again to write Elmo’s pen pal in Syria a letter.

Ray Charles

Another, late great music icon loved Sesame Street as well. Ray Charles made several appearances on the show between the late 70s and early 90s. One of his most classic appearances was Episode 3491 in 1996. The episode was all about believing in yourself. The “Georgia On My Mind” composer and singer performed a piano duet with Elmo. He also explained to Elmo how he read musical notes with his fingers since he was blind. “Elmo’s not blind but he still can’t read that well,” Elmo told him. “Oh, Elmo you just keep on practicing, keep on trying, you can do it,” Charles encouraged him. “Believe in yourself.” The end message of the song: if you get afraid or think you can't do something, try climbing before you get too scared to fall!

Destiny’s Child

It’s young Kelly, Michelle, and Beyoncé with the red leather beret in this retro early 2000s clip. The ladies guest appeared in 2002 to show Elmo, Zoe, and Glover “A New Way To Walk” and celebrates one of the first greatest milestones you accomplish in your life. The clip features some fun, choreography, and solo parts from Elmo and his friends. There was some strutting, sliding, and jumping. “When I walk my way, I am walking tall,” they sang. “I gotta new way to walk!” A bit catchy, don’t you think? We wonder if Kelly and Beyoncé showed this episode to their kids? We like to think so!

Michelle Obama

Back in 2009, the former First Lady visited Sesame Street to record a PSA about healthy eating and nutrition with Elmo and planted a fresh garden with kids. She later returned to talk about the importance of a healthy breakfast with Grover, who was more concerned about making sure no one bothers her, instead of eating his own food. “I never thought I'd be on Sesame Street with Elmo and Big Bird and I was thrilled,” she recalled about her experience o the Wall Street Journal. “I'm still thrilled. I'm on a high. I think it's probably the best thing I've done at the White House.” Elmo and Rosita later returned the favor and joined the former First Lady at the White House to announce Sesame’s partnership with her Let's Move! initiative. Mrs. Obama was not the first First Lady to visit Sesame Street. Barbara Bush read a book with Big Bird and the Count in 1990 and Hillary Clinton hung out with Big Bird to talk about healthy living.

Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou made several appearances on Sesame Street but one of her most famous was in 1993 when the late poet laureate sang the “My Name” song with Elmo, Lexine, and Carlo. “My name’s Maya. It's a fine name,” Angelou said. “It's not your name, but it's fine just the same. Stand right up and say it proudly. Maya is my name.” In a later appearance, the Still I Rise icon returned to teach Natasha about the letter N and played pat-a-cake with Elmo. Angelou also narrates and appears in the 1996 holiday special, Elmo Saves Christmas.

Jim Carrey

Sesame Street

Before penguins popularized their flippers in Happy Feet, Jim Carrey coined the moves over two decades prior on Sesame Street. The Ace Ventura star showed there’s no poker face when it comes to emotions, especially laughter in this 1993 episode. And when he gets happy, it goes right to his feet! The Mask star gets up and starts doing a fast, quirky, foot dance and flips on the bench. “Don’t you think my feet looked happy there,’ he asked Elmo and Telly. A fun fact about this skit is that it was originally written for Steve Martin. But the comedian canceled and the part was given to Carrey instead.

Usher

We got it bad for Usher’s ABC song. The R&B crooner added his unique take to the tune in the 2013 episode with Elmo, Grover, Murray Monster, and Abby Cadabby. For example, “U” stood for “Usher” and “Y” stood for “Yeahhh, Man.” The catchy tune is titled “The ABC’s Are Moving You.” The “Yeah!” singer told the New York Times he was a longtime fan of the children’s show and no doubt watched it as a kid himself. “It was a very deliberate decision to take music away,” Usher recalled about the experience and how he made the song. “There’s no guitar break, there’s no drums, it’s just me — O.K., I can beatbox, I am the beat. I can sing; I am the song.”

Lin-Manuel Miranda

From voice actor to role-playing, Lin-Manuel Miranda has worn many hats on Sesame Street. The Hamilton creator voiced the theme song for the iconic “Murray Has A Little Lamb” segment in 2017. In 2009, he appeared as a rapping real estate agent, Freddy Flapman. The Tony-award-winning songwriter also comprised five songs for the show, including “What rhymes with Mando?” Miranda reflected on those moments with Playbill in 2019 for the children's show’s 50th anniversary. “It’s just brought me so much joy over the years as a writer, as a performer, as a kid, and now as a parent,” Miranda said.

Adam Sandler

In this 2009 episode, the Grownups star stopped by with a guitar and made a song about Elmo that earned a major nomination! But he had to get creative towards the end when he couldn't find a word to rhyme with Elmo’s name. Nonetheless, the catchy song was nominated for a 2010 Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Original Song. It didn’t win but to get nominated was a plus! For the 50th anniversary in 2019, Sandler tweeted about his Sesame Street experience and music has always been a part of the show. “I am thrilled to have been a part of that,” he tweeted. “Happy 50th Anniversary!”

NSYNC

Another episode, another guest appearance from a boy band. Back in Season 31, NSYNC stopped by to remind kids to believe in themselves—through song. The message of the song is simple: you can be or do anything you want if you believe in yourself, no matter what people think about you. Not to mention it's nostalgic seeing the guys younger, like Justin Timberlake in his bucket hat and Lance Bass with his spiky hair. Yes, kids, that was the fashion back in the day! Sesame Street later returned the favor with a 2018 parody of their song “Bye! Bye! Bye!” sung by Elmo, Ernie, Oscar, and The Count!

Patti Labelle

Another classic ABC rendition this time by the “Godmother of Soul”. Patti Labelle’s “Gospel Alphabet” gives the timeless tune a soulful remix that sticks to the fibers and even gives your toddlers chills! Baby Bear, Rosita, Telly, Zoe, Elmo, Prairie Dawn, Ernie, Bert, Grover, Count von Count, Cookie Monster, and Herry Monster were among the choir lifting the spirit. Labelle said one of her favorite memories about her appearance was later seeing her grandchildren learn their ABCs while listening to her song. “They learned ABCs because of me and the muppets,” Labelle recalled for the 50th anniversary. “It’s moments like this that make this show so timeless!”

Janelle Monáe

The “Q.U.E.E.N.” crooner brought her unique soul to the 2013 set. Donned in a tailored tuxedo, Monáe encouraged the puppets to work hard towards their goals and the power of persevering in her song, “The Power of Yet.” The singer told Billboard she grew up watching Sesame Street and that being a part of the show was a dream come true. “I am so excited to be living one of my dreams — to be here on ‘Sesame Street,'” she told Billboard in 2014. “I’m here because I am teaching everybody on ‘Sesame Street’ the importance and the power of ‘yet.’ Never, ever, ever give up because there’s so much power in ‘yet.'” The song is no doubt one that both kids and adults can appreciate and take away from!