I’ve got a 3-year-old daughter and she’s a discerning little girl. When Blues Clues comes on she wants nothing to do with the new guy Joe, it has to be Steve and while I pretend not to care I can’t help but agree. Just like the mail that never fails actor Steve Burns made the show the legend that it is.
A while back we did a, “What does Steve from Blues Clues look like now?” post and the image was pretty great in how different he appears. Well this is that times 100 as Mr. Burns made a guest appearance in the fabulous speaker series from The Moth. If you’re not familiar with this site and their work I highly suggest you check it out. It’s like a play date with Magenta!
Steve made a great presentation as he discussed his time on the show and how it produced what he calls a “fameishness” that really nails what many of the reality stars we write about frequently experience and cope with in their changing lives. Steve is well spoken, thoughtful, funny, self depreciative and yet respectful about the children’s show that made him kind of famous.
Here’s the talk in full and it sure is a great and touching clip. I’ll follow-up after with some highlights:
“Imagine, I had lime green socks on, embarrassingly pleated pants, a striped polo shirt that I wore in every single episode and lego-helmet hair. It was crazy and it was awesome but it was not the kind of thing that I thought would ever get me a date.”
Burns talked about how the concept of the show, him speaking through the camera to children, worked wonderfully well and it made him question the lessons he taught to the millions of children who genuinely viewed him as a personal friend. He had moved to New York, randomly landed this gig and the fame overwhelmed him, heck he didn’t even know any children at the time. He considered quitting but then he became one of People’s most eligible bachelors which kind of intrigued him of course.
He continues with a great anecdote about meeting a Playboy model and how unprepared he was as he went to pick her up in Jersey. She of course thought he’d be taller. This devolves into him actually crashing a kid’s birthday party in the full costume and the unexpected kids obviously freaked out. Later at dinner he’s recognized and someone thinks he’s with an escort. They head back to his house and the girl does a stripper routine for him as he sits in the actual red chair from the show. Then it gets a little weird as she asks him, “to sing the song about the mail.”
In the end Burns discovered the hook up was all a front to pitch a show called The Balloonies that the girl and her mother had concocted. Yikes!
Burns concluded his talk with a trip to a Make a Wish event. He says he was often requested to be a sick or dying child’s wish and that it was always, as he witnessed it personally, a means by which the kids could make their parents happy. Ooooof. He realized that he didn’t have to just be Steve from Blues Clues or just Steve Burns, that his humanity was both and that was good enough for him.
Steve, it’s good enough for me too man and I can tell you personally that you’ve made a difference in my daughter’s life and I’m grateful for that.