I’ll bet you can’t guess what my all-time favorite funny-looking bird is…

You’d think so, but nope…



Well, not anymore…

foghornleghorn.GIF other07_7.jpg
Now, those guys are kinda funny for their species, but no…

My all-time favorite funny-looking bird is:
Rod Hull’s Emu. I mean, just read this piece by Hollywood Blogger and My Personal Web Idol #4 Mark Evanier about man and bird’s appearance on The Tonight Show in which the puppet attacked (which was the puppet’s main schtick) both host Johnny Carson and guest Richard Pryor. I commented earlier this week that Steven Colbert’s White House Dinner performance was “courageous – in parts”, but that was nothing compared to Hull’s World Championship Courage of engaging not one but two legends of comedy in a flurry of physical humor aimed directly at their most vulnerable body parts! Regretably, video of this once-in-a-lifetime event has not ended up on YouTube yet (and YouTube will remain suspect until it does), and there is no indication that it is included in the The Ultimate Johnny Carson DVD Collection, but I put an Amazon.com link there anyway because I’m shameless.

Hull was killed in 1999 in a tragic but freaky accident, falling off his house’s roof while adjusting his TV antenna. Conspiracy theorists suggested the Emu may have pushed him, angry that their act had gone out of favor in the ’90s, but the CSI team found no feathers near the scene, so his death was declared accidental. Still fondly remembered in Great Britain, where just last year, BBC.com put their picture in a business article for no apparent reason.

Well, there is good news for Emu lovers around the world, because Hull’s son Toby is working with producers on a new “Emu” children’s show (the bird had headlined three kidvid series in the ’70s and ’80s). Of course, there is much to worry about this new project. The children of great entertainers do not usually handle their parents’ legacy well (I’m looking at YOU, Ross Bagdasarian, Jr.), and the producers saying things like “Emu will actually, for the first time ever, make a range of sounds that will give you an idea of what he’s thinking inside his skull”. Didn’t Emu do quite well for 20-plus years without that?

At least, Emu’s new producer said one thing that is quite promising: Chat show hosts be warned – the beak is back.” I would so love to see the bird come to America and take it to Leno and Letterman and Kimmel and Regis and Oprah and Ellen and Larry King and O’Reilly and Ryan Seacrest and Carson Daly and all the Women-of-the-View (old and new) AND Colbert… but probably only Conan and Ferguson will have the guts to face the beak… Hey, could this have something to do with why both Katie Couric and Charlie Gibson went for the ‘guest-free’ evening news gigs?

2 Comments (so far) about


  1. Alana Says:

    I have been looking for the emu and Carson episode for more than half of my life. I can remember seeing it when I was about 8 or 9 years old. I have shared the story of the eposide for years and would love to share it. Do you know anywhere to find it? Thanks,

  2. mjp Says:

    I too have been wondering for about 25 years what ever happened to the Emu guy from the Tonight Show. My dad almost expired from laughter and I was on the floor crying at how funny that bit was. I just loved the panic and surprise that the emu-keeper had and the emu, who seemed to strategize out where to strike before doing so was HI-larious.

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