Who is Telly from Sesame Street?

Telly from Sesame Street

Who Is Telly? 

Telly, also known as Telly Monster, is one of the characters and residents of Sesame Street. He is described as a “slightly neurotic young monster who resides at 1304 Sesame Street”.

telly from sesame street with elmo and zoe

Telly first appeared in Episode 1257, Season 10 entitled “Television Monster.” Since then, he had several recurring appearances and became a main character in the 12th season.

He was first played by Bob Payne. Brian Muehl also played him from 1979 to 1984. From 1984 to the present, he has been played by Martin P. Robinson.

Telly was originally designed to be obsessed with the television, hence his name. He had spiraling eyes and antenna on his head. He also watched TV very close to the screen.

On his first appearance on the show, he was shown to be much focused on watching the television that no one could make him look away from it. In an attempt to befriend him, David and Olivia tried inviting him to play baseball with them.

To this, Telly replied, “which channel is that” thinking it was on television. David and Olivia told him it was in the park four blocks away. Telly wanted to go and watch but realized his television cord wasn’t long enough to get there.

The creators and producers of the show, however, decided to pull out Telly after a few episodes as they were concerned that children might misconstrue Telly, and become obsessed with watching television themselves 

A season later, Telly reappeared with a whole new look, without the spiraling eyes and antenna on his head. Since then, he has appeared consistently on the show. At first, he only communicated through grumbling. He was first given speaking lines in Episode 1387.

In the latter part of the season, because of the inability of the actor playing Big Bird to record the show due to an injury he suffered, Telly was given more speaking lines and became heavily featured in the show. Brian Muehl, the actor playing him then, portrayed him with a low, gruff voice.

Who Is Telly?

Telly was born on September 29. As earlier mentioned, he moved into 1304 Sesame Street in 1979. Known as an anxious worrier, he was often seen together with Oscar the Grouch. Telly is a known member of the Grouchketeers, Oscar’s fan club.

The two also starred in several sketches together like “Ask Oscar”, “Sneak Peek Previews” and a skit that introduced words beginning with the letter B in 2010. Aside from this, he is also a reporter for Monster on the Spot. 

Telly is the best friend of Baby Bear. They have several episodes together, camping, writing stories, eating, and playing together. Aside from Baby Bear, Telly is also extremely fond of his pet hamster named Chuckie Sue.

He also has a liking for stuffed toys. He has a doll that sort of looks like him named Freddy. Before Freddy, he also owned a stuffed animal horse which he called “Clark”. In one of the episodes, Telly attends a sleepover party at Big Bird’s nest. He brings along with him a myriad of stuffed toys, including Freddy.  

Telly also plays several musical instruments, specifically the triangle, bassoon, and tuba. His love for triangles was introduced in Episode 2780 which was written by Lou Berger.

telly and  a triangle

According to the writer of the episode, he was inspired by his son who also has a penchant for triangles. Telly learns to play the triangle in Episode 3124 entitled “Telly Plays the Triangle”. In this episode, Bob is conducting his student band. Because of this, Telly takes interest in playing the instrument. The liking of the triangle is carried on in the succeeding episodes.

Telly even joins a Triangle Lovers’ Club, which is later on featured in Episode 4144 of the show. 

Telly also loves jumping on a pogo stick. He learned to play with the pogo stick in Episode 3115 when Mr. Handford handed him one. In succeeding episodes, he is often depicted playing pogo stick with the other residents of Sesame Street.

Telly’s Family

Telly’s family has also made several appearances throughout the show. Telly’s mother was mentioned in Episode 1870. In this episode, Telly’s mother was about to have another child. Thinking that the new baby would invade his bed, Telly asks Oscar if he could move with him in his trash can.

Luckily, Olivia helps Telly understand the situation and he rushes home happily. 

Aside from the younger sibling mentioned in Episode 1870, Telly also has an older sister called Mona. She briefly appeared in seasons 13, 14, and 18 of the show. 

Dennis Quaid appeared in Episode 207 as Telly’s “Uncle Tommy From Da Bronx”. In this episode, Quaid teaches Telly to always tell the truth and trust his friends. 

Aside from the aforementioned, Telly’s grandmother, uncle Talbot, cousin Bully, cousin Tammy, cousin Izzy, and cousin Potto have also appeared on the show.

Telly’s other Sesame Street appearances

Aside from the main Sesame Street show, Telly has also made appearances in: Big

  • Bird in China
  • The Muppets Take Manhattan
  • Follow That Bird
  • Don’t Eat the Pictures
  • The Muppets: A celebration of 30 years
  • Sesame Street Jam: A Musical Celebration
  • Elmo Saves Christmas
  • Imagine That
  • and many more productions.  

He also has album appearances, namely:

  • Sesame Road
  • A Sesame Street Christmas
  • The Best of Elmo
  • Sesame Road,
  • and more

Telly Monster’s book appearances include:

  • City
  • The Sesame Street Circus of Opposites
  • One Rubber Duckie
  • More Who’s Who on Sesame Street
  • and others