Martin Robinson has performed Aloysius Snuffleupagus since 1981, and he also plays several other characters, including Telly Monster and Slimey the Worm, the Yip Yip Martians, and Old MacDonald.
Robinson's early interest in playing "the weirdos, the strange things, the far-out things" prompted him to pursue puppetry over acting because it gave him the opportunity to play a wide range of imaginary characters. "I've played Slimey the Worm, who's three inches long, and Snuffleupagus, who's 15 feet long," he says.
To perform Snuffy, Robinson stands completely upright inside the puppet, which is built on a rattan framework and attached to a steadycam backpack. He navigates through the use of a monitor inside the head. Robinson's legs are in the two front legs, his left hand works the mouth, and he uses his right hand to control Snuffy's eyes and trunk. That's a lot to coordinate!
Robinson told Sesame Street Unpaved author David Borgenicht, "The most wonderful thing about Sesame Street is that I spend most of my day laughing with my friends… [the show] brings light into the world. And it's a great thing to be a part of."
Robinson has also helped Sesame Workshop hire and train puppeteers for Sesame Street productions in many countries, including Mexico, Egypt, Bangladesh, Russia, India, Indonesia, and Ireland.
His stage credits include designing, building, and performing Audrey II in the original off Broadway production of Little Shop of Horrors in 1982 and again when it went to Broadway in 2003. He played the Cat in the Hat on the television show The Wubbulous World of Dr. Seuss and performed the animatronics for Leonardo in the movie version of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles