Helping shape public policy in the most powerful city in the world might be fulfilling enough for some Congressional aides. But amateur puppeteer Louis Agnello is truly happiest when he’s elbow-deep in felt and fully immersed in childhood fantasies.
A tipster outed the closeted showman — Agnello earns his actual living pondering health issues for Rep. Doris Matsui (D-Calif.) — by directing our attention to the December 2011 debut of “Clarence and the What Nows” on YouTube:
When confronted about his hobby, Agnello told HOH that the performance had been a long time coming.
The Milwaukee native recounted a youth spent, particularly around the holidays, surrounded by dozens of equally energetic cousins. His family’s tranquilizing solution: propping the children in front of Jim Henson’s Muppet productions.
As time marched on, Agnello found himself voluntarily revisiting the classic flicks — “We’d always pop in a Muppet movie whenever we went back,” he admitted.
“It was always something we joked about doing,” Agnello said of “getting Muppets and putting on a ridiculous show.”
The confluence of FAO Schwarz introducing fully customizable Muppets and last year’s resurrection of “The Muppets” as a film franchise compelled Agnello to take action.
He, two of his brothers and a cousin designed their googly-eyed surrogates.
“I think we overanalyzed it to death,” Agnello said of the “surprisingly stressful” selection process. They choreographed a multipuppet routine, resulting in a three-minute cut that they shot during several hours last Christmas in his cousin’s basement. And as for a sequel?
“Our reunion tour will probably occur next December,” he predicted.