Q&A: Elmo Learns Pittsburghese

Elmo stopped by the Carnegie Science Center to celebrate 50 years of Sesame Street. We sent Boaz Frankel to meet Elmo and teach him some Pittsburghese.

by Boaz Frankel
June 17, 2019

This story is part of our Back to School series. To see more stories like this, check out our Language curriculum. Follow Very Local on Facebook & Instagram for updates.

In honor of Sesame Street’s 50th anniversary, Elmo came to Pittsburgh to see the sights, meet some kids and hold a press conference with Mayor Peduto at the Carnegie Science Center. During his short visit, I was granted an exclusive interview with the most famous furry red monster in the world. We were joined by Sheila Kelly, Sesame Workshop’s Chief Development Officer.

Elmo loves Pittsburgh
Local media captures the historic meeting of Mayor Bill Peduto, Sesame Street’s Elmo and County Executive Richard Fitzgerald.


Q&A with Elmo

Elmo loves Pittsburgh
Very Local’s Boaz Frankel quizzes Elmo on some classic Pittsburgh sights and snacks

So Sesame Street’s been around for 50 years but I know that there are always new neighbors and new business on the street.

ELMO: True

So what’s the latest on Sesame Street these days?

ELMO: Well, Oscar is still miserable but he has a heart of gold. He’s wonderful. Alan, who works at Hooper’s Store, just came up with a new recipe for cookies for Cookie Monster. There’s a lot going on!

SHEILA: We also have some new friends on Sesame Street. We have our Muppet friend, Lily. And Lily is homeless and she’s helping to reduce the stigma of homeless children all over the country as well as Karli, our Muppet who is in foster care.

ELMO: That’s true.

How are you spending your summer vacation, Elmo?

ELMO: You know what! Elmo and all of his friends are going all over the country this summer to celebrate Sesame Street’s 50th anniversary. Yeah, we want to go and meet everybody where they live.

So if you’re on a road trip, I know that you’re too young to drive, Big Bird’s too young. So who’s driving?

ELMO: We got a car for us. Just an Uber, but you know.

Is this your first time in Pittsburgh?

ELMO: No, Elmo’s been here before. Elmo’s been to the PNC building and lots of other wonderful places. Elmo loves Pittsburgh! It’s really cool.

And what do you know about Pittsburgh?

ELMO: Well, it starts with the letter P and it ends with the letter H. And there’s a lot of bridges. Is that right?

That’s right! And since you’ve taught me and millions of other people about numbers and colors and cooperation and friendship, I wanted to return the favor and teach you a few more things about Pittsburgh.

ELMO: Cool! Let’s hear it!

I brought some flash cards to make it easier.

ELMO: Oh, you’re prepared!

So here are a few Pittsburgh words I can teach you. Yinz.

ELMO: Yinz?

You ever heard of that?

ELMO: No, what is that? Is that like a fidget spinner or something?

It’s sort of like the Pittsburgh version of “y’all.” So it would be like, “Yinz going to the Sesame Street Block Party later?”

ELMO: Yinz are all invited! Is that good?

Yeah, that’s perfect! Next is “nebby.”

ELMO: Nebby?

Being nebby is like if you’re being nosey.

ELMO: Sounds like a Muppet. Nebby!

And “redd up.”

ELMO: Elmo’s red up and down!

You are! And if you have to clean up your room, you have to redd up.

ELMO: Oh, ok! Redd up!

And here’s a photo of a Pittsburgh tradition. Do you know what this is?

ELMO: Whoa! Is that Cookie Monster’s apartment?

It’s a cookie table!

ELMO: Wow!

The cookie table is a traditional thing that everyone has at Pittsburgh weddings.

ELMO: Well, we know who to call for that! Mister Monster!

I know the 50th anniversary is a big deal. So what are some of the other things you’re doing to celebrate?

ELMO: To celebrate the 50th anniversary, Elmo’s learning how to count to 50. That’s the first step.

How far can you count so far?

ELMO: 22. But Elmo’s getting there! We had a great big block party the other day and we had lots of special guests like Miss Whoopi Goldberg, Miss Patti LaBelle, Mister Joseph Gordon Levitt – lots of wonderful people! You’ll see that soon too.

SHEILA: And we also just had our annual gala where we honored former First Lady Michelle Obama. And that was a fantastic celebration of the first fifty years of Sesame Street and what we hope to achieve for the next fifty.


And since you’re probably spending a lot of time in the car for the road trip this summer, what’s Elmo’s summer jam?

ELMO: That’s a really good question! Elmo likes ‘Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.’ That’s pretty cool. That’s one of Elmo’s jams. The ‘Alphabet Song’ is pretty cool. And Elmo’s dropping an album this year.

Whoa, really?

ELMO: No. (laughs)

Thanks Elmo!

ELMO: Thank you!

Looking for some more Pittsburgh Q&A?

We’ve been interviewing lots of interesting Pittsburgh folks over the past few months.

Boaz Frankel is a talk show host, filmmaker, writer and former Guinness World Record Holder for high-fiving.

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