How long is your bedtime routine? For Elmo, it’s about 15 minutes. That’s the length of an episode of The Not-Too-Late Show with Elmo, a new talk show hosted by the popular Sesame Street character. In each episode, Elmo gets ready for bed—brushing his teeth, putting on his pajamas—while chatting with guests and entertaining his audience.
Executive producer Ben Lehmann says the team at Sesame Street thought a talk show would be a fun new project. “Having a talk show gives you the ability to do games, do challenges, tell jokes, and have musical guests on,” he told TIME for Kids. “It felt like the perfect show for Elmo.”
Elmo gets help running the show from his Sesame Street pals, including Cookie Monster and Rosita. And he’s joined by celebrity guests, such as Lil Nas X, Kacey Musgraves, and fellow talk-show host Jimmy Fallon. “Even Batman puts in an appearance later in the season,” Lehmann says.
Elmo is a 3½-year-old monster. But that doesn’t mean older kids and adults won’t enjoy the show. “It’s meant to be a family show,” Lehmann says. “We think the older kids will love the humor, the jokes, and the challenges, such as Would You Rather Say the Alphabet Backwards or Jump on One Leg While Eating a Slice of Lemon?”
The show premiered this week on the new streaming service HBO Max.
RICHARD TERMINE—SESAME WORKSHOP
Want to learn more about this fun show? Hear from the star himself: Elmo! He responded to TFK’s questions by email.
Q: Why did you want to host a talk show before bedtime?
A: Elmo loves making people laugh and learning about his friends and putting on a show, so Elmo thought hosting his own talk show would be a lot of fun! We tell jokes and sing songs and play games with celebrity guests, all before Elmo’s bedtime. Elmo goes to bed at 7:30. That’s why it’s Not-Too-Late.
Q: Who are some guests who will appear?
A: So many amazing people visited The Not-Too-Late Show: Lil Nas X and Ciara and Blake Lively and the Jonas Brothers! Nick and Kevin and Joe even helped Elmo’s daddy with the dishes after the show! Oh—and Batman!
Q: What is your favorite game to play?
A: Definitely the tricycle race! No, no. Freeze Dance. Or maybe Beach Ball Ballyhoo? We play too many fun games on the show. Elmo can’t pick just one!
Q: What’s your favorite part of the show?
A: Elmo’s favorite thing about The Not-Too-Late Show is that Elmo gets to work with all of Elmo’s friends. Cookie Monster is Elmo’s cohost, and Rosita is the stage manager, and Abby Cadabby is the head writer. Elmo even has a house band: Mama Bear and the Monsters! Everybody helps out. Elmo also likes wearing his snazzy suit.
Q: Why will kids love The Not-Too-Late Show?
A: Elmo had a lot of fun making it, so Elmo hopes everybody will have fun watching it!
Q: What do you do when you miss playing with your friends?
A: We’re learning new ways to play together. When Elmo misses Cookie Monster or Abby or any of Elmo’s friends, we have a virtual playdate. Elmo just learned that word: vir-tu-al! Elmo’s mommy and daddy set up a camera so Elmo can see everybody and play games on video calls. Elmo’s favorites are Freeze Dance and Elmo Says. That’s like Simon Says—but with Elmo.