Funny Boy: The Richard Hunt Biography (Hardcover)

Funny Boy: The Richard Hunt Biography By Jessica Max Stein Cover Image
Available via Warehouse (7-10 Days)


"The most sensational, perpetual teenager in the world.” —Jim Henson

"To know him was to love him, and we do." —Mark Hamill
Funny Boy: The Richard Hunt Biography tells the life story of a gifted performer whose gleeful irreverence, sharp wit and generous spirit inspired millions. Richard Hunt was one of the original main five performers in the Muppet troupe. He brought to life an impressive range of characters on The Muppet ShowSesame StreetFraggle Rock and various Muppet movies, everyone from eager gofer Scooter to elderly heckler Statler, groovy girl Janice to freaked-out lab helper Beaker, even early versions of Miss Piggy and Elmo. Hunt also acted, directed and mentored the next generation of performers. His accomplishments are all the more remarkable in that he crammed them all into only 40 years. 

Richard Hunt was just 18 years old when he joined Jim Henson’s company, where his edgy humor quickly helped launch the Muppets into international stardom. Hunt lived large, savoring life’s delights, amassing a vivid, disparate community of friends. Even when the AIDS epidemic wrought its devastation, claiming the love of Hunt’s life and threatening his own life, he showed an extraordinary sense of resilience, openness and joy. Hunt’s story exemplifies how to follow your passion, foster your talents, adapt to life’s surprises, genuinely connect with everyone from glitzy celebrities to gruff cab drivers – and have a hell of a lot of fun along the way.

About the Author

JESSICA MAX STEIN teaches writing and literature at Hunter College of the City University of New York. Her writing has garnered accolades from Poets & Writers Magazine’s Amy Award to the Independent Press Association’s Ippie Award and was shortlisted for the Hazel Rowley Prize from the Biographers International Organization. She is a former editor of the New York newspaper The Indypendent, for which she still writes.  

Praise For…

"I met Richard Hunt while touring the Muppet Show and we became instant friends for life. Everything about him was larger than life: His personality, his humor, his energy, his talent and his great big heart. My family never knew when he might show up in his big black Checker cab, but we did know we were in for another wonderful adventure with the guy my kids call 'Uncle Richard' to this very day. To know him was to love him, and we do."
— Mark Hamill

"Mining interviews with Hunt’s friends, colleagues, and family, Stein perceptively captures how the puppeteer’s edgy energy and unique, irreverent humor proved instrumental to the show’s success, particularly as The Muppets transitioned toward more adult-centered programming in the 1970s. The result is a nuanced and meticulously detailed tribute to the artist once described by Jim Henson as 'the most sensational, perpetual teenager in the world.'"
— Publishers Weekly

"Exemplary research, culled from a plenitude of interviews with Hunt’s family, friends, and coworkers, reveals a talented artist with tireless energy, enthusiasm, wit, and personality."
— Library Journal

"At last! It's the long-awaited story of one of Muppet history's most beloved performers! With Funny Boy, Jessica Max Stein brings us a nuanced, compassionate, and deeply researched biography of Richard Hunt, exploring his remarkable life as one of Muppetdom's most enthusiastic and energetic performers, while putting that same life in context with a complicated and often dark time in our cultural history. Tapping into interviews with those who were there, and packed full of stories you've never heard before, Funny Boy is all at once entertaining, interesting, inspiring, wacky, and heartbreaking--just like Richard Hunt himself."
— Brian Jay Jones

"Jessica Max Stein's biography of performer and puppeteer Richard Hunt is humorous, touching, and engagingly written. Funny Boy illuminates Hunt's life as a stunning example of how to live and die with community, frivolity, dignity, and purpose."
— Theodore (Ted) Kerr

"I worked with Richard Hunt for 18 years, but there was a lot I didn’t know. Jessica Max Stein's powerful biography of Hunt is a great read. Stein spent years meticulously researching Hunt’s intensely public and fiercely private life. Here is the authentic story of Hunt’s journey to the top of his field, but more importantly, his quest for self-knowledge and finally, self-acceptance. I know Richard better now."
— Dave Goelz

Product Details
ISBN: 9781978836716
ISBN-10: 1978836716
Publisher: Rutgers University Press
Publication Date: March 15th, 2024
Pages: 346
Language: English