Counting with the Count: Memories of Jerry Nelson

by: Avrohom Steinberg

One, ha, ha, ha!

One of my most vivid memories as a child is of me and my brother sitting on the floor
of my parent’s bedroom and waiting for the Count to tell us all about the number of
the day in his Transylvanian fashion. Every morning, without fail, the Count demystified
numbers for us in the patient, encouraging way that is so imbued in Sesame Street.
Today, that memory for me is bittersweet because Jerry Nelson, the magical man
behind the Count, members of the Muppet band Fraggle Rock, and others, passed
away last Thursday at the age of 78.

Two, ha, ha, ha!

I do not believe in coincidence. As I am moved to reflect on my earliest memories by
the passing of Mr. Nelson, I find it amazing that it comes at a time of such transition in
my own life. Yesterday I began graduate school to pursue a Master’s in
Communications, Media & Theater, motivated in part by my career as a stand-up
comedian and voice actor; the interests in which began, needless to say, at a very
young age. Indeed, I have always held the voice of the Count as one of my staples, and
a day rarely goes by without my imitation of his classic laugh.

Three, ha, ha, ha!

I am the first member of my father’s family to attend or graduate from a university, let
alone continue on to pursue an even higher degree. I graduated near the top of my
class, and I was blessed to be guided into a program that I know will foster and
expound my love of media and the communications process. But I also know, and will
always remember, that I am where I am today because of the talents and accessibility
of performance of people like Jerry Nelson. May he rest in peace.

Avrohom Steinberg is a 22 year-old, Chicago-based graduate student at Northeastern Illinois University, as well as a comedian,  DJ, and emcee. His academic work is focused on Queer Theory; specifically, he studies gender representation in adult animated television programming. He watches lots of cartoons.

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