I think any artist will agree that one of the questions people ask them the most is "Where do you get your ideas from?" I can't speak for others, but for myself, I have found that most, if not all of my better ideas for shows and such come to me in my sleep, as I dream; however, other times, ideas can come quite by accident, if you will, and that's how much of Steve's personality came into fruition, which is what I'm reminiscing about today.
Most fans know by now that Steve likes to think of himself as a little babe-magnet (and he actually is, lol), but how did that fascet of his personality come to be? Actually, I give a great deal of credit to my friend and colleague, Russ Manning, of ETPtv (now East Tennessee PBS) for coming up with this one. I believe it was the end of my first day of performing Steve for our old Friends of Sesame Street Club pledge drive, and just before we were about to go live for our last spot for the day, Russ got together with myself, and one of our young female phone operators, coming up with the idea for the break to have her and Steve sort of flirt with each other on camera... "So, Steve, I was just answering the phones over there, and I saw you on TV, and you know what? I think you're kinda cute," the girl said, as she tickles Steve's chin, making him feel about ten feet tall. In a similar anecdote, on another day, Russ suggested that I have Steve sort of flirt with one of our human characters, Toulouse (as played by Evelyn Clarke), and ask her if she's married, "'Cause I'm not". Even years later when I had Steve at an event, one little girl was entranced by him, and once again, I found myself being prompted by someone to have Steve ask the little girl if she's married. Apparently, there's just something particularly funny about this little guy trying to act like a big shot for the ladies, so as I further developed his character years later when I attempted to make him an obscure YouTube celebrity back in 2007, I knew that I just had to make being a ladies' monster part of his personality, and of course, when he needed a sidekick, what better character to give him to play off of than a girl monster? Enter Bethany Crystal (sorry purists, but "Mona Monster" from the old Valentine's Day video wouldn't have worked). It worked, because Steve does, indeed, have fangirls, who knew women loved purple monsters? Again, I give thanks to Russ for this one, as he has an incredible ability to dial into characters, and this turned out to be a genius idea.
Steve's love for corn dogs. This is something that happened quite by accident, but I love how it turned out; it was an unseasonably warm day in early March of 2005, this particular day was turning out to be an absolutely miserable one, and the only thing I had to look forward to that day was performing Steve down at ETPBS. At the beginning of our pledge drive day, our human characters Toulouse and Catwoman (Evelyn Clarke and Cathy Wilson) mentioned to Steve that they were going to talk about a new special entitled The World's Largest Concert, when we come back. Suddenly, I was struck with a funny thought, and when the cameras came back to us, a confused Steve asked to hear more about this "World's largest corn dog you guys were talking about". This too turned out to be a stroke of genius; it became a running gag for the rest of that day, as any chance I got, Steve would somehow work corn dogs into the conversation, and everybody thought this was so funny... even by the end of the day, a lot of people in the studio had a hunger for corn dogs because of Steve. It's amazing how a poor day was made into something special because of a whim. Needless to say, I knew I couldn't keep doing it, because it would've been overkill, and wouldn't be funny anymore; even though some of the guys off camera kept trying to get me to have Steve talk about corn dogs again the next day, he didn't. I think he may have uttered the words only once that next day, but never again. It was certainly one of the best days I had.
This goes to show you that good ideas can come from anywhere.