When Tau Bennett was a child, he started as a puppet builder, making one monstrously hilarious Frankenstein after the next, he got to explore his imagination in a way many kids don’t get to. It shouldn’t have been much of a surprise when at the ripe age of 16, he got to learn from some of the top puppeteers in the world and began his work on Sesame Street while still being a minor himself.
Fast forward a few years later and Bennet is playing the character Tamir on Sesame Street. Tamir is a black muppet that teaches children how to better relate with people that look different than they do. This is a huge accomplishment for anyone, much less someone so young, yet something in the back of his head was still itching at him to create something that truly felt like it belonged to him and the people he enjoys spending time with.
That’s when he created his show, Cold Sober, an amalgamation of different parts much like the puppets Bennett so fondly builds. He takes the music of Frank Zappa, the indirect tutelage of Jim Henson, and mixes it with the experience of being a young, black man who grew up in New York City. It’s a wild, hilarious, musical romp that brings young puppeteers together in a hobby in which it can be difficult to meet peers.
Some of his videos are funny, some are musical, but at the heart of all of is Bennett, making sure his voice is being heard. Puppeteering is not a medium that gets a ton of love from independent creators, so it’s refreshing to see one of the world’s oldest art forms get a refresh. Hopefully, there will be more Cold Sober, and much more Tau Bennett and his weird, zany creations.