Parents probably recognize Mo Willems as the animator and writer behind the award-winning Pigeon series of books. What they probably don’t know is that he played a role in the formation of one of the most beloved sketch comedy troupes of the 1990s.
When Willems first arrived at New York University in the late 1980s, he helped start a sketch comedy troupe called The Sterile Yak. As Willems told BWI’s TitleTales, the Sterile Yak included fellow NYU students David Wain and Todd Holoubek. After working together for a year, the troupe split into two groups, one of which went on to become the stars of the cult classic MTV sketch show The State.
In the same interview, Willems recounted that his first writing gig at Nickelodeon actually shared an office space with three MTV startups. Willems’ project never made it to production. The three MTV shows were a bit more successful; Willems’ office mates started The State, Beavis and Butt-head, and The Jon Stewart Show.
Willems remained chummy with the members of The State, though. David Wain even wrote and performed for some episodes of Willems’ Cartoon Network series Sheep in the Big City.
We’re big fans of Willems here at the Floss, but if you think this post is partially an excuse for us to post one of our all-time favorite The State clips…well, you’re right: