HomeBad Ass AsiansAlan Muraoka Celebrates A Sweet Sixteen Years on Sesame Street

Alan Muraoka Celebrates A Sweet Sixteen Years on Sesame Street

Alan Muraoka with Ernabel Demillo By Ernabel Demillo, Host and Reporter, Asian American Life

If you have a child between the ages of 1 and 6, you will most likely recognize him. Alan Muraoka is back on one of America’s most iconic streets to shoot his 17th season on “Sesame Street””.

“Being on Sesame Street and [playing] the role is kind of everything that I sort of do well,” he said. “It requires singing, it requires comedy, it requires a level of warmth and because of my time at UCLA, I did a lot of children’s theater at UCLA. (Sesame Street] is really the best job I have ever had.”

Muraoka grew up in Southern California. A fourth generation Japanese American, he spent most of his childhood in front of the television watching his favorite actors and actresses make people laugh. His favorites were Carol Burnett, Tim Conway and Harvey Korman. He was determined to follow in their footsteps and went on to study theater at the University of California Los Angeles.

After college, he got his first big break – a role on a Broadway show. That was 1987 and he hasn’t stopped working since, starring in numerous New York Broadway shows, including “Miss Saigon”, “Pacific Overtures” and “The King and I”. But it was Sesame Street that would change his life forever.

In 1997, Muraoka, joined the “human” cast of Sesame Street as Alan the Grocer, the new proprietor of Mr. Hooper’s Store.   Muraoka also became the first Asian American cast member.  He’s back this season with Elmo, Grover, Big Bird and the rest of gang. He said he’s looking forward to another season of entertaining children and their parents.

“What I love about Sesame is that they always play on two different levels,” he said. “They play on the level for the kids, but there is a level of social satire for the adults, that the kids will not get, but it’s infectious, If their parents are laughing, they are going to laugh at it too.

For more on Alan Muraoka’s story watch this month’s Asian American Life.   In honor of Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage month, Asian American Life celebrates and honors individuals who are making a difference in entertainment, business, science and human rights.


May’s show also features:


  • Andrea Jung, former CEO of Avon, is listed by Forbes Magazine as one of the most powerful women in the world. Reporter Kyung Yoon and Jung discuss her new role – fighting poverty as President and CEO of Grameen America, a microfinance organization that champions women’s causes in the United States.


  • Forensic scientist Dr. Henry Lee has solved complex and well-publicized cases like those of the John F. Kennedy assassination, and the O.J. Simpson and JonBenét Ramsey murder cases. Lee tells Paul Lin how he trains future forensic scientists at The Henry C. Lee Institute of Forensic Science in West Haven, Connecticut.


  • The Comfort Women Oral History Project is based on a tragic byproduct of World War II – women who were captured and imprisoned as sex slaves by the Japanese military. Many of these women are still fighting to expose what happened to them. Minnie Roh interviews two Korean survivors as well as historian Dr. Jimin Kim of Queensborough Community College in New York.



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