Austrian thespian Christoph Waltz is a master of cinematic menace – just look at his Oscar-winning turns in Inglourious Basterds and Django Unchained. But on Tuesday night’s episode of Jimmy Kimmel Live!, he took his dramatic skills to a new level with a chilling spoken word rendition of the Sesame Street theme song.
Chilling and hilarious, that is. The bit opens during the actor’s sitdown interview with Kimmel, as Waltz explains that he previously forced his children to watch a German-dubbed version of Sesame Street. “It’s raw, it’s full of despair,” he says. “It’s poignant, deep.” A puzzled Kimmel asks his guest if he’s confused about the nature of the iconic kids show. But Waltz makes it clear that this alternate Sesame is quite different from the family-friendly American version. “The theme song alone, it haunts me,” he says.
The actor then delivers the lyrics beat poet-style, backed by swelling piano chords. “Sunny day, sweeping the clouds away” he says, interpreting the message from a place of desperation. “Can you tell me how to get to Sesame Street?,” he cries repeatedly. After the intense performance, Kimmel consoles his guest with a much-needed hug.
Waltz was promoting his upcoming film Horrible Bosses 2, which hits theaters on November 26th. In March, the actor made a memorable cameo appearance in Muppets Most Wanted, and he’s set to star in the upcoming Tim Burton drama Big Eyes, out on December 25th.