Clifford is a hip, laid-back humanoid Muppet with catfish-like facial features who first appeared on the Jim Henson Hour's MuppeTelevision segments and was later selected to host Muppets Tonight. Clifford is the only character introduced in The Jim Henson Hour to become a major character of the franchise.
He is often seen wearing sunglasses and his multicolored dreadlocks give his appearance a Rastafarian feel.
At one time, he was also a member of Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem.
After the Jim Henson Hour, Clifford was planned to join Kermit as the face of the franchise and become the host of the next Muppet series, in the same vein that Elmo (another Kevin Clash character) was for Sesame Street. This was a decision kept by the company after Jim Henson’s death and became the basis for Muppets Tonight. In the first episode, Kermit asks a group of Muppets if any of them want to host the new show. Every other Muppet rushes out of the room except Clifford, resulting in him getting the job.
During the Muppets Tonight era, Clifford's appearance was changed by removing his casual clothes and replacing them with fancy office clothes. His shades were also removed and was shown with regular Muppet eyes for the first (and only) time. Clifford's personality was also changed from a cool, laid-back character to a more uptight and stressed out person, essentially putting in Kermit’s shoes (or “flippers”, rather). Shortly after Muppets Tonight was cancelled, Clifford went back to wearing his shades for the rest of the franchise. Despite this, the sunglasses-less Clifford was still used in merchandise and promo art.
In an interview with ToughPigs and at MuppetFest, Kevin Clash revealed that he disliked the eyes, and was glad to see Clifford return to weraing his sunglasses. Further to that extent, Kevin said that he'd refuse to reprise his role in the future, should they use sunglasses-less Clifford again.
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